Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody and welcome back my name is Alisha and I'm joined today in the studio by…
Michael: Michael. Hey, everybody
Alisha: And today we're going to be talking about some common American superstitions. A few may be old fashioned stories or myths we'll have a chance to talk about today. So, let's get right into it. I'm going to start with this one. Okay, my first one is opening an umbrella inside is bad luck. And this is a superstition--I guess it just it is what it is what I've just said. If you open an umbrella inside you'll have bad luck but I kind of just think that this superstition is just it's just good advice like don't open an umbrella inside because you will knock something over it you know. Or, you'll get your things all wet something like that if you if you've been outside in the rain. So, I think it's just it's a superstition that's one of common sense, really.
Michael: Hmm, yeah. I'm sure a lot of these start that way. Like Santa Claus or something that you just tell your kids something. The easiest way is, "Ah, the Boogie Monster is going to get you so don't do it." Instead of trying to explain, "Well, you know you might break it and I just…" Whatever. "Just don't do it or you'll get eaten." I mean, it makes sense. I don't know.
Alisha: Santa story? Did you grow-up…
Michael: He'll put you in the sack, yeah. You know how many years of bad luck it is? Cause I know like if you break a mirror, it's seven years bad luck. I'm not certain. Is there any?
Alisha: I don't know. I don't know if there's a time frame for this one.
Michael: Yeah.
Alisha: I just assume it's instant because you will probably destroy something
Michael: What?
Alisha: Just instant. For the duration of time that the umbrella is open, you're just open to bad luck and it won't go away until you close it. There we go, there's the time frame.
Alright, what do you got? What do you got? Oh, my gosh.
Michael: Because the only ones I can think of are like the mirror, that's about it, go under a ladder. Anyways, so, another one to like prevent bad luck that I think is kind of stupid and I think it's a recent one, it has to be recent is tapping the roof of your car. When there are two times this has happened. Yeah, maybe this is new to you.
Alisha: I never heard this.
Michael: Okay, so there are two times. The most common one is when you go through a yellow light. It's just about to turn red or maybe did turn red, you tap the roof of your car and you're safe. I don't know. And then, the second one is if you're speeding or you're just being a bad person and you see a cop and for whatever reason, the cop is a bad thing for you, you tap the roof of your car and everybody in the car has to tap the roof of the car. Yeah, it doesn't make any sense, I think it's stupid, maybe that's just--
Alisha: I have never heard that before, ever. Never. Is this something that you or your friends would do or did or do?
Michael: I don't do it ‘cause I think it's stupid but my friends have done it and maybe is that just a Colorado thing or something?
Alisha: I don't know it could just be me I just haven't done it.
Michael: Well, leave a comment below if you've ever heard this one before. Drop it on the floor, Michael. What are you doing?
Alisha: Okay.
Michael: Okay. So, yeah what's--
Alisha: Onward, yeah. You already mentioned this one but this one is another one. If you break a mirror you'll have bad luck for seven years. Seven years. I also have a theory about this one. The theory about this one is that the time frame the seven-year time frame that's assigned to this breaking a mirror, because and I could be totally wrong on this, but my theory is that if you break a mirror, a mirror is glass, you know it's going to shatter into millions of pieces and maybe it's hard to find all of the pieces, maybe cleaning them up, it's going to be difficult so there's potential, maybe, you could step on pieces of glass for up to seven years. Because you know your stupid kid broke a mirror in your bathroom one time when he was like 3.
Michael: And then, when he's 10 years old.
Alisha: And then, when he's 10, he's still stepping on glass and you're like, "See, I told you so."
Michael: Oh.
Alisha: So, I don't know, that's my theory on that one. But, again, I think this is another instant bad luck one. As soon as you break the mirror, you have to clean it up, somebody could get cut, whatever. I sound very mommy-ish in all my explanations of these today. But, that's okay, yeah.
Michael: Yeah.
Alisha: Did you always hear that this one is seven years?
Michael: Absolutely.
Alisha: Yeah. And why is it seven years?
Michael: Yes, that's why I asked that. Yeah, I have no idea. Also, I think your theory is dead-on except it could be three years, it could be four years.
Alisha: Yeah. I know.
Michael: But, that's interesting that you said that. I've never thought about a lot of these superstitions like the other one is going under a ladder.
Alisha: Yeah.
Michael: That's dangerous. Opening umbrella is dangerous. Breaking a mirror is dangerous. I never thought about that.
Alisha: I think that they're just common-sense sort of things like to tell your kids like, "Be careful not to do that because you could get hurt."
Michael: Hmm.
Alisha: I think that's the underlying message.
Michael: Huh.
Alisha: Okay.
Michael: Interesting.
Alisha: What's your next one?
