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making wishes – the origins of our superstitions

superstitious kitsch print

I did another little print design to go along with my bad and good luck prints I debuted in this post.

This one, based on the superstitions behind wishing, took me longer to develop. There aren’t as many obvious symbols to illustrate a wish so I did have to take to google to find, or remind myself, of some. I can’t believe I didn’t remember wishing wells or fountains on my own! The wishing fountains I remember the most, were in the mall…which is kinda disappointing. I don’t recall there being any signage expressing where the accumulated pennies may go, but I could be wrong. I mostly remember the sparkle of copper against blue tile through the water. I remember wanting to reach into it and touch the pennies but never doing it because they weren’t mine. They belonged to the wishers. Little bribes to some unknown power.

As for the other symbols, I actually had never thought about the act of blowing out candles to ‘make a wish’. Maybe because I’m no longer a child? When was the last time I blew out candles? I have no idea. But I liked remembering this and realizing how it was another example of childhood rituals. I tried to find out how the tradition started. This article does a good job of summing the possibilities up. If you know of any other theories please leave me a comment!

I haven’t wished on many stars. So many of them are hidden by light pollution. Which is a funny idea. Something hidden by light rather than revealed. Light can blind or expose. Living in the city again, I do miss the dark mountain skies outside of Asheville, NC.

The ’11:11′ one reminds me of being a teenager. I remember late nights and being told to make a wish when a digital clock reached it. I imagine this superstition probably didn’t come around until we had digital clocks, since it seems to be about the symmetry of the numbers. — Wait! I’m wrong! Here’s a wikipedia page about it. We have numerology to thank for it.

If you remember any other ways to wish please explain them to me. I’d love to hear about them. Take a moment and think about it. You might realize you have a ritual you do automatically, out of habit or tradition. Or maybe you have one you made up rather than inherited.

Also, I have put this work for sale in both my Redbubble and Society6 shops.

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