Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Knocking On Wood

Ever been with someone or a group of friends and you or someone else says " I hope the Red Sox don't lose tonight?" or "I have not broken a bone yet?" and you knock on wood? Why do we rush and find the nearest piece of wood to knock our knuckles against?

Knocking on wood or touching wood supposedly will block off bad spirits or luck towards you and basically are tempting fate. There is no clear origin on where this old myth has originated from but there are numerous suggestions on how this superstition arose. Most say that it began over in Europe a few hundred years ago where they believed their gods or even mythical creatures such as fairies and leprechans lived in trees. People would communicate with them through the trees for good fortune. In some Chinese and Korean cultures, it is believed when the mother who is giving birth passes away, her spirit lives in the trees. There are even beliefs going as far back as to Greek mythology where Zeus believed that the oak was sacred.

There are stories about touching wood that have originated through religion as well. In Christianity their followers believe that the wooden cross is a symbol of good luck. Even in the Jewish religion during the Spanish Inquistion, people of Jewish faith fled to built wooden synagogues and had to knock to enter to remain safe and sound.

Even children's play games have origin about the touching of wood. The commmon game of tag, children will seek safety by touching a nearby tree for safety from being "it".There is even places where they sell touch rings (shown above) so when you are looking around to knock on some wood for luck, you do not need to. Whatever your reasoning is to knock or touch wood for good luck, there is a reason why we do it. The answer to why may be hard to research or investigate but as long as it keeps bringing you good luck in your life why question it?



  1. I'm glad you posted about this. I always Knock on wood at least once a day but I never knew the origin behind it!

  2. I agree with Ashley. I constantly find myself telling others to "knock on wood" or knock on wood myself. I didn't know the origin behind it either, but it is interesting to know that one of the main stories behind it involves leprechauns and fairies. Reading that made me laugh.