Since bread has been such an important food throughout history, there are a ton of myths and superstitions related to it. It is, after all, the “staff of life.” Superstitions cover what it’s good for, what you should do with it for good luck, what you not do with it, etc. For example, do carry a piece of bread in your pocket, to bring good luck. That is not surprising, since there is a never-ending list of things that are good luck if you carry them in your pocket.
In fact, I am beginning to think that pockets were made for carrying good luck charms! And, to prevent bad luck, you should not sing while baking bread, and you should not take the last piece of bread. The list goes on and on. I came across an interesting superstition, however, related to bread and butter, which can be recounted in a short post.
As you well know, once you put butter on bread, it cannot be removed. In other words, bread and butter, once joined, cannot be separated. The inseparable nature of bread and its most favored topping, therefore, is the source of a good luck charm, helped along, of course, by the general goodness of bread.
First, to understand how the “Bread and Butter” charm works, we have to discuss a couple of superstitions it is related to. One such superstition says that if two people are walking together, and become separated by an object, or a person, they will both have bad luck.
So, for instance, it is bad luck for two people to pass on opposite sides of an object. Sometimes, specifically, we are advised not to let a dog walk in between us. Something “coming between” two people is also a way of saying that they are having a disagreement or quarrel. Enter bread and butter. Should two people walking together become separated by an object, person, or, specifically, a dog, they should say “Bread and Butter” together, and this will prevent bad luck. Likewise, if two people are quarreling, saying “Bread and Butter” will protect the friendship.
Sometimes, the additional measure of crossing your fingers while saying bread and butter is added. Or, you can make a cross shape on the ground with your foot.
You know that walking under a ladder is bad luck. Fortunately, the bread and butter charm works for that, as well. And, walking over a cellar door is bad luck. Bet you didn’t know that! Say bread and butter to prevent bad luck in that case, too.
As a bonus, and to make sure lady luck stays with you, I have one other way to use the bread and butter charm. When you “knock on wood” (three times, mind you) to prevent bad luck, perhaps after you’ve boasted of good fortune, saying “Bread and Butter” will reinforce it. You know, since it will keep your good luck from being separated from you.