Texas February 13, 2018
7 Superstitions You’ll Only Understand If You Grew Up In Texas
We Texans might pride ourselves on using logic and reason more than people from other states, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely immune to superstition. Dating back to the Old West days when cowboys abounded, these seven superstitions only make sense to those of us who hail from the Lone Star State.
1. A ring around the moon means bad weather is imminent.
This superstition is most common among fisherman along the Gulf Coast. They may decide whether or not to set sail based on what the moon looks like.
2. When bugs (specifically spiders, wasps, or flies) come into the house, rain is coming.
This one really hits home for me. It does have a shred of logic to it - I mean, it only makes sense that bugs would seek shelter when bad weather is on the horizon. However, I distinctly remember my mother telling us a rainstorm must be brewing if she saw a single spider or cockroach in the house. I suppose having a definite explanation as to why the critter was there made her feel more at ease.
3. Farmers should always plant root vegetables in the dark of the moon and above-ground vegetables by moonlight.
This one goes back to the whole ring around the moon thing. The idea is that if the vegetable grows underground, it should be planted in the dark because the light from the moon might cause it to want to grow upwards instead, thereby creating a weak harvest. If the plant grows above-ground, the seeds should be sown by moonlight so as to entice the sprouts to grow as tall as possible.
4. Killing chicken snakes bestows bad luck on you forever, particularly in the form of cows producing milk that's already sour.
Folklore surrounding snakes in Texas dates back thousands of years. Early settlers were both fascinated and terrified by the creatures, believing they had mystic powers to charm their victims into helplessness. This superstition most likely came about in an attempt to keep farm children away from snakes at all costs.
5. If a buzzard crosses a person's path, he or she is doomed to live a life of bad luck.
This one reminds me of the classic black cat superstition - maybe it involves buzzards instead because they're more plentiful than cats out in the country? Or maybe whoever came up with it was an avid Edgar Allen Poe reader and came to believe all birds were bad omens. Whatever the reason, one thing's for sure: if I see a buzzard, I'm definitely running in the other direction as fast as my legs can take me.
6. Tying a horsehair rope to your bedpost is a surefire way to keep rattlesnakes out.
This belief dates back to the cowboys of the Old West. Rattlesnakes abounded in the desert, and there was a real fear of being bitten in the night since they had to sleep completely exposed to the elements. Probably in an effort to comfort themselves enough to doze off, they made up the notion that tying a rope made from horsehair to their bed would ward off the deadly critters.
7. A horseshoe nailed to a post or over a door will bring good luck to you and your family.
Just like many good luck charms, nobody can say for sure why they're viewed as such. That is true for horseshoes as well - I've seen them on the posts outside many friends' and family members' homes, but none of them or myself could tell you exactly how they're supposed to make you lucky. Oh well, it doesn't hurt to try, right?
Did you grow up believing any of these? What other superstitions do only Texans understand? Let us know!