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A Dictionary of superstitions

Author: Iona Archibald Opie; Moira Tatem
Publisher: Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1989.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Examines superstitions and other folk beliefs that have survived time including divinations, spells, cures, charms, signs and omens, rituals, and taboos. Also describes the meanings behind the customs for Halloween, New Year's, and other holidays.
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Genre/Form: Dictionaries
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Iona Archibald Opie; Moira Tatem
ISBN: 0192115979 9780192115973
OCLC Number: 19555361
Description: xiii, 494 pages ; 25 cm
Responsibility: edited by Iona Opie and Moira Tatem.
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Abstract:

Examines superstitions and other folk beliefs that have survived time including divinations, spells, cures, charms, signs and omens, rituals, and taboos. Also describes the meanings behind the customs for Halloween, New Year's, and other holidays.

Is it good or bad luck to mention a pig to a fisherman? What does it portend when you break a double-yolked egg? How many frogs do you need to cure whooping cough? Ranging from the familiar to the bizarre, and including everything from spells and omens to rituals and taboos, this delightfully informative dictionary covers a wide array of popular superstitions, touching on virtually every aspect of human culture. They embrace family life and the lore offarmers, sailors, miners, and actors; offer advice on the signs to observe when contemplating a journey or a marriage; reveal the significance of animals, plants, stones, colors, food and drink, the elements, and heavenly bodies; and outline the precautions to be taken after a death in the house orduring a thunderstorm. Each entry is arranged alphabetically according to its central idea or object, and illustrated with a selection of chronologically ordered quotations that indicate the history and development of each belief. Superstitions have never before been treated in such depth or on such a scale. An entertaining volume for anyone curious about the beliefs of the past, A Dictionary of Superstitions also makes a valuable contribution to the study of folklore, providing the first systematic account of beliefs that form an integral part of our social life.

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