Муниципальное бюджетное общеобразовательное учреждение
лицей № 4 г.Данков Липецкой области
Лицейское научное общество « Синяя птица»
Конкурс исследовательских работ « Первые шаги в науку»
9 ж класс
МБОУ лицей № 4
учитель английского языка
WHAT IS “SUPERSTITION” ……………………………………………….…...4
THE COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF RUSSIAN AND BRITISH SUPERSTITION ……………………………………………………………..…………….….5
This work is devoted to comparison and studying Russian and English superstitions and beliefs, and also to their value in daily human life.
Theoretical and practical importance of this work is that material can be used at various lessons and lectures.
The purpose is the analysis of superstitions, and revealing the most widespread superstitions and studying the origin of them.
Hypothesis is the superstitions influence the life of a man
To give a definition of "superstition".
To compare Russian and English superstitions, to find similarities and distinctions.
To analyze the value of Russian and English superstitions.
To find a source of occurrence of superstitions.
The comparative analysis of English and Russian view of something supernatural.
Today superstition is a part of not only Russian but also British culture. Although superstition was more alive a hundred years ago, there are still superstitious people around, both young and old. Some people though, claim not to be superstitious, but it’s still a part of them.
“All superstitions have grown from something; there is no smoke without fire. Who was the first one to decide that opening an umbrella in a house is bad luck? Who smashed a mirror and spilled the salt?
Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, life was hazardous, and the central feature of day-to-day existence was a preoccupation with finding explanations for fortune and misfortune. Even though we are not searching for the same answer today, superstition is still with us.
For this research it was used a great number of scientific books, and also different Internet – sites (the encyclopaedia «Mythology of British isles» by K.Korolyova; the collection of national signs and superstitions «the Black cat with an empty bucket» by Е. G.Lebedev).
Research methods: a research method and a comparative method.
WHAT IS “SUPERSTITION”
Superstition (Latin “super” which means “above”, and “stare” which means to stand, literally “standing over” or “standing above”) is a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to supposedly irrational beliefs of others, and its precise meaning is therefore subjective. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices, surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings.
To medieval scholars the word was applied to beliefs outside of or in opposition to Christianity; today it is applied to conceptions without foundation in, or in contravention of, scientific and logical knowledge.
In the academic discipline of folkloristic, the term "superstition" is used to denote any culturally variable beliefs in a supernatural "reality". Depending on a given culture's belief, its superstitions may relate to things that are not fully understood or understood at all: such as cemeteries, animals, demons, a devil, deceased ancestors, the weather, gambling, sports, food, holidays, death, luck and spirits. (1) Urban legends are also sometimes classed as superstitions, especially if the moral of the legend is to justify fears about socially alien people or conditions.
In keeping with the Latin etymology of the word, religious believers have often seen other religions as superstitions. Likewise, atheists and agnostics may regard religious belief as superstition.
Religious practices are most likely to be labeled "superstitious" when they include belief in extraordinary events (miracles), an afterlife, supernatural interventions, apparitions or the efficacy of prayer, charms, incantations, the meaningfulness of omens, and prognostications.
Greek and Roman pagans, who modeled their relations with the gods on political and social terms, scorned the man who constantly trembled with fear at the thought of the gods, as a slave feared a cruel and capricious master. "Such fear of the gods ("deisidaimonia") was what the Romans meant by 'superstition'.
The Roman Catholic Church considers superstition sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in the divine providence of God and, as such, is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments. The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" say, superstition "in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion" The "Catechism" clearly dispels commonly held preconceptions or misunderstandings about Catholic doctrine relating to superstitious practices.
Some superstitions originated as religious rites that continued to observer by people who no longer adhere to the religion that gave birth to the rite. Often the rites lost their original meaning in this process. In other cases, the rites are adapted to the current religious of the rite. As an example, during the Christianizing of Europe, pagan symbols to ward off evil were replaced with the Christian cross.
THE COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF RUSSIAN
AND BRITISH SUPERSTITIONS.
