MONTHS TO GET MARRIED
In Polish tradition, fortune is said to smile on couples who get married in months with an “r” in them: marzec (March), czerwiec (June), sierpień (August), wrzesień (September), październik (October) and grudzień (December).
In Portugal, the feast days of the “santos populares” (Popular Saints) are loaded with symbolism. One of the best-known rituals is that of the night of Saint John the Baptist, celebrated on 23 to 24 June. The belief is that if you jump over a bonfire an uneven number of times (at least three times), you will be protected from all ills for a whole year.
THE NUMBER 102
They say this number brings good luck to Poles, although the reasons are unknown. If a party promises to be a good one, they say “Będzie impreza na sto dwa!” (“It’s going to be a 102 party!”).
A HELPING HAND
The cemeteries of Bogotá are a source of a number of superstitions. For example, in the city’s central cemetery, the founder of the Baviera brewery, Leo Kopp, is said to help with the financial problems of those who whisper into the ear of his statue. There is also a belief that putting a blue candle on the grave of astronomer Julio Garavito will have the same effect.
Finding a coin in the street in Poland means good luck. But, for the good luck to work, you have to blow on the coin before you put it in your wallet/purse
TOASTING IN COLOMBIA
When you crack open a bottle of wine or champagne, it’s best to pour a bit on the ground first, offering it up to the souls in Purgatory. When you toast, you have to make eye contact with the other person/ people, otherwise you’ll have seven years of bad luck in intimate relationships.
In the north of Portugal, more precisely in the village of Cidões (Bragança district), Halloween is marked with a celebration that harks back to a Celtic tradition of lighting a huge bonfire (in the local dialect: canhoto) and then cooking an old goat in a pot on the same fire. This invokes all the positive energy Nature can bring and the belief is that “Whoever eats of the goat and warms themselves at the fire can look forward to a year of good luck.”
HOW MANY PIEROGIS?
When making this Polish delicacy, superstition dictates that you count the number of dumplings you make. Otherwise, you may find them sticking to the pot or opening up.
MAKE SOME NOISE!
On New Year’s Eve night, the Portuguese like to make noise by beating pan and pot lids to ward off evil spirits. In the 1950s and 60s, it was also tradition to throw old plates and pots out the window, but this has since been banned, for obvious reasons.
THE ROOSTER STILL CROWS
A common presence in any Portuguese home, the Barcelos Rooster is associated with the luck of a young Galician man who was saved from hanging by a crowing rooster. Legend has it that, when standing before the judge, the unfortunate man pointed to a roast chicken on a nearby banquet table and said: “I am most certainly innocent, as surely as that rooster will crow when they hang me.” To the surprise of all present, the rooster got up and crowed. Since then, the Barcelos Rooster has been a symbol of wisdom and integrity.
On a Polish table, fish, particularly fish with silvery scales, portend wealth. When midnight on New Year’s Eve strikes, people eat herring in brine in the hope that this will bring prosperity.
In expectation of a year full of travel and adventure, Colombians welcome in the New Year by carrying an empty suitcase around the neighbourhood at midnight.
ONLY AFTER THE WEDDING
Colombian tradition has it that couples who climb Monserrate Hill in Bogotá will never get married. Which is a pity, because they’ll have to wait until after their wedding to enjoy the best views over the city.