View Full Version : Traditions and Customs


tiffy
24-01-2004, 19:21
As a member of the Parson Cross Heritage Society I am currently researching some of the customs our Grandparents observed. I remember such things as taking off hats/caps and standing still should a funeral cortege pass and the practise of drawing the curtains on the day of a neighbour's funeral. Can anyone else remember any?

There was also a belief in things that might bring bad luck - breaking a mirror = 7 years bad luck; spinning a knife on the table; putting a brolly up indoors. Any more...............?

Funke88
25-01-2004, 23:19
Bad luck to put brand new shoes on the table. Mum used to go mad if I opened the box at the table to show her. I had to put them on first.

Hold your breath while driving past a cemetary so that you don't inhale the souls of dead people.

Spill salt? Throw a pinch over your left shoulder into the eye of the devil.

Say "white rabbits" on the first of March for good luck. Got to say it before speaking to anyone first.

Never whistle back stage or in a dressing room at a theatre. Very bad luck!

Say "break a leg" to a performer but never "good luck"

"See a penny, pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck"

BrainThrust
25-01-2004, 23:38
I'm the rotherham area, any shoes on the table, new or not, is considered bad luck.

Eartquakes in china have been attributed to shoes on table incidents apparently.

Wilf

Moon Maiden
26-01-2004, 12:45
Hi,

I get a magazine that is full of things like that - funnily enough called Tradition - and also looks into why the traditions may have come about - like not having lillies in the house as they are seen as a deat flower. It was probably more a practical thing from savvy housewives because the pollen stains the clothing.

I will have a snoop through it for you or you can come to the shop and buy one :)

Moon

Rayd
26-01-2004, 13:51
Walking under a ladder will bring bad luck.

hj dary
30-01-2004, 19:50
I dont know if you have anything like this down here, but where I was born in County Durham it was a tradition that the miners when bathing would not have their backs washed untill a friday as they thought it would weaken them.

tiffy
02-02-2004, 20:45
Awwww thanks you lot - ain't you all luvverly?

It's amazing how many sayings and customs we've all grown up with and not always known their origins.

Moon Maiden - I'd be very interested in knowing the location of your shop.

Moon Maiden
03-02-2004, 08:40
Pm posted to you.

Moon

PopT
17-02-2004, 03:09
We always gave a pair of scissors to a female and a penknife to a male out of town visitor as presents to visitors but demanded a coin in exchange to seal the friendship.

Always worked harder or worked overtime to get extra money for 'Bull Week' which was the week before the holidays. This custom originated in Stannington at Christmastime when then the Cutler paid part of the Christmas wages by giving his workers meat from a Bull he killed each year. This encouraged the workers workers to work harder to pay for the beef. Beef was always eaten instead of poultry at Christmastime in the old days.

Visited all the neighbours to show off our new clothes on a Whit Sunday and they would all give us money in appreciation.

mojoworking
17-02-2004, 03:56
Originally posted by tiffy
...I remember such things as taking off hats/caps and standing still should a funeral cortege pass and the practise of drawing the curtains on the day of a neighbour's funeral. Can anyone else remember any?

There was also a belief in things that might bring bad luck - breaking a mirror = 7 years bad luck; spinning a knife on the table; putting a brolly up indoors. Any more...............?

Surely the 7 years bad luck for breaking a mirror and removing hats, caps etc at a funeral are timeless and universal and still happen today (although less people wear hats these days admittedly).

I never quite understood drawing the curtains on the day of a funeral, but do recall it happening all the time.

It was also supposed to be bad luck to put shoes (new or otherwise) on the table.

When you gave someone a set of knives it was customary to give them a coin of some sort as well.

As you said, spinning a knife on the table and putting up an umbrella indoors were also frowned on.

My granny and older aunties also had a strange superstition/phobia about bats. When out walking in the country at twilight, they were convinced that the bats would get entangled in their hair and always wore a headscarf to stop this happening. No amount of persuasion about the bats' excellent sonar abilities would convince them otherwise

mojoworking
17-02-2004, 04:03
Originally posted by PopT
Visited all the neighbours to show off our new clothes on a Whit Sunday and they would all give us money in appreciation.

