Cat superstitions in England and in Russia: what do I believe? Done by the pupil of the 8th form Maleyeva Nadezhda
The aims of my work are: • to prove why cats are used more often than other animals in superstitions; • to compare some English and Russian superstitions ;
What is a superstition? • In ancient times people tried to explain events in the world. They didn’t know much about the sun, stars, moon, comets and so on. • Everyone believed in certain things that we now regard as superstitions. And the people who believed in them at that time weren’t superstitious at all.
Cat superstitions • Cats all over the world appear in superstition and folklore, every country has their own catsuperstitions. And it’s rather interesting why cats are used more often than other animals.
In mythology, the cat was believed to have great influence on the weather. Witches who rode on storms took the form of cats. The dog, an attendant of the storm king Odin, was a symbol of wind. Cats came to symbolize down-pouring rain, and dogs to symbolize strong gusts of wind. This may be where the phrase "it's raining cats and dogs" originated.
In Japan, there is a myth that cats turn into super spirits when they die. According to the Buddhist religion, the body of the cat is the resting place of the soul of spiritual people. • King Charles I of England owned a black cat, whom he valued very much. He treasured the cat so much that he had his guards watch over it 24 hours a day. As luck would have it, the day after the cat died from an illness, the king was arrested.
At one time, people believed that fur and blood drawn from various parts of the cat's anatomy cured all ailments. • Early American colonists believed that a broth made from boiling a black cat would cure tuberculosis, but no one wanted to risk the bad luck that would befall them if they killed the cat.
In the early 16th century, a visitor to an English home would always kiss the family cat. • In the Netherlands, cats were not allowed in rooms where private family discussions were going on. The Dutch believed that cats would definitely spread gossips around the town.
About black cats • In parts of Yorkshire the wives of fishermen keep black cats at home to ensure their husbands safety at sea. • In Britain and many parts of Europe, a black cat crossing the road, or entering your house is considered very good fortune. • In Southern England a black cat crossing the path of the bride as she leaves the church is said grant a fortunate marriage. • If you find a white hair on a black cat, you will have good luck. • A bride will have a happy married life if a black cat sneezes near her on her wedding day. • It is considered bad luck to pass a black cat after 9 pm • On every black cat there is a single hair that is white. If you remove it without the cat scratching, this white hair will bring you wealth or luck in love.
About white cats • It is bad luck to see a white cat at night. • To see a white cat on the road is lucky.
Harming a cat • If you kick a cat, you will develop rheumatism in that leg. • If you are a farmer and kill a cat, you can expect your cattle to die mysteriously. • If you drown a cat, you will fall victim to a drowning. • If you kill a cat, you are sacrificing your soul to the Devil • If a cat was thrown overboard, a storm would rise and very bad luck would follow. • To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck
Dreaming about a cat • If you dream of a ginger cat, you will be lucky in money and business. • If you dream of a black and white cat, you'll have luck with children; may also mean the birth of a child. • Dreaming of a white cat means good luck • A dream of two cats fighting means illness or a quarrel • If you dream about a cat with no tail, it means lost independence.
To believe or not to believe… • We see that English and Russian superstitions have some differences but not very meaningful. • From all animals cats appear in superstitions more often. • And it is your choice to believe or not to believe them…
Reference • 1. Английский язык. Приложение « Первое сентября» № 45 1999. • 2. Словарь русских суеверий. « Русский купец» Нижний Новгород. 1995 • 3. www.superstitions.co.