When you are given a knife, it is appropriate (some believe required) to respond by giving a penny or the smallest coin in your wallet to the person giving you the knife. This act is cross cultural and practiced throughout Europe and Asia. The penny serves several purposes. It becomes a symbolic transaction, making the passing of the knife a purchase rather than a gift. It is believed the exchange of money eliminates bad omens and keeps the friendship between giver and receiver from ever being cut or severed. Some also believe the penny protects the owner from ever cutting themselves, or at least, from ever cutting themselves badly.
Some knife superstitions which may surprise you:
- Receiving a knife as a gift from a lover, or gifting a knife to a newlywed couple, means that the love will soon end.
- A knife placed under the bed during childbirth some say, eases the pain of labor.
- Fights and disagreements will happen if knives are crossed at the table.
- Always hand a knife back the person who handed it to you, in the same manner. If it is handed to you open, return it open, if you receive it closed- return it closed. Doing otherwise is bad luck.
- Stirring powder or liquids with a knife causes problems. There is a an old rhyme which says, “Stir with a knife, stir up strife”.
- Some cultures believe a knife doesn’t belong to you until it has bitten you, or drawn blood. Believers in this superstition have been known to intentionally prick a finger on the blade rather than risk a later, accidental cut. It’s also thought that the knife will stay sharp longer and is less likely to accidentally cut its owner once it has tasted his or her blood.
- In some parts of America, it is considered bad luck to sharpen a knife, or any blade, after dark.
Determining if knife superstition is fact or fiction is really up to you. Let’s hope whatever your conclusion, it is right.