I've often wondered if this was a localised Sheffield tradition? I've mentioned it to people from all other parts of Britain and received blank looks every time. Only those from around Sheffield seem to recall it.

My mother used to tell some grim stories about getting a new Whitsun outfit (during the 30s & 40s). After visiting all the relatives collecting money, said outfit would then be straight down the pawnbrokers

PopT
17-02-2004, 04:47
Reply To Mojoworking

I knew of several families who couldn't really afford to buy new Whit Suntide outfits for all their kids so they took a cheque on weekly payment to pay for them and afterwards sold or pawned the outfits. This might sound grim in these days but they held up their heads in pride to see their kids dressed up, particularly if they were going on the church procession. Many a photograph survived much longer than the outfits themselves.

mojoworking
17-02-2004, 06:51
Originally posted by PopT
Reply To Mojoworking

I knew of several families who couldn't really afford to buy new Whit Suntide outfits for all their kids so they took a cheque on weekly payment to pay for them and afterwards sold or pawned the outfits. This might sound grim in these days but they held up their heads in pride to see their kids dressed up, particularly if they were going on the church procession. Many a photograph survived much longer than the outfits themselves.

Thanks Pop. That's more or less the version my mum and gran used to tell. They also used to tell stories about collecting old clothes, rags etc and pushing them for miles in an old pram to sell (by weight) to the local rag & bone man for a few shillings to feed the kids.

This is starting to sound like Capstick Comes Home. Eee, we don't know we're born!

Plain Talker
17-02-2004, 09:28
My maternal gran was very superstitious,

She would iron the sheets, before putting them on the bed when changing the bedding. to remove the fold marks left after they'd been laundered. she said that the cross shape, if left, meant "death" to the person(s) sleeping in the bed.

I suspect that that harks back to the habit of draping coffins with cloths/sheets, and the crisp folds of the drape being laid so as to form the appearance of a cross over the deceased.

She would go absolutely potty if she saw crossed knives in her cutlery drawer, or crossed cutlery on the dinner-table. she said that crossed knives/ crossed cutlery meant that there's be a quarrel in the household before night.

another cutlery superstition was that , if someone dropped a knife, they couldn't pick it up, someone else had to pick it up for you, or it was bad luck.

She also had sayings such as "laughter at breakfast, tears before bedtime!"

Re the giving payment for a gift of knives, scissors or the like.. gran taught that a payment, of even a penny was required as the sharp implement given (knife, etc) would otherwise "sever the friendship".

Our family tradition/ superstition was that we said "white rabbits!" on the first of every month, not just March.

My father would not permit us to have a pack of playing cards in the house, he said that they were bad luck.

PT

tiffy
18-02-2004, 16:53
Some of these I've never heard of before, it's brill, please keep 'em coming. I still haven't had an opportunity to get to the shop Moon Maiden but I intend to.

Mo
18-02-2004, 17:45
I can remember my gran observing all the funeral ones. I once asked her why she closed the curtains on the day of the funeral and she said that it was to stop the devil entering her house as he would be following the body about before it was buried.

She also used to say that crossing anybody on the house stairs was bad luck. I can remember being sent back up many the time when she had started to ascend.

When making homemade bread she would put a cross in the top of the dough before it was left to prove (rise) and this was meant to let the devil out.

Sam Miguel
18-02-2004, 18:04
A saying my grandmother always used sticks in my mind.

If she busy baking and you asked her what she was making she would say: "Shim-shams for meddlers and crutches for lame ducks".

Anyone else ever heard this one and if so, just where does it come from?

Lostrider
21-02-2004, 17:15
Probably not so much of a problem these days, but sometimes birds would come down the chimney. We had two come down when I was a child the first was in the living room when we came down stairs in the morning. There was soot everywhere. The second was stuck in the chimney and my dad lit a piece of newspaper and let the draughtt take it up the chimney. The bird came crashing down the chimney and started flying around the room followed by my dad trying to catch it in a colander.

This was an extremely bad omen as according to my dad it foretold a death in the family. A few days after the first bird came down my, Dad received the news his brother had died and after the second incident my Grandmother died, Coincedence. I'll let you decide.

