Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Knock on Wood"

How did the expression "knock on wood" come about?

KNOCK ON WOOD: There are several theories about the origin of this very common practice. One goes back to the child's game of `tag.' In one version of this game the child who is able to touch a tree, thereby touching wood, is free from capture.

Then there is a Biblical theory that the wood symbolizes the cross on which Christ was crucified. In Galatians (6:14) we find `But God forbid that I should glory, save the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' The theory here is that if you have made an exaggerated boast you will be forgiven if you turn your thoughts to the Cross.

Still another notion is that `knocking on wood' goes far back into ancient times, when spirits were thought to live in trees. So should danger threaten, simply rap on the trunk of a tree and summon up the aid of the good spirit within.

There is an Irish belief that you `knock on wood' to let the leprechauns know that you are thanking them for a bit of good luck.

A Jewish version says it originated during the Spanish Inquisition under Torquemada during the 1490s. During that time Jews were in flight and since temples and synagogues were built of wood, they evolved a code to use in knocking on doors to gain admission. Since this resulted in lives being saved, it became commonplace to `knock on wood' for good luck.

Take your choice of these five theories - but be sure to `knock on wood' so you will pick the right one.

1 comment:

Spencer Littlewood said...

Now thats an original and interesting post that is most definitely related to amulets and the thought behind elemental beings "sing sathit" in Thai, meaning 'inhabiting entity').

I used to have a habit of touching wood when i was a kid every time i thought something unlucky. I think the Buddha was right when he said that there is nothing under heaven and earth whcih does not spring from the mind itself. Even the sounds we hear are simulations reproduced by our brains. Sounds only exist if you have an ear and a brain and a Vinyana to combine object, perception and consciousness through the fourth element of Sangkhara which is the conditioned image we recieve when percieving. Magic also comes from Mind. The Mind has great power, but the minds owners (us) sometimes dont believe in that power enough so we tell ourself that this amulet or this spell will protect us. Trhe real power comes through our faith (mind)