There is a superstition: It is possible to see one’s own future in the tea leaves. When you make tea with tea leaves, like in “the old days”, you turn the tea cup upside down after having finished drinking it. Then wait until the water disappeared, look at the shape of the tea leaves. The first thing you see in the cup is a prediction of what will happen to you. To see a man means to have a visitor, to see a heart - future happiness. See two hearts - marriage, dots indicate money. If two women pour tea from the same tea cup, one of them will become pregnant within a year. In Russia, the most common is to use coffee instead of tea to known what will happen. When the cup of coffee is empty, you need to turn it upside down and you will see different pictures and figures which will tell you about your destiny.
Unlucky to open an umbrella in doors. Opening an umbrella indoors is said to result in 21 days of bad luck.The Russian superstition says that if you open an umbrella in the living room or bedroom it will be the reason of tears and crying.
Breaking a mirror gives 7 years of bad luck according to the Russian and British beliefs. The reason behind this belief is probably the old idea that a person’s soul is in their reflection, so if you broke the mirror, your soul will damage too. But there are some ways of making up for this bad luck. If you pick up all the pieces of broken mirror and throw them away into a river, then the misfortune will be “washed away”. It’s bad luck for two girls to look in one mirror, they will fall in love with one man and suffer.
The number thirteen is unlucky. Friday the thirteenth is a very unlucky day. Friday is considered to be an unlucky day because Jesus was crucified on a Friday. In England, there is no more ominous day, than Friday 13th. In the morning, many people wake up with an unpleasant presentiment and the whole «black Friday» they are afraid of the black cats, the broken mirror, spilt salt and oil. The feeling of horror, which covers citizens of Britain, is explainable. For example, some people lock their homes, switch off the phones and do not open the door, expecting when this day will pass. And still, people of the 21st century try to find any explanations for mystical things, whether your computer, printer or car is broken. Those who fear the numbers influence are suffering from “triskaidekaphobia”. Some people claim that the number is bad luck because 13 people sat down for the Last Supper before Jesus was crucified, and with this in mind few hosts will serve dinner with thirteen at the table. Also other interpreters confirm that exactly on Friday, Eva and Adam tasted a forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the same day Cain killed Abel. Friday the 13 of any month is very ill omened, and Friday the 13 of March is the worst of them all. Number 13 is a favorite number of Satanists. Friday the 13th, according to ancient beliefs, is connected with awakening of dark forces. 13 is called “baker’s dozen” and people try to avoid it. So, buildings have no 13th floors, airlines — flights with № 13. In planes and cinemas there are no seats with number 13. People do not do anything important on Friday: do not sail the ships, do not sign contracts. In the end of 18 century, this superstition was so strongly extended, that the English government decided to prove the absurdity of this sign. They constructed the ship, named it "Friday" and sailed on Friday. However, such is the irony of fate: the vessel together with a command was missing. As for Russia, there have one more day that means bad luck. It’s Monday. You cannot borrow money on Monday otherwise, you won’t have it back.
The number seven also has some superstition. It took God seven days to create the world, and any association with the number is lucky.
Lucky to find a clover plant with four leaves in Britain and a five-leaf flower in Russia. Legends claim that the four-leaf clover was the only thing Eve was able to bring with her when she was expelled from paradise. And if you find a lilac with five leaves you should make a wish and it will come true. Cattle are thought to graze best and grow fattest when feeding in a field of clover.
The horseshoe is possibly the most common good-luck symbol today. Some people put them on or above their front door. Horseshoes were made of iron and iron was supposed to give protection against witches, fairies and devils. There are two explanations to it. The first one says that the devil is doomed to rush about from one end to another. The second legend says that once a blacksmith decided to punish a devil and banned him to enter the house with a horseshoe. But the horseshoe needs to be the right way up. The luck runs out of the horseshoe if it is upside down.
It’s a bad luck to place your shoes on the table or on the bed. There is a strange tradition of throwing an old shoe after a person when he left their home. This is the way of wishing them good luck. But Russian say that it is bad luck to sit on the table because you will die soon.
Spilling salt is said to cause a fight or argument during the day. Often people will throw salt over their shoulder after they spill it, in order to blind the devil, who sits at your left shoulder. These superstitions are the same as in Russia.
