Superstitions | Folklore of Trinidad and Tobago

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The Taino Indians (original inhabitants of the islands of the Caribbean), African, East Indian Panyol, Portuguese and a host of other people have added to the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago. We are a very interesting society and one that abounds with superstitious beliefs. Those beliefs were rampant in the early years when lighted streets were only available in the 'well to do" areas but may still exist in the country districts. I have gathered a few for this post; I hope you enjoy reading them.

In Trinidad and Tobago if you get your feet swept, especially with a cocoyea broom,  then your chances of getting married are poor. Then again you may end up with a really ugly spouse who may have you totally whipped!  I always got in the way of my mother when she cleaned the house. I had my feet swept countless times. Did it work? Well, it looked like the opposite happened to me. I am sure  it had to do with the corn brooms that we used at home... damn!
This one always had me on edge as a child. If you don’t want Jumbies to follow you home make sure and enter your home walking backwards. I don’t know much about this because I never encountered a Jumbie other that the Moko Jumbies on Carnival day. Do they count? I guess that does not count but I have a very superstitious sister-in-law who really believes in this one... Hmmm?
Umbrellas, you should never open one indoors because my friend standing next to you will be figure that you can’t see but its weight will bog you down. Of course if you did not guess by now a Jumbie will be standing next to you under the umbrella.
Oh yes this one is a classic, one must never pick up money that you find in the road especially copper coins. I remember when I was a kid hearing the story of the girl who got copper pox because she picked up money that had an evil spell cast into it – she died.
Do you remember owning all those pot hounds as a child? Those barking dogs at nights were not howling or barking because you forgot to feed them earlier that night but because they were scared and were seeing things that the human eye could not! Well if your dog barks at night and does not want to stop and you don’t see anything  then it is a guarantee that the dog is seeing a spirit.
Now are you adventurous? If you want to see a spirit then take the crust (yampee) from the dog’s eye and put it in yours then at twelve midnight peep through a key hole and you will see douens and other spirits.
If your left palm is itching (scratching) you then you will get money but if it is the right hand then chances are that you will loose some cash very soon.
If, for no reason, you bite your tongue then someone is talking ill of you.
If a family member dies then it is very important that you cover all the mirrors in the house with a black cloth to avoid seeing them in the mirror. I bet you missed the black bird that was warning you of the impending death warrant that was signed and delivered to your home. That black bird was not hungry for food just a soul whose time was about to expire!
If you have a business and you swept the floors and the dust out the door after 6:00 pm then you committed the unforgivable act of  sweeping all of your money away.
If your second toe is longer than your big toe then you will rule your husband.  Will I guess this is an alternative to the widows peak...

Never complain that a child is heavy because only dead people are 'heavy'. Well that is the way it was back in the day. I did not come up with that... it is the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago. 
The list of superstitious beliefs in Trinidad and Tobago is a very long one indeed. These are just a few of the ones that I can recall. Please check the Folklore category on the right side of this blog for a three part series I did on the Folklore of our beloved country. This list is but a short overview of many tales told to us when we were children. The times were different and we believed them when  sitting and listening next to our brothers and sisters in a room that was lit by a kerosene lamp. Electricity and television brought about change and going outside at nights were not as bad with electrical lights compared to the days of using a pitch-oil lit  flambeau!

I will continue with this list after speaking to my friends and family members in the homeland. So until we meet again … "What dey saw, dey say" in sweet Trinidad and Tobago | Côté ci Côté là!

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