Reading and Speaking
More than 16 million British people regularly carry out routines they believe will bring them luck – or ward off bad good luck. There are many superstitions in the UK, but one of the most widespread is to walk under a ladder – even if it means getting off the pavement and go through a busy street.
Another common unlucky superstition is to open an umbrella in doors. It is said that the number 13 is unlucky for some, and when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday is better staying home. In Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th is considered a day of bad luck.
In the UK black cats are generally considered good luck, though, in reality, are associated with witchcraft – usually a black cat is an animal relative of a witch.
Although broken mirrors are a pain to clean up, it’s the threat of the 7 years bad luck that keeps most of British people from carelessly knocking them over. Some people believe that the reason breaking a mirror causes all those years of bad luck from an age when mirrors were considered luxury items and the cost of replacing a broken one would be equal to 7 years of a peasant’s salary.
It is considered good luck if a black cat crosses your path – although in the United States is the opposite belief. For this reason, we can find black cats on many good luck greetings cards and birthdays’ cards in England.
Carry out (verb) To perfom or cause to be implemented.
Ward off (verb) To avoid.
Widespread (adj) Extending over a wide area
Ladder (noun) A portable framework in the form of two long parallel members for climbing up or down.
Witchcraft (noun) Sorcery.
Clean up (verb) Make things clean .
Peasant (noun) Farm person who cultivates land.
1. Which British superstitions are similar to those in your country? Which are different?
2. What is a superstition?
3. Do you believe they can influence our lives?
4. Do you think that there is truth behind superstitions?
5. Do you walk under ladders?
6. What are some superstitions in your country?
7. Do you have a lucky number?
8. Do you believe in coincidences? Why or why not?
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