Gàidhlig / English
Saobh-Chràbhaidhean Tachais

Saobh-Chràbhaidhean Tachais

Posted by Eoghann on Thursday 14th June 2018
There was a time when my girlfriend and I were coming back from shopping and we were walking down a busy street in Edinburgh’s New Town when she stumbled forward slightly and informed me that she was going to be meeting a man. After seeing my puzzled face she reassured me that this was only because she had tripped over her right foot and had she tripped over her left she would be meeting a woman. 

To give you some further context, this is a superstition she often heard when growing up in Poland. Another superstition she has revolves around itchy palms; if one’s left palm is itchy this means that this person would come across money however if one’s right palm is itchy this is a sign that they will soon be shaking another person’s hand.

I love these unusual superstitions which make the extraordinary out of these very ordinary prickles and itches we experience every day. There are many traditions surrounding the droch-shùil including the practice of saying “Dia gad ghleidheadh” to milking cows to avoid the power of the evil eye, however there are many Gaelic traditional beliefs behind common sensation which are just as interesting.

While in English it is understood that one’s ears burning means that one is being talked about, a Gaelic speaker’s burning ears is a more complicated affair. If one’s right ear is burning then it is held that someone is praising them but if one’s left ear burns then this signifies that one is being criticised. So far, nobody has discussed with me the quandary of both ears burning. If someone has further insight into this please do get in touch.

If your nose is suddenly itchy then it is understood that someone else is thinking about you. The name for this particular sensation is meanmhainn as in “tha meanmhainn orm.” As far as I’m aware, the itch alone wouldn’t be able to tell you whether their thoughts about you are complementary or not. It appears that previous medical advice would suggest to measure the temperature of your ears for further information. Moving down the nose, mearmin is the name given for an itchy nostril and it is a sign that you are to expect a letter. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find in our archives the corresponding itch for expecting an email.

Finally, you could have a reason to be cheerful if you find yourself suddenly bothered by your upper lip. This is known as the sgrìob drama, and this forecasts an unexpected dram which you will receive from someone.

Have you come across any other superstition which you’re itching to tell us about, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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