Bread – The Simple Morsel of Good Luck
Picture the Christian emblem of Christ’s “The Last Supper”, what do you see prominently? What is that thing interpreted in several ways? Yes, you guessed right! It is the meager morsel of bread and wine that forged the bond of love and trust between Christ’s followers. People used to ‘revere’ so much that they believed bread crumbs thrown into fire is like giving open invitation to the devil to come and haunt them.
In a small anecdote mentioned in the Woman magazine, it was thought to be unlucky when bread and a friend are burned from Scarborough Mountains because that invokes the devil. From ancient times, bread has been considered something of ‘pure’, a substance that has the capability to ward off evils. In Hesperides Charms, it is mentioned:
‘Tis a certain Charm to keep Hags away,
While Children sleep.
This means that bread contains a charm that can drive witches away and keep the children safe. If you think this is old belief then read what people even in the 1950s used to believe. It was thought that babies or kids are more susceptible to the charm of witches, therefore, whenever they were taken outside after dark, a piece of holy bread crumb was placed on the dress or bib to protect it from any witchcraft or evil. Similarly, when a child is taken for baptism, a piece of bread crumb is tied to the corner of the infant’s clothes for good luck.
Good luck beliefs on bread is not only limited to the protection of children, there is certain concept of bread making and its connection with being “a good wife”. Though no exact reason is given but it was a widely popular belief in the 18th and 19th centuries that a good wife should always break the first piece of bread and not cut it. To quote the Provincial Glossary Superstitions, “Should the good wife cut the first cake from the oven, all the rest will be heavy; the first cake must be broken”. This belief is again related to Christ’s “The Last Supper” because during that time, Christ had ‘broken’ the bread and distributed to the disciples and not cut it with a knife.
Moreover, how the bread is going to turn out probably implies whether a woman is going to have baby or not. In the 1926 edition of Folklore, it is mentioned that if the loaf of bread rises too high during baking that holes begin to appear then it is a clear signal that the woman who baked the loaf would become pregnant! Sad that few women bake less these days, if they had been, there would not have been need of pregnancy test kits and hence, the woman saves a lot of money!
Finally, the nail in the coffin statement – it is very unlucky for a person to see holes in a loaf of bread because it spells death in the family. In other words, a hollow in a is called a grave, and is held to signify death.
There are several other minor superstitions about bread. No matter whether this harmless piece of commodity brings good or bad luck eventually, the thing to see is whether you are willing to believe in them. After all, what ultimately matters is faith!
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