April 07, 2008

Superstitions: Knock on Wood

knockwood.JPG (click to enlarge)
If you say something to tempt fate, knocking on wood will protect you. (Example: "I'm the only one in my house to not get the flu. Knock wood.")

This superstition can be traced to the early 1800s, with some people believing it invokes the wood of the crucifix for protection.

The real origin seems to be a children’s game from the early 1800s called “Tig-touch-wood”. Children playing tag were “safe” when they touched wood. Touching wood for luck became knocking on wood for luck in the U.S. and Germany.

(Cross-posted at DDBBG.)

Reference: Most of the material from this post was found in Steve Roud's The Penguin guide to the superstitions of Britain and Ireland.

Posted by Jennifer at April 7, 2008 12:47 PM | TrackBack



Posted by: shank at April 8, 2008 07:16 AM

I always thought it was older. Something about attracting the help/protection of the spirit of the tree.

Posted by: Jim at April 10, 2008 04:15 AM