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Mermaids, Bad Breezes & The Evil Eye – Funny Beliefs and Superstitions of Belize.

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This isn’t your usual “Step on a crack – Break your Mama’s Back” –stuff. But you know, everywhere you go there are always some urban legends/superstitions and Belize is certainly no exception!

1.     Never sharpen your pencil on both sides, bad things will happen

This one was made popular by teachers, they would tell students that sharpening a pencil on both sides would bring bad luck and someone in your family could also die. Why would anyone want to sharpen both sides of a pencil? Well for starters, if a side broke, you’d have the other side to use, and second, kids also tried anything to seem cool and different. Maybe, since sharp objects around kids are dangerous, adults made up that saying so that kids would be safer.

 

2.  Bad Breeze will get you

A lot of the older folks used this to keep children/teens and even errant husbands from getting into the house too late at night. Telling them that spirits roamed the night and that if “caught” it would get them sick with terrible fevers, vomitings or diahreaah etc. The Bad breeze even caused them to bring sickness in the  house which often affected young babies/children who dwelled in the house.

 

3.  Boys and girls, when someone is sweeping, don’t let the broom hit your feet

If the broom hits your feet, that would mean that you’d have to marry an old lady or man. This was probably made popular by moms who didn’t want their children running around whenever they were sweeping and doing house chores. This was a hit among young girls as they surely didn’t want to marry an old grumpy man.

 

4. You have “Bad Eye” (Evil Eye)

Believe it or not – People still believe this! This is often told to you if you came around looking a newborn baby.  It was believed that an intoxicated person, women having their monthly, or anyone who has recently had sexual relations that looked at young babies often made them sick. These babies would often suffer colic like symptoms including puffiness in their tummies, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Oh! – The cure for these babies include passing a newly laid egg wrapped with herbs (Ruda) all over the child to ward away the evil!

 5.     Big Peteh or Tamales foot

Don’t walk around barefoot as you’ll grow a “Peteh” or “Tamales foot”. Peteh is the Belizean creole word for big, flat and broad feet.  Adults always warned about putting on shoes or sandals, but it was probably because they wanted us to protect our feet from prickles and bruises.

6. Swimming on Good Friday will turn you into a Mermaid

 

You never know – we might possibly have hundreds or even thousands of mermaids in Belize. Most parents do not allow their children to go swimming on that day for fear that they would turn into a mermaid. This sounds ridiculous, but possibly they said it because as Christians, Good Friday was meant to be a day to forego all pleasures and imitate the suffering and death of Christ.

7.    Don’t give away something then take it back or you’ll get a “Piscuch”

This one is funny. If you gave something away and later took it back later, you would catch a “Piscuch”, a small bump on the eyelid – which is actually a  Chalazion.  This was done to prevent kids from being mean and to embrace sharing their toys and snacks with others.

 

What are some superstitions you grew up with?

 

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