We once had a shop and often people would remark that they would never have pictures or ornaments of birds in the house as it was unlucky. Maybe this is just sheffield thing I don't know.

bluebird62
21-02-2004, 17:44
NO ONE SEEMS TO HAVE MENTIONED THAT GIVING A PERSON A NEW PURSE OR WALLET WITH NOTHING IN THE COIN SIDE BRINGS ON BAD LUCK.
THIS HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN EVER SINCE MY GREAT GREAT GRAN. EVERTIME I GIVE A NEW PURSE I ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS A NEW OR NEARLY NEW 5P COIN IN THE PURSE OR WALLET.

tiffy
21-02-2004, 19:42
have a read of this I found which is quite interesting.

http://www.berksfhs.org.uk/journal/Jun2001/jun2001TheWayWeWere.htm

pauline
21-02-2004, 21:53
my mum used to say that when you had just had a baby,you wasnt allowed in anyones house,untill you had been to church to give thanks,for its safe arrival.also your not supposed to hang sheets out on good friday.why do we give newborns a silver coin ?

PopT
22-02-2004, 00:09
Hi Lostrider

Reply to Lostrider

Before we came out to New Zealand, my daughter out there asked us if we could buy a Robin decoration for their Christmas tree. She had been explaining to her three little ones that the Robin was quite common in English gardens and that we(Gran and Pop) had one on our Christmas tree.

We tried to buy one in Sheffield but couldn't find one anywhere. A lady shop assistant in Cole Brothers told us that the only chance of buying one was to shop in the South as in the North Birds including Robins were considered bad luck. She said that no-one stocked them as they never sold due to this.

We finally got our Daughter in Law to send one up from Reading where they were a regular feature amongst the Christmas decorations on sale in the shops. It was a beauty and all the three kids loved to see that little bird with his red breast sat on one of the Christmas tree branches.

bluebird62
22-02-2004, 07:48
Hi pauline, the answer to your question of why we give new born children new money is because it wishes them good luck and wealth.
The other saying is that "born with a silver spoon in your mouth".

Plain Talker
22-02-2004, 22:04
Originally posted by juliediane
NO ONE SEEMS TO HAVE MENTIONED THAT GIVING A PERSON A NEW PURSE OR WALLET WITH NOTHING IN THE COIN SIDE BRINGS ON BAD LUCK.
THIS HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN EVER SINCE MY GREAT GREAT GRAN. EVERTIME I GIVE A NEW PURSE I ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS A NEW OR NEARLY NEW 5P COIN IN THE PURSE OR WALLET.

The reasoning behind that superstition was that if you gave a purse or wallet to another without at least one coin in it, was that the purse or wallet would always be empty, it'd "never have money in it". at least, that's how my mum explained that ritual to me.

maybe it harks back to the pagan rituals of appeasing the gods of whatever item it was (like the gods of the earth or the spirits within a tree, that sort of thing) I don't know.

PT

Plain Talker
22-02-2004, 22:19
Originally posted by pauline
my mum used to say that when you had just had a baby,you wasnt allowed in anyones house,untill you had been to church to give thanks,for its safe arrival.also your not supposed to hang sheets out on good friday.why do we give newborns a silver coin ?

WhenI was newly-born, nearly 40 years ago, my mother trekked all the way acrosss sheffield to my grandmothers (her mother) to "show me off".

she hadn't been "churched" as the ritual was called.

My grandmother went beserk. She said to my mother that, as she'd travelled all that way to see her with me, she could not turn us away, but, by gum, she didn't half lay into my mother for the potential for bad luck that she had supposedly brought on my gran's home, visiting before she'd been churched!
Churching was based on an old testament cleansing ritual that women wnt through after childbirth. they had to go so many days after the birth, I think it was 10 days if she had given birth to a boy, 40 if the child were a girl. then a ritual bath was taken, and a small sacrifice (dependent on the wealth of the family) of a couple of doves or a goat would be given and the woman would be considered "cleansed". that ritual evolved into the church's ritual of "the churching of women after childbirth".. which these days is hardly ever done, except when combined partially into the baptism rite.

Sheets on good friday.. that's to do with the sheets representing the shroud that christ was wrapped in after he was taken down from the cross.

Giving the newborn a coin.. that related to a similar thing to putting a coin into a purse.. it was a superstition that if you gave the child a coin, it'd never be "in want", ie never be without money..

