Are You Superstitious?

Living in Bavaria gives me the wonderful opportunity to make new friends and experience German Culture first hand. Since today is Friday the 13th of May I thought I’d give you just a few superstitions that still prevail here in Bavaria.

· When you see your friends at a “Local’s only table” (Stammtisch) in a Gasthaus, you should greet them by knocking on the wooden table 3 times. People say that most Stammtisch tables used to be made of Oak wood, and the Devil was unable to touch Oak wood, because it was a holy tree. So knocking on the table proves you are not the Devil.
· The person who walks between two old women early in the morning shall have only bad luck the rest of the day.
· If a person bathes in cold water on the first day of Easter, they will have good health for the rest of the year.
· Rainwater found on tombstones will remove freckles.
· If a stork builds its nest on your roof or chimney, you will live long and be wealthy.
We also have many superstitions in America and probably most of them originated in Europe and were brought to America from emigrants. I’m told though that Friday the 13th originated from Norse and Germanic tribes. Friday is named after Frigga, the Norse goddess of love and fertility. When those tribes+ were converted to Christianity, Frigga was supposedly banished in shame to a mountain and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the vengeful Frigga convened a meeting with the devil and 11 other witches (13 altogether) to plot bad events for the coming week. Today in some parts of Scandinavia, Friday is still known as Witches’ day.

Discovering these Bavarian superstitions have been fun and my friends here poke fun at them as well…even if some older Bavarians in the Alps still hold to some of them in the little mountain villages nearby. The real message today, like every day, is that God knows each one of us and that we should be mindful that He loves at cares for us more than we could ever imagine. I think that this passage from Matthew 10:29-31 says it best...

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Have a great Friday the 13th

Grüß Gott from Upper Bavaria!  

Matt Schneider

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