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Superstition Bash

January 13, 2004

Sailors have attributed superstitions to almost all aspects of their work and life on the sea. One of the common traits of superstitious belief is that the subject matter of the superstition usually involves some uncertainty and because of our desire to feel secure, we create superstitions to account for all the possible outcomes, thereby minimizing our lack of control (or making us feel as though we have reduced the risk.) This concept can be seen most clearly in the sailing profession and is largely due to the uncontrollable weather that the sailors life and work is powerless before. The job, more so in the past than in the present and in the days of pirates, was a very dangerous one and the slightest mistake could spell disaster for all on board. To deter any type of dangerous action and behavior, superstitions could serve as a warning and therefore minimize future calamities. It also brought comfort to passengers and crew.

One of the most repeated verses that originates from a sailor superstition is below:

Red sky at night, sailor's delight
Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning

For sailors, it was lucky:

For sailors, it was unlucky:

Other sailing superstitions: