Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Red Sky at Night by Vernon Oickle

Red Sky at Night by Vernon Oickle

Completion Date: March 6, 2012
Reason for Reading: Fun!
Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning; red sky at night, sailor''s delight." Atlantic Canadian tradition holds that such warnings be taken seriously. And with good reason; lives often hang in the balance. Sailors aren't alone in seeing in the world a connectedness that is often lost in the modern world. In Atlantic Canada, thankfully such beliefs still play a role in everyday life. This is a collection of many of those age-old beliefs from the region's best and most eclectic compiler of folklore. 
We also get well known Atlantic Canadians to weigh in with some of their superstitions. Gemini award winning actor and writer and star of the hit comedy This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Cathy Jones recalls many of the “old sayings" from her childhood. Author Allan Lynch remembers home remedies administered by his parents, aunts and grandparents. Former NHLer Glen Murray talks about the superstitions of the game. And singer/songwriters Dave Gunning, Joel Plaskett, Terry Kelly and Rita MacNeil all admit to being just a little bit superstitious. From Nancy Regan, meteorologist Peter Coade, movie reviewer Richard Crouse, and Bluenose II Captain Philip Watson, they are all here.
This book was a lot of fun! It was a great representation of the culture of this area. I enjoyed the experience and sharing random quotes with others. My big beef, though, is the editing. It was terrible. There were typos, sentences that did not make sense, etc. This is a library copy and someone along the way crossed out words that shouldn't be there and added in others. So, I was a bit disappointed, but I am so happy to have read it and strongly recommend it to others.

Instead of rambling I am just going to share some of the things from the book.

One crow sorrow
Two crows joy
Three crows letter (or girl)
Four crows a boy
Five crows silver
Six crows gold
Seven crows a secret, yet to be told.
Eight crows for a wish.
Nine crows for a kiss.
Ten crows for a time of joyous bliss. 
(Page 19)

  • It is also said that February  29 is the only time of the year when it is permitted for a woman to propose marriage to a man. It is bad luck for the man to say no. (Page 26)
I was born on a Wednesday and apparently the day of the week you are born determines the kind of person you are. That means:
Blue brings you good luck.
You tend to get along well with other people.
You do not like to argue.
(Page 27)
  • It is unlucky to get dressed by putting on your shirt with the left arm first. This left first holds true for pants and shoes. Always start with the right side of your body to ensure that you have a good day. (Page 36)
  • Put a hand in front of your month when sneezing. Your soul may escape otherwise. (Page 37)
  • If your left ear itches, it is said that someone is saying something bad about you. Conversely, if the right ear itches, then it is believed that someone is saying something good about you. (Page 43)
  • If you cannot make a good fire, you will not get a good husband. (Page 46)
  • Two lovers will never agree after their marriage if both wipe their faces on the same towel. (Page 57)
Want to hear more? Pick-up a copy of the book and be prepared to be entertained!

What are some superstitions that you believe in or remember hearing about over and over again?


I didn't really think I was all that superstitious, but when my aunt got married they hung the rosary on the clothesline to improve the chance of no rain. (It started off the day raining but stopped for the wedding. According to this book it is more common in Cape Breton.) When we were kids we always used to say how stepping on a crack (in the side walk) would break your mothers back. And, how many people consider a penny that you pick up on the ground as lucky? Not to mention the saying the title of the book comes from: 'Red Sky at Night, sailors delight. Read sky in the morning, sailors take warning'. It is fun to think about!

32 comments:

  1. I was probably seventeen or eighteen before I quit instinctively avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk.

    It's interesting that putting your left arm in first gives you bad luck. I'm pretty sure I always start with the left. I'll have to make a conscious effort to reverse the process!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually think I still avoid the cracks in the sidewalk... It's a habit.

      I think I do right first. I will have to pay attention next time I get dressed!