Michael: I don't know yet. Let's look. I forgot. Oh, this one. I like this one. I think this one's cute even if I don't really believe it. I think it's a fun thing to do is blowing an eyelash and you make a wish. So, if an eyelash falls and people, you know, they point it out, "Hey, you got an eyelash on your nose." "Oh really?" You pick it up and you make a wish. And, your wish comes true. And actually, I've talked to some other people, I'm not sure, I forget what country they were from but what they do is kind of like how Americans do the chicken wing and you break it and whoever has the bigger piece, their wish comes true.
Alisha: Yeah.
Michael: You take the eyelash and you put it to the thumb and whoever is whoever's thumb the eyelash sticks to, is the person whose dream comes true. I've never heard that. For me, and I think just in most of America, you just [blow].
Alisha: I've heard of the eyelash. I think maybe I did it when I was a junior high school student.
Michael: Well.
Alisha: I don't—yeah. it's been a long time since I've heard that one but I've never heard the--
Michael: Yeah, I had. That was the first. I've never heard that before. But you never did blowing that eyelash.
Alisha: Oh, I did, I did.
Michael: Oh.
Alisha: Yeah. When I was little. I just haven't thought about it in a long time. Yeah. I wonder why where that one comes from.
Michael: 'Cause it's dangerous too?
Alisha: I don't know.
Michael: Yeah.
Alisha: But, it's a happy one at least. Okay, good example. I'll go to my last one, I guess. My last one is a simple good luck one that maybe many people know. If you find a four-leaf clover, it's good luck. I don't know the origin of this one, actually. I feel like I should, for some reason. This was something that I would do occasionally with my little brother. We'd be sitting in the yard and there be a patch of clover in the yard and we just kind of be playing and look for one that had four leaves on it instead of just three. And, if we did we'd be happy because we thought that it meant we'd have good luck for a time.
Michael: For six years.
Alisha: Six years.
Michael: Or two days.
Alisha: I don't even know. But that was just a fun thing to do as a kid, was to look for four-leaf clovers. Maybe it kept us out of our parents' hair for a while. Yeah. Did you do that when you were a kid?
Michael: No, I didn't. But I did it as an adult. Someone said it was a fun thing to do. So, we did it and just for fun as adults. I didn't know it was actually possible like I just thought this was like a mythical creature, it didn't actually exist and that's why it's lucky. Yeah, yeah. And then we found a couple. That was my mom, actually, yeah. Well, memory just came back. Anyways, you just kind of zone out, you look at a big field of it and then you can spot it. It's much easier than going one by one. But, I think, again, this kind of makes sense. It's rare, so, therefore, it's maybe lucky.
Alisha: Special.
Michael: Well, yeah, exactly.
Alisha: Yeah, yeah. It's just a nice one.
Michael: I think my third one drop. Oh, under my butt. Okay, there we go. Yeah, alright.
Alisha: If you sit on a card you'll have good luck for three minutes.
Michael: Okay. So, this one another positive one and another one about finding things is giving a heads-up penny to another person. So, this one--I'm just trying to do unique ones because I remember I think, "Oh, that's kind of cool." Because in America if you find a penny that's heads-up. The President on the front facing you, that's good luck. But it's not as rare as a four-leaf clover. It's kind of silly, right? And so, I think maybe that's why they added to the superstition that if it's tail side, so it's the other, you know, it's like a building or something on the other side, don't pick it up, it's bad luck.
Alisha: Really?
Michael: Ever heard of it?
Alisha: I mean, I've heard the penny thing. We had a chant even when I was little. Which was—what was it? "Find a penny, pick it up all day long, you'll have good luck." It's just any penny. There was no there was no heads or tails discrimination. It was just if you find the penny, "Congratulations! Your day is about to get awesome." So, you just pick it up and then you're overjoyed as a small child to have found money for free. That was it. I've never heard the heads or tails.
Michael: Really?
Alisha: Yeah.
Michael: I thought, okay. Well, dang. this would be interesting to find out why if it's just a different because we're not that far apart from each other. You said--I mean you had a kind of a long history but it's basically California and Colorado?
Alisha: California and Oregon.
Michael: California and Oregon and where does?
Alisha: West Coast Hybrid.
Michael: West Coast Hybrid and Colorado. Pretty close.
Alisha: It's pretty close.
Michael: Similar. So, I wonder what that--I mean it could just be our personal experiences.
Alisha: Probably.
Michael: But it could be an interesting thing to--
Alisha: Alright. Well, those are some very interesting stories and very interesting theories. Wow. We should write a Wikipedia page. Okay, well, thank you guys, very much, for joining us as we talk about some American superstitions today. Anything to add, Michael?
Michael: No, that's it. Thanks.
Alisha: Alright, well, thank you all very much for watching today as we talk about American superstitions. If you have any superstitions from your country or from your city or from your region even. Please be sure to share them with us in the comments and we'll check them out. Thanks again for watching and we will see you again soon. Bye.


