You’ve all heard them — the classic, age-old bits of “wisdom” your grandmother, mother, and aunt passed down to you from generation to generation. Here’s a tally of the five health myths and superstitions that plagued me throughout my childhood (and, to be honest, they still do).
1. Showering after eating will cause an embolism
I literally based my showers as a child and teenager around my food intake due to my grandmother’s insistence that I would get an “embolia” (embolism) if I showered right after eating. I gave up this fallacy in my late teens and my head didn’t explode. The initial belief probably stems from the rule of waiting 30 minutes between eating and getting into a pool.
2. You must eat 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve for good luck
According to this one, at exactly midnight you must eat 12 grapes for good luck throughout the year, one for every month. Obviously this just an excuse to consume some juicy sweetness on New Year’s eve, but there is joy in reflecting over your 12 hopes and dreams for the coming year with every bite. I like to say a wish with every grape.
3. Leaving the house with wet hair will make you sick
This one is similar to the saying, “Si planchaste no te mojes.” (Translation: If you were ironing, don’t go out in the rain. A superstition that if your body was hot from ironing, one should not expose it to cold rain or one was liable to get sick). Although I grew up avoiding ever leaving the house with wet hair, this one just isn’t true.
4. Itchy palms tell tales of money
If your left palm itches you are going to lose money. If the right itches, you will gain money. I wish!
5. Don’t stare at a baby or you will give it the evil eye.
This is why some Hispanic babies wear a pendant made of black onyx to ward off the evil eye. It’s not true, but fear of the evil eye runs rampant across many cultures with loads of protective jewelry items to guard against it.
Do you still hold true to any of these common age-old misconceptions?