PT

tiffy
27-02-2004, 21:13
Anyone remember the rag n bone man who would come down the street with his horse and cart? My mum used to send us in turn to take bags of old clothing out to him and we'd get a balloon or a gold fish in return. Now we just get bags pushed through the doors and told what days to put them out - no more characters.

Still get the scrap man shouting 'iron' on the street and it's nice when the young kids ask what he's shouting and why. I used to make stuff up at first with my kids saying he was shouting 'I am'!

We used to get a man who would sharpen your knives, another one who would cut the privet hedges. We also used to get the job of counting how many sacks of coal were emptied into the coal-house so we could report back to mum before she paid him.

Great days or what?

rainbow2411
27-02-2004, 21:33
A really bad day was when mom wanted a donkey stone from the rag man and I couldn't have a fish

PopT
28-02-2004, 08:04
I still have an unused block of 'Donkey Stone' that I found at the old house when Mam passed on, please don't ask me why I have kept it for 20 years.

I remember Dad coming home from the working men's club on a Sunday and putting a bottle of Milk Stout, a bottle of Bass Brown Ale and a bottle of Lemonade on the dinner table for us all. He would take the carving knife from the meat plate and take it outside and sharpen it up on the sandstone kitchen window cill before he cut the joint up.

I also remember having to cut up squares of newspaper, making a hole through the corners and threading them on a string to hang on a nail on the back of the outside toilet door. In those days we were fortunate that we had our own outside toilet and didn't have to share as many other families did.

I can also remember the unmentionable in todays climate. the women of the house having to empty the chamber pots into a white pail and take them across the yard to empty into the outside toilet. There was very few secrets in those days, everybody knew everyone else's daily routines and habits.

tiffy
28-02-2004, 11:14
I remember about 20 or so years back when I was courting my ex how his elderly neighbours in Sheff 6 still emptied his bucket each morning - on his roses!

I also remember the delivery men with horse and carts on their routes for the day. How the 'gardeners' on our street would all run out with bucket and shovel to claim the horse's droppings - then it would reak to high heaven when we kids were playing out.
We'd find a bit of street that didn't stink and play in a small group!

kath
28-02-2004, 12:38
I remember a sewing shop on Cambride road,(Heeley)it was in someones front room,and I think the ladys name was Maureen?She use to make all my whitsunday dresses,they all seemed from the same pattern!With a bow on the back.You used to choose the material from lengths on a roll,the material often had cutouts like stencils!Daisysetc. At whit you did indeed go round to all the friends of mum and dad to show off your new clothes,and shoes usually crepe sole sandals,that made you fall down!God help you if you got the tar off the road on your shoes!

rainbow2411
28-02-2004, 14:10
We used to get Banners "cheques" when I was really young, later on I remember breaking out of Attercliffe and going to C & A in town. Whit Sunday clothes was best frock, a coat and good shoes, Whit Monday was another frock, a blazer and sandals. Then you had to tout yourself round friends and family for "oh don't you look lovely" and hopefully cash.
Thinking about touting I remember going to the picture (usually the Regal on Staniforth Road) to see an A film and standing outside and asking "will you take me in mister/missis", it never failed, they used to take your money and get your ticket with theirs. It was better if you picked what looked like a courting couple because they wanted rid of you as soon as you were inside.

sweetdexter
19-04-2004, 23:06
I remember Banners cheque's.Your change was returned in Banners coins.
The costom of draping the windows after a death.
You covered the windows in black if a family member died.
If it was somone living in the house you used white to cover the windows.
When I lived at Owlerton in the early 40's.The "Friday Man "used to visit .He had a van and was like a travelling hardware store.
Milk was loose, by the gill.Also delivered from the back of a van
I can remember a steam driven lorry ,I am not sure what it carried ,maybe it was the bin men

R.M.G
01-05-2004, 13:28
new shoes on the table is bad luck so they say, but surely its bad luck to put old ones on, without checking whats on the bottom

Texas
03-06-2005, 17:59
The great 'Spanky' Oates of Pitsmoor Road had the perfect antidote to bad luck when walking under a ladder, all you do is spit. We were both about 11 at the time he told me this, If I have to I still do, works for me.

