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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Students share superstitions

With Halloween just around the corner, people who believe black cats are bad luck may be having a hard time adjusting to the sudden appearance of decorations around town and at Halloween stores.

Many may think that superstitions are silly games people play or think about out of boredom. Yet some UC Davis students have their own superstitions through their own cultures, or even common Davis-specific superstitions.

“Knock on wood”

Once upon a time, gods were thought to have dwelled in the trees. If one needed any help, they’d knock once on a tree to say “help,” and the second time to say “thank you.” Now, if one says for example, “Oh, I’ve never failed a test, knock on wood,” (while knocking the table), the knocking is to prevent that statement from jinxing all future exams.

“Even after I knock on wood, I knock on my head,” said Jacqueline Hodaly, a senior community and regional development major. “Like, if I said ‘I’ve never gotten into a car accident’ and I say ‘knock on wood,’ I knock on wood and then I knock on my head. It’s like double caution.”


If one decides to present their significant other with flowers, be wary of the color. Don’t give someone yellow roses unless you’re cheating on them. In the French culture, giving a woman a yellow rose symbolizes infidelity in the relationship. Just stick to red; it looks and smells just as nice.

In French and Egyptian cultures, giving anyone a chrysanthemum, or any purple flower for that matter, is considered even more inappropriate than a yellow rose.

“It might have a factor of etiquette and superstition, but purple flowers are for dead people,” said Marlene Rizkallah, senior international relations major.

Davis superstitions

It is a common rumor that touching the egghead with its head in a book outside of the Peter J. Shields Library during finals week will bring you good luck during exams.

Perhaps started by Chris Perry or Scott Judson, former Aggie Pack MC’s, wearing an Aggie Pack t-shirt on exam day is said to help you do well on tests.

ASUCD President Joe Chatham suggests swimming in the Arboretum to get dates.

“Apparently, if you swim in the Arboretum after the first rain of the school year you will have excellent luck getting dates for the rests of the quarter,” Chatham said in an e-mail interview. “I haven’t tried because the Arboretum seems kind of unclean, but my friend Daniel tried after the giant storm last week and he got asked out two days later.”

Students’ superstitious habits

Some students have superstitious habits related to the outcome of sports teams’ competitions, like senior English major Caitlin Dextraze.

“When I used to do cheerleading, we all got underwear and had everyone on the team sign them. Then we wore them for every competition,” she said.

Others have adapted superstitious habits passed down from generations.

“My mother always told me that I should never put my purse on the ground because it’s bad luck and I will lose all my money,” said Elly Condos, a senior Spanish major.

“When I was younger, I never thought much of it, but after her persistent pleading to keep my purse off the ground, I now can’t bring myself to set it on the floor,” said Condos. “Sometimes I even tell other people who have placed their bags on the floor about the bad luck that can come from doing this.”

DINA MORCOS can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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