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 practised for so long that they have come to be regarded as just harmless and widely observed 'customs', without people realising 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 coloured 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.
Max Cryer is a well-known writer, broadcaster and entertainer. In a long career, he has been a school teacher, a compere and television host, as well as a performer on the opera stage in London and in cabaret in Las Vegas and Hollywood. Now a full-time writer living in Auckland, he has written many books, including Every Dog Has Its Day, Who Said That First?, Love Me Tender, The Godzone Dictionary, Preposterous Proverbs and Curious English Words and Phrases.