peterdo
04-06-2005, 02:53
Money in a wallet is still alive and well. My daughter recently bought me a wallet and put a one dollar coin in it. It also had a five cent coin sewn into it.
When I was young ,on new years eve the darkest person in the house had to go outside before midnight with a piece of coal and some money. Then allowed back in after midnight . This ensured money and warmth for the rest of the year. I think it was called "First footing".

coyleys
04-06-2005, 23:10
Originally posted by tiffy
As a member of the Parson Cross Heritage Society I am currently researching some of the customs our Grandparents observed. I remember such things as taking off hats/caps and standing still should a funeral cortege pass and the practise of drawing the curtains on the day of a neighbour's funeral. Can anyone else remember any?

There was also a belief in things that might bring bad luck - breaking a mirror = 7 years bad luck; spinning a knife on the table; putting a brolly up indoors. Any more...............?

The practice of drawing curtain on someones death, has two functions, one as a mark of respect, and two in the days before the chaple of rest, the deceist was taken home and the curtain were drawn to keep the sun out and keep the room cool so the body would not go off,

Remember never be superstitious it all way brings you bad luck

coyleys
04-06-2005, 23:38
Originally posted by pauline
my mum used to say that when you had just had a baby,you wasnt allowed in anyones house,untill you had been to church to give thanks,for its safe arrival.also your not supposed to hang sheets out on good friday.why do we give newborns a silver coin ?

When my first was born my wife insisted on doing the same thing, the funny thing was when she turned the car round she reversed into a grave stone ( i said go steady you'll killed some bugger) and im sure i heard a moan drift up from the grave "Ono not again" did'nt do it with the second born as the bumper cost me 75 "ouch"

coyleys
05-06-2005, 00:03
Originally posted by Sam Miguel
A saying my grandmother always used sticks in my mind.

If she busy baking and you asked her what she was making she would say: "Shim-shams for meddlers and crutches for lame ducks".

My granmother would say the same thing allso things like "an earwig never enters a damp room" and "never open the post before it arrives", that was before they coyted her of to middlewood, she now shares a ward with 4 Elvis impersonators 2 Wookiees and Abraham Lincoln.

May the force be with you

algy
10-06-2005, 13:50
Plain Talker, I think we must be related, except for the sheets bit you've just described my Gran to a tee!

tosh13
10-06-2005, 18:10
Putting a hat on a table was supposed to be bad luck along with shoe,s & I still say to my son when he put's his baseball cap on the table take it off,do not know where it came from just one of my Mums saying's.Strange but spooky

sheff_minx
10-06-2005, 18:38
Originally posted by peterdo
I think it was called "First footing".

A tradition still alive and well in Scotland! Many a time when I stayed at my Grans in Edinburgh for Hogmanay, was I dragged out of bed as a youngster given a bit of coal and told to come in only when I heard them all cheering...

It seemed strange to me as a nipper as my gran had a gas fire but hey... She still does it now she's moved to Derbyshire as her neighbours are all, strangely, Scottish!!

The idea is, as peterdo said, to keep the fire burning into, and therefore throughout, the new year, ensuring warmth to the family.

Albatross
10-06-2005, 20:14
Hat on the bed , shoes on the table were ones I used to hear too. Then there were ones like,
Crossed knives means cross words.

If you dropped a knife it was a disappointment for you if you picked it up but a suprise for someone else to pick it up for you.

If you gave a friend a knife as a gift you must receive a coin from them or it would cut the friendship.
or a purse you would put a coin in it, if you gave it empty it would always be empty.

A whistling woman wakens the devil.

A black cat crossing your path was supposed to be bad luck but to stroke one brought good luck.
If we took notice of em all we would never have left the house:D

kenjenkinson
10-06-2005, 21:19
My Mother always said - a hanging wall picture to fall or to dear a dog howl was a sign of a death.

dowkeruk
11-06-2005, 09:32
We used (in the 40's) to cross our fingers when we saw
an ambulance and only uncrossed them when we saw a
four legged animal.

algy
11-06-2005, 09:38
And of course everyone knew of the dire consequences of treading on the cracks between flagstones:nono:

parcher
11-06-2005, 18:12
I am from London originally and my family hail originally from Devon. Down there, black cats are lucky and we also hang onto our collars when we see an ambulance and then hunt for a dog before our fingers go numb!

