Gàidhlig / English
Giseagan Gàidhealach (Pàirt 1)

Giseagan Gàidhealach (Pàirt 1)

Posted by Calum on 7th April, 2022
There are two proverbs in Scottish Gaelic and Manx Gaelic: “Thoir gèill do ghis, Is gèillidh thu do ghis” [“Forsake a superstition, and you shall be forsaken to superstition”], and “Mannagh vow cliaghtey cliaghtey, nee cliaghtey coe” [“If a practice is not practised, practise will lament”]. Superstitions have a tremendous effect on are lives, if you believe in them or if you don’t, and they are just as abundant. It is easy to start a superstition but it is hard to avoid it or stop!

We have many interesting superstitions in our corpus as well: It is bad luck to put a sheep’s carcase of one croft onto another, bringing with it bad luck; it is bad luck, and was in the centuries past, to take a spark of a fire to another house where there is a baby. It was a belief that their teeth would not grow; a fist of dirt or sand on the top of a coffin at a funeral before it was buried.

The superstitions here are recorded and published in the magazine “An Rubha, Vol. 1 # 2” by “Baile nan Gàidheal: Highland Villiage”. The following géillinnean from Seumas mac Aonghais ’ic Uilleim ’ic Iain ’ic Iain ’ic Mhurchaidh, from Kingsville, Inverness-shire, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I have put them in columns according to whether they are a good superstition or a bad superstitions.

  • Cutting hair between the new moon and the full moon.
  • Standing or stepping on a grave, especially a baby’s grave that was never baptised.
  • Telling your age to anyone. (It is better to make a year or two of differences.)
  • If you kill a bee. (If a bee comes inside it means that a stranger will come. Don’t intercept it in any way but it will leave on it’s own volition.)
  • Do not bump into or meet anyone on the stairs.
  • If you drive a black cat away after it comes towards the house.
  • If you correct a button of your shirt or jacket after putting it in the wrong hole. (If that is done, you have to remove the shirt or jacket in order to do it properly.)
  • If you light a candle from a fire or with a match. (You will die in poverty if you light it with the fire.)
  • If you let a candle go out by itself. (It is better to blow it and extinguish.)
  • If you leave a candle lit in a room without anyone in the room.
  • Putting an open Bible in a cradle with a baby in order to keep evil away from them.
  • If you keep and you shake silver coins in your pocket when you see the first light of the moon.
  • If you keep silver coins in your new clothes that you put on. (You will always have money after that.)
  • If you keep children until the age of three in blue (the colour blue will keep them safe from misfortune.)
  • The colour red is lucky.
  • The colour brown is forbidden.
  • Tha colour grey is good, or a little lucky, for people.
There we have it for Gaelic superstitions this week. Do you have a superstition that is necessary that you must follow? Do you have a different version that we have not mentioned here? Let us know on facebooktwitter and our own website
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