Is giving a knife bad luck?

Folklore, wives’ tales, myths and legends- some of us find them fascinating, while others dismiss them as bunk.

What about you? Do you throw salt over your shoulder when it’s spilled? How about- do you say, “God Bless You” when someone sneezes? Do you walk around the ladder? Do you ever- knock on wood? Or, think twice about getting out of bed on Friday, the 13th? OK then, what about feeling lucky when you find a horse shoe?

Did you know there is a superstition about giving knives?

Yes, let’s just call this bit of folklore- “Bad Luck.”

In a nutshell it goes like this- when you give a knife- you better also exchange something that can be considered a form of payment at the time of the gift, otherwise, the relationship of the giver and recipient will be severed.

You say you don’t buy it and think all these superstitions are a bunch of bunk? OK, no prob. Each is entitled to his own opinion on whether there is any truth to them or not.

But don’t forget to kiss your loved one at midnight this New Year’s Eve… wouldn’t you hate to miss out if this one is true?

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Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 10:07 am  Comments (5)  
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  1. I remember, years ago, a knife company included a penny in some of their knife sets, around the holidays.
    I’ve always heard to put a penny in with the gifted knife so that the recipient could give it back.
    Wouldn’t want to “Cut your friendship”.

  2. One of the members of the Case Collector’s Club posted this sampling of superstitions and myths when the subject came up there recently. Hopefully, others will enjoy it as much as I did.

    A knife as a gift from a lover means that the love will soon end.
    A knife placed under the bed during childbirth will ease the pain of labor.
    If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your the friendship will be cut.
    It will cause a quarrel if knives are crossed at the table.
    It is bad luck to close a pocketknife unless you were the one who opened it.
    Unless the are immediately straightened, crossed knives on a countertop or table indicate that an argument will ensue.
    In previous centuries a knife was a very personal possession, carried at all times by its owner and used for hunting and work as well as cutting food.
    A steel knife was regarded as being protection against fairies and curses.
    A house could be protected by a knife being thrust into the door.
    A baby protected by a knife stuck into the headboard of its cradle (certainly not a recommended practice now!)
    A knife could also be thrust into the mast of a boat for luck, although the word ‘knife’ was never spoken at sea.
    A knife falling to the ground means the arrival of a male visitor.
    A knife with a white handle could be used to divine whether the enquirer’s future spouse would be fair or dark. The knife was spun round, and if it came to rest with the handle pointing towards the enquirer, the spouse would be fair; if the blade pointed at them, the spouse would be dark. ”

    There’s a superstition in Ireland that if you give a knife away the new owner must draw his own blood with it willingly to avoid bad luck, I’ve also heard that if the receiver gives the old owner a silver coin it provides the new bearer with good luck as long as he carries the knife…there’s also the “luck penny” that is given at a time of exchange be it a knife or any other object.
    In Greece a black-handled knife placed under the pillow is used to keep away nightmares.

    This is probably only a start to the knife myths, legends and superstitions that exist, but you get the idea.

    • Great list, Elvis! Thanks for posting it, but to give it its proper emphasis, I’ll use it in a separate post. Just too good to be hidden as a ‘comment.’ 🙂 I’ll add this list to the list I have going and run it soon.

      Thanks and keep it coming!

  3. my art director just gave me a windproof lighter with a built in spring loaded little knife. one of those china things. i gave here a coin to keep the friendship and to dispell badluck. i’m a superstitious guy. better be safe than sorry. a few months before my editorial assistant gave me one too. gave her a coin also. it’s good to be the boss!

  4. I worked several years as a Tool and Die Maker for a cutlery manufacturer. I can assure you that the “penny for the edge” was a widely held superstition. There was never much explanation but everyone I knew observed it back then and I do now!


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