During the Elizabethan Era, alongside the scientific development originated superstitions. The historians opine during the Celtic era, the tradition of making medicines was handed over to women, i.e., the priestesses. The wise old women of the Elizabethan era were identified as witches and their medicines as magic potions. To know the interesting superstitions of the Elizabethan era read on…
The superstitions that originated during the Elizabethan era were based on various beliefs and traditions. The historians opine that many of the traditional English customs were based on the myths and superstitions that date back to the Dark Ages. Ignorance and fear of the unknown often resulted in many superstitions during the Elizabethan era. Fear of the forces of nature coupled with a fear of the supernatural resulted in the belief in superstitions during the Elizabethan period.
Witches of the Elizabethan Era
Superstitions and belief in witches and witchcraft were at their height during the Elizabethan period. People believed in the supernatural ability of the witches and this led to the development of many superstitions during this period. It was women who were mostly associated with witchcraft. During the Elizabethan era, around 247 women were put under trial for witchcraft. People blamed unpleasant events such as the bubonic plague, crop failures, bad harvest, and death of animals and so on as the handiwork of the witches. A witch had an image of an old crooked woman who kept pets such as black cats, wolves, snarling dogs and blackbirds for company.
Superstitions of the Elizabethan Era
Some of the superstitions that affected the daily lives of the Elizabethans are given below.
* Elizabethans believed witches could fly and they could reach impossible distances using a broomstick. (A broomstick was one of the commonly used household items by women.)
*The Elizabethans considered an eclipse as an evil omen.
*It was during the Elizabethan era the saying "God Bless You" following a sneeze originated. The Elizabethans used this saying to ward off the devil that could enter the body when one opens his/her mouth to sneeze.
*The Elizabethans believed a black cat crossing your path would cause a mishap. (This could be because the color black was associated with evil and cat was considered as a witch’s pet.)
*They also believed that the "seventh son of a seventh son" possessed supernatural powers.
*You would see a vision of your future husband by pinning bay leaves to your pillow on the eve of St Valentine’s Day.
*The saying "Knock on Wood" to prevent the evil eye was one of the superstitions that had originated during the Elizabethan era.