Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Good luck is not buona fortuna

In Italy , a horse-chestnut or conker, kept in your pocket during the Winter could keep colds and flu at bay

A ladybird, a four-leaf glover, a black cat and a horse-shoe are all welcome signs of luck for some
One of the first mistakes that I made when I first came to live in Italy was to wish someone good luck in their forthcoming exams. I said it loudly and proudly Buona Fortuna. There was a stunned silence and I was stared at in horror as though I had uttered a terrible curse. It was hurriedly explained to me that it is considered very bad luck for someone to wish you good luck. They told me I had to either say nothing at all, , or say In bocca al lupo, which is an invitation to enter a wolf's mouth. The reply to this must be Crepi il lupo, which means that the wolf must decease. Another tradition is to throw a slipper at the back of the person who needs the luck .
One day at the start of my Italian adventure, I was walking along with an Italian friend when a black cat crossed our path. I exclaimed in delight while she cowered with fear. When I touch wood, Italians touch iron. If salt is spilled I rush to grab a pinch with my left hand and throw it over my left shoulder. I always thought that owls could bring me good luck , here some say they bring tears. Woe betide you if you put your clothes on inside out  you have to stay like that all day, at the best someone will ask you if you have been looking for mushrooms. In the South of Italy you will find a whole myriad of peperoncini, Cornetti and gloves of garlic hanging in all sorts of strategic places to ward off vampires and bad spirits.
My Mum was surprisingly superstitious for someone so level- headed. She would never have hawthorn or May blossom in the house, however pretty it may look. Our Christmas decorations had to be packed away by the stroke of midnight on Twelfth Night. We always wished on the new moon but never while looking at it through glass, so specs off and windows open. If you have an elephant as an ornament , his trunk must face the window . Horseshoes have to hang ring- side down so the luck can't fall out.
There must be all sorts of supertitions and good luck charms, all around the world..
If you are able to watch this video, it is a lovely song from Singin' in the Rain, You are my lucky star
Cliff Richard singing Lucky Lips doesn't need good luck charms
So good luck to you all today but In bocca al lupo to my Italian friends.

cloves of garlic to keep away vampires, pepperoncini and cornetti to keep away bad luck

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