Pennsylvania German Superstitions

Rural Pennsylvania German farmers have always been superstitious bunch. It’s not for nothing that Punxsutawney Phil hails from Pennsylvania. The use of rodents for weather prognostication is just the tip of the Pennsylvania Dutch folklore iceberg.

 Pennsylvania Groundhog

Ordinary Fat Pennsylvania Groundhog

I thought I’d share a few more Pennsylvania Dutch superstitions. Fact is the Pennsylvania Dutch are known for more than just good food.

• Don’t take the cat with you on the day that you move; it’s very bad luck. Fetch her later.
• Open the windows in a room after someone has died so the soul can get out.
• Nail a toad’s foot over the barn door to keep the witches out.
• If you dream of milk it means you will fall in love.
• Sweep the house in the dark of the moon and you will never be plagued with spiders or moths.
• Spitting into a fire causes a toothache.
• Never plant peas or beans on the day that baking is done.
• To cure founder in horses from over feeding grain, pee on their hay before feeding.

• If a tree will not bear fruit drive nails into it.
• Don’t clean out cattle stalls or pens between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If you do witches will bother you.
• The number of snow storms during the winter is indicated by the number of days from the first snow in fall to the next full moon or to the first day of the following month.
• “A fat wife and a big barn never did a man any harm.”
• To drop a fork means a man will come for a visit; a knife means a woman.
• On Ground Hog’s Day short men should stay indoors if the weather is clear so as not to unduly tempt the forces of nature which control the balance of nature.

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