It is unlucky to try on a new right shoe first, you should try on the left - thats why most shoe shops put the left one out only. (or is it the other way round - always get my lefts and rights mixed up!!!!) We can put new shoes on a table, but only if the sole faces upwards.

You should not try on anyone elses wedding ring. Their taking it off symbolises the breaking of the marriage and putting it on your own finger suggests that you are the culprit.

Robbinabobin
12-06-2005, 20:56
Fab. thread here....brings back memories

Do you know the one about if you drop a glove, dont pick it up, let someone else do it for you and they will get a surprise?

Also remember getting coins for showing off Whitsuntide clothes to the neighbours. Must have cost all our parents a small fortune!!

As I'm a Rotherham gal...can anyone remember the Whit parade to Clifton Park with a float from almost every Church in Rotherham following a Sunday School Queen and retinue down to Masbro' and then up Doncaster Gate (lots of patients at the hospital there were wheeled out onto the front) I was always as shepherd or something on the float and would wave wildly to all and sundry before going round Clifton Park with a collecting tin for charity.

Did anyone else go to ' Sunshine Corner' at the bandstand?

Just remembered.... whenever we saw an ambulance we would say...' Cross my fingers, cross my toes, never want to go in one of those!!'
Cheers everyone

Jossman
13-06-2005, 18:29
I was always taught to fold my clothes before going to bed and place my socks in the shape of a cross, on top. We were not a religious family in any sense or even church goers, but this practice was carried out nightly. BTW this was late 40's. All my young mates did the same.

40summat
14-06-2005, 20:02
Our dad would make us eat slice of bread and butter with fruit salad and cream, if we didn't want the bread we couldn't have the sweet, i think it was to remind us pudding was a luxury although i never found out why, and i've never heard of anyone else doing this. or maybe he was just barking!

coyleys
15-06-2005, 06:12
Originally posted by 40summat
Our dad would make us eat slice of bread and butter with fruit salad and cream, if we didn't want the bread we couldn't have the sweet, i think it was to remind us pudding was a luxury although i never found out why, and i've never heard of anyone else doing this. or maybe he was just barking!
Yes i remember that, it was somewhat of a ritual on sunday evening for tea we had fruit salad and carnation cream with bread and butter to dip into the juice then if there were any bits of bread half eaten my dad would say" chuck em in't oven "(the oven was built into the fire place the oven was never used but the fire was ) the bread would dry out a bit like that slimmers bread,and in the week if you were hungry my dad would say " av a luk in't oven lad n seef dis owt deer" it was lovely a bit of a treat

TWA756
15-06-2005, 16:56
I can remember in the 1950s always having to have bread and butter with tinned fruit - hated it. I never thought about it at the time but now think it was probably a carry-over from the war years - bread would fill you up so that you wanted less of the things that were rationed and scarce.

pamelaward
11-01-2006, 10:40
Hi, my name is Pamela Ward. I am a singer and was born in Sheffield.

One of my fondest memories of childhood is Whitsuntide. We use to get new clothes, show them off to friends and relations who would give us some money, and then go on the Whit walks.

I recently wrote a song called "Whitsuntide Clothes" about this tradition, which is sadly dying out but I wanted to keep the memory alive.

I was interviewed on Radio Sheffield and received a lot of enquiries from listeners after the interview. It brought back many memories. If anyone is interested you can hear it on my website www.pamelaward.co.uk/jofg.htm and there are also photos of Whit Sings on www.pamelaward.co.uk/pictures.htm

Does anyone remember the Whit Walks

buck
11-01-2006, 15:21
My father ws very superstitious about crossed knives.
At one time the hearse would always do a pass by the residence. My mother would leave all the windows and doors open during a thunderstorm in case a thunderbolt got in and couldn't escape. We had a very wet house at times. Better to drown than fry I suppose.

buck
11-01-2006, 15:27
I forgot one other, the custom of touching a sailor's collar for luck. I wore such a collar while in the navy, and occasionally got in trouble for having a dirty collar from so many touches.
Simple rule of thumb, touch my collar, buy me a beer. That way we're both lucky.

