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             Are you superstitious? You may be more superstitious than you realize. Do you automatically say, "Bless you," when someone sneezes? Have you ever knocked on wood or avoided waling under a ladder? Do you view Friday the 13th with apprehension? What about engaging in such customs as birthday spankings, brides wearing wedding veils, or wearing black to funeral? All of these things are rooted in superstitions. .
             What is a superstition? A superstition is defined as "a belief founded on irrational feelings that do not have fact or reason to support them." Superstitions abound in all cultures throughout the world, and are as old as mankind. Many customs that we take for granted as being a normal part of our culture have evolved from superstitious beliefs of the past.
             For example, modern-day wedding ceremonies and traditions are filled with superstitious customs. Traditionally, for luck, modern brides wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. The rest of that good luck ritual used to include the phrase "and a sixpence for her shoe." The sixpence has been associated with weddings since the reign of Elizabeth I of England when it was customary to give the bride a sixpence as a wedding present. The custom of putting the sixpence in the bride's left shoe came about during the Victorian era. Supposedly, such action insured the couple would have good luck. Today, some brides still put a penny in their shoe for luck in addition to wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. The custom of a bride wearing a veil harks back to the days when arranged marriages were a common practice. The groom was not allowed to see the bride before the wedding took place, so the bride wore a veil to insure her privacy. This action was taken so the groom could not change his mind if he did not like the way his bride looked. The custom of the bridal veil is still practiced in modern society, though not for the same reason.