4 star

Superstitions and Why We Have Them

Author: Max Cryer


Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt

Synopsis:  superstitions

Some people casually say ‘touch wood’ when they speak of something they hope will happen. Others won’t allow peacock feathers into the house. And almost anyone who finds a four-leafed clover will treasure it and keep it. Why? Some superstitions are so ancient and have been practiced for so long that they have come to be regarded as just harmless and widely observed ‘customs’, without people realizing they are basically superstitions. For instance, many people wouldn’t bother tossing spilled salt over their left shoulder or avoid walking under a ladder. But they happily continue to wear a wedding ring and blow out candles on a birthday cake.

They don’t know why – ‘it’s just a custom’. But both are actually superstitions. In a book full of surprises and revelations, Max Cryer explains the origins of many of the things we commonly say and observe and why we continue to include them in our lives: kissing under the mistletoe, the unlucky number thirteen, the significance of the bridal bouquet, saying ‘bless you’ after sneezing, the hanging of a horseshoe, ‘the Scottish play’, the danger in opals, the Leap Year proposal … so many aspects of our lives are colored by superstition. Now you can discover the reasons for them in a book that is both witty and informative. Superstitions will provide many ‘Eureka’ moments and settle many family disputes.


Superstitions and Why We Have Them is to me a bit of a misnomer. Author Max Cryer speaks of superstitions when to me and to many definitions some of them are actually customs and have a basis in a real reasoning. Whereas superstition is more often than not based on no factual information. I think this threw me off a bit as I was reading the book. I enjoyed reading about some superstitions and tons of customs and found the information quite extensive.

I learned quite a bit about so many customs, such as bridegrooms, why they were boutonnieres, the custom of something old, something new, etc., some of the Halloween customs, and many, many more. There was information on superstitions about cats, ladders, crows, and the like. This book encompasses so many things that we today just take for granted as the way things are done. You will learn quite a lot about different societies and eras and the way their beliefs have been handed down to us. I did enjoy this book and learned so much. It can be fun at times as well. I would recommend Superstitions and Why We Have Them to anyone interested in where these things come from, why is a 4-leaf clover lucky, why do we not walk under a ladder, why is a poisonous flower like Lily of the Valley revered. Enjoy.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review *