When you encounter of bad luck, it is said that one should always knock on wood. This is an old Celtic tradition related to belief of wood spirits. Russian people also knock at their forehead and spit over the shoulder three times.
Before traveling a person should sit on their luggage.
In Britain, one of the best known days of the year is the 31th of October. The day of Halloween, a feast for the dead.
Do not to go hunting on Halloween night as you may injure a wandering spirit.
If you hear foot steps behind you on this night, don't look back. It may be the dead following you. If you do look behind you, you will die within the year.
It is best not to sit under a Hawthorn tree. If you do, you might become enchanted and carried away by the fairies.
Want to meet a witch? Put your clothes on inside out and go for a walk backwards.
When you begin a journey on Halloween, be sure to finish it before sunset or you may not reach your destination. If you cannot complete your journey, then be sure to carry a piece of bread sprinkled with salt in your pocket to ensure that witches will stay away.
Be sure to sprinkle salt and oatmeal on your child's head on Halloween night to keep them from being possessed.
In Russia this festival is not so common as in Britain. But there is another one which is the most popular - The Old New Year. Girls and boys usually put on their fancy dresses and go from house to house with boiled rice with raisin and honey. At midnight girls like to tell fortunes and to find out if they are married this year or not.
During the carried out research of the British and Russian superstitions we have defined the word "superstition", made the comparative analysis of English and Russian superstitions, found differences and similarities, the most common superstitions.
We have found out that depending on a given culture's belief, its superstitions may relate to things that are not fully understood or understood at all: such as cemeteries, animals, demons, a devil, deceased ancestors, the weather, gambling, sports, food, holidays, death, luck and spirits. Superstitions were divided into superstitions for good and bad luck.
Our research work shows that the most popular superstitions in Great Britain are a black cat, Friday 13th, a horseshoe and an umbrella. In Russia, the most popular beliefs are a black cat, a broken mirror.
To Russia and the Great Britain such superstitions as broken mirror, the number thirteen, to spill salt is a bad luck, to drop a knife or a fork – wait for visitors. The sparrow is a sign of death in both countries. Feathers of a peacock in the house – to failure. In addition, many wedding beliefs and superstitions are very similar in both countries.
Table № 1.
THE SIMILARITIES OF SUPERSTITIONS
IN RUSSIA AND IN ENGLAND
The subject of superstition
To broke a chicken bone
To share happiness with a partner
To share happiness with a partner
Dog rolling on the floor
Sit before going anywhere
Sparrow flies into the room
To meet a crow
To have peacocks’ feathers
Table № 2.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ENGLISH AND RUSSIAN SUPERSTITIOUS
To open an umbrella indoors
21 days of bad luck
A bad day
Clover plant with four leaves
A five-leaf flower of lilac
Shoes on the table
To sit on the table
To knock on the wood 3 times
Against evil eye
To spit over the shoulder three times
Against evil eye
A cat is sharpening its claws on a table leg
To see a spider in the house
To get a letter
To get new clothes
Uttering the word "Macbeth" in a theatre
To drop a scenario on the floor
1. www.english-globe.ru/index.php…- The Superstitions in Britain
2. www.activeenglish.ru/…superstitions-in-britain/ - Superstition in Britain.
3. fuv.hivolda.no/prosjekt/birteindresovde/ - Superstition in Britain.
4. www.token.ru/638.shtml - Черный кот. Народные приметы.
5. www.ramnek.ru/eng/The superstitionBritain.html – English Topics. The Superstitions in Britain.
6. www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs - British Superstitions.
7. http:// www.en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/10720367 - Энциклопедический словарь.
8. http:// www.neptun8.ru/Literature/pyatnica13.html
9. http://www.squidoo.com/halloween-superstitions - Halloween Superstitions.
10. http://londomania.ru/?issue_id=119&id=145 – Английские праздники.
11. Лебедева Е.Г. – Черный кот с пустым ведром. Народные приметы и суеверия. – 2006.
12. Мезенцев В. А. М44 О суевериях — всерьез.— М.: Сов. Россия, 1989.— 240с.
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