Yesterday I saw a lovely lady about to purchase an umbrella. To my horror ... and before I could get to her - she opened it inside! I quickly informed her of the bad luck of her actions and she closed it rather confusedly. It was a funny moment when I realized that we didn't speak the same language ... in more than one way! But the message got across and we laughed. She had never heard of the superstition and I told her not to worry, that she would of course be okay. (I felt sure the gods would smile on her since she hadn't been aware of her transgression!)
But it got me to thinking...where did this superstition come from? While I found some reference to parasols being used in ancient Egypt for protection from the sun, and the anger Ra would feel if they were opened indoors (being a Sun God and all) - I think it is more likely to have stemmed from Merrie Old England.
In London (an indisputably wet town), in the 18th century, the umbrellas were very large, of heavy construction and with seriously serious metal spokes. When these unwieldy beauties opened ... WATCH OUT!! They could cause injuries to anyone standing too close ... not to mention knocking over items in small hallways before they could be safely closed.
The fairies in Meadow Sweet Grove inform me that they have witnessed the damage opening an umbrella in their small abodes can cause. They tend to avoid the practice.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
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Folklore & Magic Archives