Superstitions and why we have them

Left-handedness

It is totally unfair to people born  left-handed, but ancient superstitions are firm that the right hand  belongs to  God and the left hand belongs to the Devil, who also lives part of his time over your left shoulder.

Several biblical references acknowledge the right side as the place of honour.  ‘…and sat at the right hand of God’ (Mark 16:19); ‘Sit at my right hand…’ (Matthew 22:44).  The Bible condemns ‘aliens, whose mouths speak lies, and whose right hand is the right hand of falsehood’ (Psalm  144:8), indicating that the norm in biblical times would have been the right hand affirming the truth, not falsehood.The custom of swearing a formal or legal oath with the right hand raised is common, though not universal.

The ‘right hand’ superstition seems also to have influenced the American pledge of allegiance, when the right hand is placed over the heart. At a less formal level, superstition tells us that if the palm of the right hand itches, money is coming to you. If the palm of the left hand itches, you have to pay out some money.

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Published by Exisle Publishing

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Max Cryer

Max Cryer is well known for his books on language and other subjects. In a long career, he has been a teacher, television host and m.c. as well as a performer on the opera stage in London and in cabaret in Las Vegas and Hollywood. He is now a full-time writer.