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For Find Out Fridays! Week 3- Why do we make a wish before blowing out birthday candles or eyelashes away?

Every so often I do something I have done a thousand times before ( when it suddenly occurs to me that I really don’t know why. There are just so many minutes of our days that are performed out of habit and because it is a “normal” part of our culture. But as a sociologist I know better than to take those rituals for granted. Today this is the one I have chosen to tackle.

In a world where reality television reigns supreme I find it fascinating that we still perform these tasks in hopes of obtaining good luck. Even without religion present there is always hopefulness.

During my research I found a lot of sites that said the same thing but with no real reasons of how these traditions got started. From what I can figure they boil down to wishes we hope to come true, as there probably isn’t anyone who wouldn’t like a dream or two granted.

Let’s start with candles. The Ancient Greeks were the first to use candles on cakes believing the light was a symbol of the moon especially when brought to temple to worship the Gods. After the candles were extinguished the prayer/wish was thought to be completed.

As far as the birthday cake and candles that more closely resembles the way we do things today we need to turn to Germany. See they are known for many more things than Nazi’s or war, but those are the ones that popped in my headfirst.

In Germany when children celebrate their birthdays it is called Kinderfest. The amount of candles represented the child’s age with one for luck in the coming year. The wish is kept in the child’s mind and if they are able to blow all of the candles out with one breath their wish appeared to be granted.

Eyelashes too have their rules to ensure that your wishes come too. For those eyelashes that fall out, not pulled out, are meant to be placed on the palm of your hand. Then you close your eyes, make a wish, and blow. When you open your eyes if the lash is still on your hands then your wish will not come true. I don’t know if you are allowed another go at it but I guess if no one is watching you can sneak another try. If anyone does and the wish comes true please let me know. I would try it now myself but my lashes are precious and few.

The eyelash folklore seems to have come about during the beginning of the nineteenth century but there isn’t an ethnicity or region associated with it. I wonder what parts of the world also believe this to be true. The next time I am on an international trip I will have some investigating to do.

Even though those were the only two questions I had, I found out a few other things that I thought you all would appreciate learning about.

Ladybugs too are a source of good luck. Apparently they got their name from the Blessed Mother, Virgin Mary, because she had been portrayed wearing red in medieval times. The black dots were the number of sorrows she had. I would have never ever guessed that. These bugs are also signs of a good harvest for farmers when they appear near their crops. If one actually happens to fall on you, your wish is supposed to come true. I don’t think you have to blow on them though. After your wish you might just put them down gently or at least that’s what I am recommending.

You have probably seen coins in every fountain you have ever passed. Word online is that the bigger the value of the coins tossed the better chance you have of your wish coming true. This to me sounds like gambling but without having to drive to Atlantic City.

Lastly yawning is also a reason to have a wish granted. Actually if someone near you yawns and you are able to resist yawning yourself, they you get to make a wish. I don’t know who is keeping track but I this reminds me of Santa Claus checking his list twice.

Now I am wondering if you have a big wish, do you have to do more than one ritual? Is there some chart that converts weight of a wish or how many wishes into actions that need to be taken? Likewise how many prayers void certain sins? I think both charts would be really helpful, just like pocket language dictionaries. Any way it appears I am the only one asking these questions so my search must continue.

Now that we spoke about good luck do we have to discuss bad luck? I know it’s bad luck to break a mirror and that you will have seven years bad sex if you do. I have known this since I was a child, which I now find disturbing. I wonder why that is? The mirror to sex relationship, not why I have known about it for so long. It makes more sense that if it is a mirror used during sex. Maybe that’s it. Oh well looks like we have a new topic for another “Find Out Friday”.

Again I will remind my readers to suggest topics for “Find Out Friday” blogs. Whenever one idea pops into your mind share it! You never quite know what will be your inspiration or what information will be revealed in my quest for the truth!

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