      Delete
  2. I think I will read this in hopes of it bringing me good luck in the form of a trip to Atlantic Canada. There's so much more I want to see in that region of the world and many places I'd like to revisit. I think it will work if I hold the book in my right hand! And maybe I'll play Big Sea in the background. It's worth a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea! There are lots of wonderful places to explore. :)

      Delete
  3. This book sound like fun. My family had quite a few superstitions that I now think were very silly. Like if you pull out and eye lash you have to spit three times before you do it. Not really spit but make the sound like your spitting. My mom never told me what would happen if I didn't but I have done it as an adult without the spitting and I haven't lost my sight or anything yet. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha. Yes, that one was in there, actually. They say Atlantic Canadian, but obviously some of them are more far-reaching. I think the Atlantic Canadian comes up more in the obsession with boats and the sea.

      Delete
  4. Despite the typos, it sounds like a fun book. One of my grandfathers was very superstitious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fun. I was disappointed it was edited better, though.

      Delete
  5. That does sound like a fun book - too bad the editing was poor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it was really too bad.

      Delete
  6. The typos would drive me nuts, but it still sounds like a fun book. My mother always said that if your ears are ringing, someone is talking about you. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard people say that, too. I have problems with my ears, so I must be quite the topic of conversation!

      Delete
  7. I hung a rosary on the clothesline the day before I was married! So, yes, it's a Cape Breton thing. I'm not Catholic either, but the hubs is. My sister-in-law told me I should do it. It worked! It was a gorgeous wedding day.

    I'll have to look for this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read that in the book and I thought, yep, that is very true and still followed today. :) I am glad it lead to sunshine for you!

      Delete
  8. You are correct this does look like a fun read. I come from a superstitious family as well. One superstition is blowing an eye will bring you luck. Or maybe If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn you will not catch a cold all winter, (this never work for me.) LOL

    I will have to check this book out and see if my library has it in stock.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, actually, it is probably because people were blowing their germs in your eyes. The leaf couldn't counteract it. :)

      Delete
  9. "It is unlucky to get dressed by putting on your shirt with the left arm first. This left first holds true for pants and shoes. Always start with the right side of your body to ensure that you have a good day."
    - I thought about this one and I am pretty sure I always start with the right side. Guess I am on the right track lol

    "Put a hand in front of your month when sneezing. Your soul may escape otherwise."
    - or germs that may get other people sick, just sayin' :)

    "Two lovers will never agree after their marriage if both wipe their faces on the same towel."
    - Good thing I stay away from his towels!

    I really want to read this because it sounds fun. However, the lack of editing makes me nervous. Stuff like that drives me insane! That being said, I'd still like to attempt this book.

    "If you cannot make a good fire, you will not get a good husband."
    - Brian knows nothing about my fire making skills (or lack thereof) guess I better keep it that way! ;P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha, yeah, no one knows about my fire making skills either. If I don't have to make one no one will ever have to know! lol The editing was annoying, but someone fixed the mistakes in my copy...

      Delete
  10. Um weird. Somehow my last comment and one of the quotes got switched around! Maybe it's the curse of the book's bad editing haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I saw that when it came in my email and thought it was strange.

      Delete
  11. Sounds like a fun book. It's a shame the editing was so bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Really too bad.

      Delete
  12. How interesting! Sounds like it could have had some real potential!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am glad this book is as fun as it sounds. I love the cover art.

    I don't consider myself all that superstitious, but I do have my rituals--so perhaps I'm more so than I realize!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the cover art, too!

      Delete
  14. This sounds so fun! My parents are weirdly superstitious because they are Indian. We are not supposed to cut our hair on Mondays (or maybe Tuesdays?), sweep after dark, cut our nails after dark or pass salt directly into someone else's hand. I generally follow a lot of those just through habit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some variation of these were in the book, actually. It seems to be universal. :)

      Delete
  15. I love the idea of the book … too bad it needed some better editing. Still, I might have to check it out! I always repeat that "Red Sky At Night…" saying to myself when I see a red sky at night!

    ReplyDelete
  16. this does sound like a fun book. love the sayings. I'm curious how they came about...

    ~L (omphaloskepsis)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It didn't really elaborate too much on the origins always.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

I am so sorry, but I turned anonymous commenting off. I have had it from the very beginning, but that is how the spam is getting by my spam filter at the moment. If it is a big deal I will turn it back on and moderate all comments. I also changed moderation from older than 14 days to older than 7.