A little fun fact about me is that I was born in Gonaives, Haiti. I wasn’t in Haiti for too long before moving to Florida but the cultural influence was definitely there because of my parents. From the language they spoke, to the food I ate, I grew up in my own little world of Haiti. The most distinct thing I could remember was growing up and hearing my mom or dad reference a few superstitions that got me worried. They were planted so tight into my emotions that I dared not practice these things when I got older.
1. Never announce the gender of your newborn child—This bugged me as I was growing up. My parents were so superstitious about telling me, thinking that someone would come and snatch the baby boy or girl and kill the child. My mom had 7 kids after me so you can only imagine how frustrating this was for me.
2. Don’t walk over someone who is lying down—This one is pretty popular. If I or anyone for that matter ever cross over my parents while they were lying down on the floor, my parents would tell you to go back over them. They believed that whenever someone jumps over you that this was preventing them from growing.
3. If you eat things that are made in a pair you increase your chances of having twins—My mom is a big advocate of this superstition in particular. My grandma had 3 sets of twins and it skipped my mom’s generation. So, my mom thinks that because her generation didn’t have twins that this means one of us (her children) will more than likely have a set of twins. Whenever she would buy food, if the strawberries were stuck together in a pair she would immediately run to me and tell me to eat the strawberries as if it had some magical power to bless or multiply my chances of conceiving twins.
4. Don’t scratch your skin while craving during your pregnancy—If you are craving something and don’t get it you might leave a piece of “birth” mark on your child. Scratching the skin while pregnant can leave a reminder on your child’s skin that you were craving something in particular. My mom has this black mark on her back and she says it’s because while her mother was pregnant with her she was craving pork skins. But because my grandma was scratching her back during her craving moment she left this black pork skin mark on my mother’s back.
5. If you sweep a broom near a person’s feet they will not get married—I didn’t learn this one until I was hanging with a Haitian friend of mine and her husband who isn’t Haitian was sweeping the house. As he was sweeping, he swept the edge of my foot and my friend made mention of this superstition.
6. If you let your newborn cry out during the night, zombies will snatch their spirit and kill them—It was not until I was at an understanding age my mom wouldn’t stop rehearsing the story how I survived the “zombie snatching nights.” It is believed that if you let your newborn cry out in the middle of the night in Haiti, zombies will snatch his/her crying soul and use it.
7. If you play with your shadow it will hunt you—I used to play with my shadow all the time. When I was younger I would try to create puppets, run from it or even try to grab it. My parents caught me doing this one day and told me to never ever play with it again. I didn’t take them seriously so I continued to play with my shadow. I got caught again and it was then that my dad told me if I kept playing with my shadow that it would hunt me for the rest of my life.
8. If you throw your shedding hair down the toilet your hair will grow faster—I never believed this one, for long. I mean, how can the toilet water cause the follicles on my scalp to grow an inch or two longer? I, as a young naïve teenage girl, did believe it for a good year or two and then stopped believing when I noticed my hair wasn’t growing more than it already had been.
Growing up heavily influenced by all of these things, it’s hard for you to sort through what makes sense and what doesn’t, especially when these things permeate through the culture where hearing anything of the like is believed without even a second thought. Praise God for His Grace in giving us discernment and wisdom