Every culture has its old wive's tales and superstitions. Since it is a new year I want us all to get started with good luck so here are some of my favorite Trini superstitions.
Don't put goat mout' on something - meaning don't speak of anything negative that has not happened as yet, because it might come true.
Whatever food a pregnant woman is craving at a given moment, she should be given it immediately, otherwise the baby will have a mark on his/her body will will resemble the food. (I was pregnant while I lived in Trinidad so I really liked this one.)
Don't bathe in the sea on Good Friday - you will turn into a fish.
If you put your handbag on the floor/ground you will never have money.
When you comb your hair and what is left on the comb is thrown outside, if a bird gets it and makes a nest, then you will get a headache.
Never give someone a lamp that you have used, it brings bad luck.
Don't sew on yourself (like a button), it makes people talk bad of you.
Do not sweep over someone's feet, they will never marry. (I thought a single friend of mine would claw my eyes out when I did this accidentally.)
Always turn your back to the inside of the house when opening the door at night, that way the sprits that have followed you home, will see your face and will not enter.
It is believed that if anyone eats the Cascadoux fish, regardless of where they may move in the world they will return to Trinidad to end their days. (When we had to move back to the States and many people kept asking me to their house for a meal of cascadoux I had no idea of the meaning until my friend Petal explained it. She told me it was a sign of total acceptance and love and grief at our depature that people would offer us cascadoux, that we were seen as Trini not American. I cried of course. Then she told me she'd want me to eat cascadoux too except that it tastes vile and is covered in scales thick like toenails. That Petal, she always knew how to get a laugh ot of me!)
It is also believed that to bury the navel string (umbilical cord) of a child at the foot of a prolific fruit tree, this will ensure the fertility of the child as an adult.
There are also those that say you should save the navel string. In case of a life threatening illness it should be made into a medicinal tea. (My friends thought it was bizarre that Americans might save baby teeth. I decided for Calypso, I would save her navel string too, since she was born in Trini......yes, I still have it. Yes, I hear your collective 'eeewwwwww' out there in the blogosphere.)
Silk Cotton trees are regarded with a kind of awed reverance and fear. These are huge trees. It is reported to be very difficult to be able to find someone who will cut down a silk cotton tree as they are said to be the home of spirits and duppies. To cut it down is to free them to roam the earth.
Good luck everyone!