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EnglishClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 06:30 PM
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Which superstition sounds interesting to you?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 12:14 PM
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Hello Ka Yan,

Welcome to you from Hong Kong! It's a pleasure to have you studying with us.

I have heard of a myth/ belief around umbrellas - if you open them indoors, it brings you bad luck.... who knows though! I haven't tried it.😅

Enjoy your studies!



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Ka Yan
Wednesday at 04:21 PM
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Hi I am from Hong Kong and here we never pick up an umbrella outside and bring it to home, we said that the ghosts may be staying inside of umbrella, it.s kindof silly, right? Anyway most of people believe it.

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Sunday at 04:59 PM
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Hello Ron,

Thanks for sharing! 😄 Welcome from Germany!

If you ever need any help throughout your studies here, please feel free to message and we will get back to you asap.

Until next time,


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Saturday at 02:27 PM
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Hi, i am from Germany and here we have to knock three times on something wooden, after we said something, that could happen in the future, but we don't want to happen.

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Sunday at 06:32 PM
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Hello Chanon,

I love that! Thanks for sharing that bit of Thailand culture. 😄

I hope you're finding EnglishClass101 so useful, and I wish you the best in your studies.

Don't hesitate to let us know if you need anything! 😄



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Wednesday at 03:55 PM
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Ok, so I live in Thailand and Thailand is, if not the land of superstitions. One superstition I wanna point out is when they say, "if you sing while eating, you will end up marrying somebody that's older than you! hahaha The only explanation I can think of for this one is that probably this is a way to tell your kids to stop singing while they're eating which is common sense.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 03:24 PM
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Hello Viswa,

Thanks for taking the time to comment on our site.

I have heard something similar to that superstition here in Australia. Interesting superstitions aren't they?

If you ever have any questions, let me know.



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Tuesday at 02:26 PM
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Hi, I thoroughly enjoyed this lesson. I would like to share one superstition widely believed in India- If you get across a cat while you are going out, it is considered a bad omen and they feel that something bad could happen for them. And they again go inside their home and resume their journey after a while.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 03:26 PM
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Hello Jhon,

I've never heard that before! Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

Please let us know if you ever have any questions throughout your studies, we would be happy to assist.

Until next time,


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Jhon Toloza
Saturday at 01:40 PM
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there is a superstition here that says: if you are feet are swept while someone is sweeping you would never get married.

makes no sense, but is the way it is. and of course those about the umbrella, mirror and ladder are told in many places around the continent. I believe.