I’ve come to find that Salvadorans can be very superstitious. Over the years Suegra has warned me away from bad luck in various ways. For example, she’s told me repeatedly not to sweep the kitchen in the evenings because it will cause the household to lose money, (I continue to sweep each night after dinner, maybe that’s why we’re so poor?) She also consults with a palm reader, (who no doubt has told her many terrible things about a certain gringa.)
I’ve also told you before that despite being a strict Catholic who believes in “la voluntad de Dios”, Suegra wears her underwear inside-out (for luck), and carefully tends a “lucky plant”. She doesn’t see it as contradictory at all. When I asked her about how she can be both religious and superstitious, she just waves me off like I’m an annoying bug.
Well, while I’ve come to expect a certain amount of superstition from Suegra, usually my husband isn’t as susceptible to magical thinking – that’s why I was surprised by something I found by accident the other day.
I was cleaning the house during the day and we have this lamp near the front door that gets quite dusty.
Looks ordinary right? Well, when I went to dust around under the shade, something fell on the floor.
I wasn’t sure at first what it was. I decided it was a magnet and figured one of the kids stuck it there when they were playing around. I stuck it on the fridge, went back to dusting, and thought nothing more of it.
Later that afternoon, Carlos came home, kissed me as he came in the door, and went to put his lunch box in the kitchen.
“Hey, you moved my magnet,” he said, taking it off the fridge and returning it to the lamp.
“What in the world?” was pretty much all I could manage.
Carlos explained that it was a lucky magnet and he wanted to keep it there. I thought maybe he was pulling my leg because I had never heard of this in all the years we’ve been married. He insists that his mother always kept magnets around for good luck, and he’s seen other Salvadorans do it too.
Now, from an anthropological point of view, I’m wondering where this superstition came from. Maybe when people indigenous to the Americas first encountered magnets they found it magical the way that they “attract” things, so maybe they believed it could attract even non-physical things, such as luck?
I’ve searched the internet to find out more and I’ve come up empty-handed, so that’s only my own personal theory. What do you think? Do you believe magnets are lucky or know someone who does? Are you superstitious? Which superstitions do you believe?