On a cool Spring afternoon I remember playing with a few friends on the schoolyard. We were jumping over the large cracks weaving their way through the concrete yelling, “Step on a crack, you break your mother’s back!” Being a 7 year old with not so amazing gross motor skills it happened, I stumbled upon a crack. I was instantly filled with spine tingling fear. “Oh no!” The vision of returning home to my mother in a crumbled mess on the floor struck my mind. It would be all my fault! What had I done?! I just knew when I arrived home that my mom would be in an awful full body cast. Oh god, I was to blame! “Well…. at least my friends and I can draw on her cast. Wait, stop! That is not the point!” A few hours later I rode the bus home. I remember opening the front door in fright only to see my mom perfectly fine sitting there on the couch.
Don’t cross a black cat! Break a mirror and your next 7 years are toast! Walk under a ladder and you’re a goner! Superstitions are interesting anomalies conjured up to explain strings of “bad luck.” Overtime our minds are filled with misguided conceptions. Certainly we can stop the inevitable by throwing a little salt over our shoulders! Even I have fallen victim as I refuse to close a pocket knife opened by another person. (I have no clue the origin of this superstition, but my brother swears by it)
Superstitions are handed down by oral tradition and no one seems to know their exact origins off hand. There is a sense of fear in their mention as an individual promises a single act will bring certain doom. Every culture seems to have their own and Samoa is no different. Curious how to stave off bad luck or aitu (evil spirits) in Samoa? If you stay clear of the following list, you should be fine and dandy!
- If you point your finger at gravestones your finger will become crooked.
- Sweeping the house at night will bring famine or can be seen as sweeping the wealth out of the home.
- If you whistle at night your mouth will become crooked or you will attract evil spirits.
- You must cover mirrors at night or they will project bad dreams or ghosts.
- When your heel is itchy someone is talking about you.
- If a cat is meowing around the house or area, this means someone is pregnant.
- A praying mantis or grasshopper in your house is a bad omen.
- When a coconut palm falls you should expect guests.
- An orange sunset means a storm is coming.
- The cry of a ve’a bird (banded rail) means someone in the village or family has passed.
- Seeing a spider with seven legs means bad luck.
- If you let your baby cry at night he/she will get sick or you may hear an evil baby cry from somewhere.
- The cries of cats, bush hens, or a banded rail at night are said to bring bad luck.
- While carrying a child at night they must face forward. If facing looking behind you they will see a ghost.
- If you eat before your parents, you will grow up to be foolish and not be able to speak properly.
- Pregnant women must not drink from coconuts that have been opened with a knife or their child will be born with a large mouth.
- Owls ARE ghosts, so stay away from them!
- Do not sleep with your face in the moonlight or you will become frozen.