Sultana
11-01-2006, 15:37
This thread is fascinating, all I can think of to add is that my Gran would never have an ornament or broach of a peacock - as she said they were bad luck. Also, actors will never say Macbeth - they refer to it as "the scottish play".

Caz1
12-01-2006, 20:20
My mum was very superstitious. We used to dress up for whitsun..if we dropped a knife we had to stand on it before we picked it up or we would get bad luck. We were also told not to put new shoes on the table. Regarding whistling, my mum used to quote this rhyme if she heard us
A whistling woman or a cackling hen
brings the devil out of his den!!.

Also if you bought someone a gift of a purse then you had to put some coins in it or the receiver would always be poor off.

nanrobbo
13-01-2006, 01:31
I remember a slightly different version of that Caz1:
A whistling woman and a crowing hen
are neither good for God nor men
But a man that can whistle and a **** than crow
Will make their way wherever they go.
I do remember my Mum lifting me up to touch a sailors collar for luck. He gave me a kiss on the cheek- well I was only small.

vhopkinson
13-01-2006, 07:01
Hello,
I have only just come across this thread. It must be quite an old that has come to life again.It was so great reading all the letters Really enjoyed it.
It could only happen in Sheffield. All these expressions are so familiar and part of everyday talking I think. Just racking my old brain trying to add something but you have covered the lot I think
When it came to Whitsuntide, I remember when we had little money We had a new hat and was told to sit and look through the window and noone would know. Ouch!! that sounds so cruel these days but we all had our hard up times, thats when the good old Banners came in handy. Our parents must have had it tough at times. I think it was called "on the Relief" or something . We used to get vouchers to get shoes from the shop called Benefit in the Wicker?? me thinx
We were told not to pick our nose or our eyes would drop out.
I know I was threatened with a "mouse pie" if I wet the bed too. must have been about 6yrs old. Maybe thats why I am a vegetarian have been as long as I know too.Sorry if I have strayed off the thread a bit but wanted to add a bit of something.
Vera

koritsi
13-01-2006, 08:17
My Gran had a thing about if pigeons landed on your roof it was a sign of death and used to ask us to try and get rid of em :rolleyes:

artisan
13-01-2006, 11:19
I think the spinning knife on the table is from old Courts Martial.
If the accused man saw the blade of the dagger pointing at him when he stood in front of the judges bench, then he was for the noose. If the handle was pointing at him then he was reprieved. So spinnning the knife on the table meant bad luck for however it stopped at

Jossman
13-01-2006, 13:07
Buck, cannot pm you as your box is full.
Artisan, that is correct. As a policeman in the Royal Navy I attended several courts martial and had the job of placing the swords.

MysTique
13-01-2006, 14:06
Originally posted by mojoworking
When you gave someone a set of knives it was customary to give them a coin of some sort as well.

I did wonder about that - everytime I've been given a knife as a gift I've had to give a coin in return. I understand this is so that the knife will not cut the friendship but is this just a Sheffield tradition?

Plain Talker
13-01-2006, 17:16
Originally posted by Caz1
(snipped) if you bought someone a gift of a purse then you had to put some coins in it or the receiver would always be poor off.


This is a superstition within my family, too; that the giving of an empty purse meant the purse would always be empty.

The other side of the "coin" lol is the superstition that if you buy a purse or wallet for yourself, then it'll always be empty. (I wonder if anyone else's family has this one?)

PT

jfish1936
14-01-2006, 09:11
Originally posted by MysTique
I did wonder about that - everytime I've been given a knife as a gift I've had to give a coin in return. I understand this is so that the knife will not cut the friendship but is this just a Sheffield tradition?
I was told it was an old Scandanavian belief. In the Viking era, the right to bear a sword came from your overlord. The hero Rolf Kraka showed his fine sword to a young prince, who admired it. Rolf belted the sword onto the prince, and told him to draw it and see how it felt. Then he gave him the sword. When the king died, the prince was about to be proclaimed king when Rolf and his men came in and asked the prince "who gave you the sword?"
When the prince acknowledged Rolf's gift, Rolf claimed that the boy had acknowledged him as overlord by taking the sword from him, and so Rolf became king!
Had the boy "bought" the sword with a token coin, he would have kept hids kingdom.