I should have named this post, funny beliefs and superstitions of OLD Belize, since, for some reason, the younger generation of Belizeans aren’t as superstitious. Actually, when you look at some of the beliefs, you can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous they sound. But of course, I respect and understand why these superstitions played such a vital part of their lives. These beliefs were passed down from parent to child over several generations, and these stories were used as tools to keep their children at bay from too much mischief and/ or harm. The same goes for Belizean folklore, when our parents told us about the mythical characters of Belize, we behaved ourselves.
Related: Get to know Belizean Folklore
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. I assume that since sharp objects around kids are dangerous, adults made up that saying so that kids would be safer.
Bad Breeze wa ketch yuh
Don’t be making funny and weird faces or mimicking physically impaired persons since “Bad Breeze” could catch you and you would stay like that forever. Bad breeze was referred to as a bad wind that would permanently let you stay in the mocking manner you were. Since children love mischief, parents made up this superstition to make sure they respected others.
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.
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. I don’t know why but growing up, there was nothing better than being without shoes or sandals. Heck, I even enjoyed playing soccer barefoot as I had better control of the ball. Adults always warned us about putting on shoes or sandals, but I think it was just because they wanted us to protect our feet from prickles and bruises.
Mind yuh turn mermaid pan Good Friday
When Easter came, school was out and everyone wanted to spend hot days at the river. But on Good Friday, no one was allowed to go to the river since you’d turn into a mermaid. This was ridiculous and I knew adults only said that because as Christians, Good Friday was meant to be a day to forego all pleasures and imitate the suffering and death of Christ.
No give and tek back, yuh wa ketch 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. Also, another way you could supposedly catch a piscuch was by watching dogs have sex or take a dump. (HAHA)
Now I’ll pass the baton, what are some superstitions you grew up with?