Those Old Latin Superstitions: Are They True?

Posted: Apr 22 2014

-Barbara Alvarez

“Se hacen limpias. Se cura de empacho.” These sentences mean cleansings and curing indigestion. When you go south of the border into Mexico, you’ll see these signs everywhere, but what is the meaning behind them? Well, they’re related to common myths or mitos. Let’s look at several of these mitos. I can tell you that Mexicans believe in these myths because they knew someone to whom something bad had happened because of something they had done. In other words, the power of suggestion.

√ If you go outside after eating too much, you can suffer from facial paralysis. This one is interesting. It’s more likely that someone began to show symptoms of Bell’s palsy. Eating, then going outside were just coincidences.

√ Going outside into sudden cold makes you go blind. This one reminds me of what my significant other tells me: “Don’t go outside into the cold after taking a shower because you’ll get sick.” Again, this is only a mito. Neither one of them is true – my son pushes his luck all the time going out into a cold night after taking a shower.

√ If you cut a baby’s fingernails before they reach their first birthday, they will have imperfect eyesight. What? If they don’t get their nails trimmed regularly, they’re more likely to put their eyes out with those long nails!

√ If an expectant mama goes out when it’s a full moon, then the moon will eat her baby’s face. The baby will be born with a cleft palate. Wow, this is the first time I’ve heard of this one! That means that a lot of pregnant mamas have to stay inside during the full moon. Nah.

√ Don’t sweep dirt out of your house. You’ll sweep out good luck with the dirt. Heaven knows I need good fortune, but I hate dirty floors! I’ll take my chances.

√ Eat chocolate if a scorpion stings you. Delicious remedia, but I think I’d rather go see the doctor for painkillers.

√ Ironing clothes, then washing your hands after means you’ll get arthritis. Hmmm. I can’t see the connection.

√ If a baby is admired, but not touched, they can be affected by el mal de ojo. (The evil eye.) This mito says the baby gets sick with fever and cries inconsolably. A raw egg has to be passed over the baby, then disposed of in a glass of water to “expose the evil.” To me, babies are just too cute not to hold and love.

√ La mal sal. Here, putting the saltshaker into someone’s hand means your bad luck is passed onto someone else. Instead, the salt has to be put on the table before someone else picks it up. This breaks the spell. Ehhh, I don’t know, but then...

√ Hold onto your purse or you’re giving your money away. Huh, and here I thought I was just holding onto my purse so dirt and germs wouldn’t get onto it.

√ Ringing or buzzing hear means someone is talking about you. Yep, I’ve heard this one. *Sticks fingers in ears• When it’s the right ear, this is for good talk. If it’s the left ear, someone’s saying bad things about you. If your left ear is buzzing, bite your tongue. Maybe the person talking about you will bite their own tongue. Yeah, I was a kid when I heard about this. Maybe people are saying good and bad things about me all the time, because I have tinnitus!

I don’t know if you’ve heard about these mitos or not. I’ve heard of a few. They’re interesting, that’s for sure!

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