Knives have a long history all over the world. They are an essential tool for preparing our food and defending our families. With a long history, it only makes sense there would be some interesting folklore and myths about knife ownership, use, and gifting them to one another.
We’ve gathered together 4 of the most popular knife traditions so we can take a closer look at why they were created and what they mean. Follow along as we bust some old knife superstitions.
1. Is It Bad Luck to Give a Knife As a Gift?
Yes, gifting knives is bad luck. It depends if this is a culturally relevant superstition to you or not. The reason this knife gift superstition exists is that a knife is seen as a symbol for severing a friendship or relationship. If you believe in superstitions, then the answer to is it bad luck to give knives as a gift is yes.
The worst-case scenario for the knife gifting is to celebrate a wedding. According to folklore, this will severe the marriage between the two individuals. You can gift a pocket knife, but only if it is closed. This way, you can avoid any conflict or arguments that would occur if the pocket knife was open.
You especially do not want to gift a knife after a death in the family because the blade would be considered stabbing the soul of the dead.
Etiquette when giving a knife as a gift
The way around this superstition is to give a penny with a knife. You can do this by taping the coin to the side of the blade or placing it along the blade inside of the packaging.
The point when you give a coin with a knife is so the recipient of the blade can immediately give you the penny back. This represents that they are ceremoniously paying for the knife, which negates any bad feelings or potential injuries because it has been purchased and not gifted.
2. What Does It Mean When You Drop a Knife?
Dropping a knife means someone is coming to visit your home. This is pretty interesting because the “who” and “where” of your potential visitor depend on what you dropped and in what direction. For example, a knife on the floor drop will bring a man. If the knife points to the back door of your home, it means the guest is unwelcome. If the knife is pointing to the front door, it is someone you are excited to see.
The superstition changes according to the type of silverware dropped. A fork represents a woman and a spoon a child. The more frequently you drop the silverware, the quicker the visitor should be expected. If you try and drop the knife on purpose, that doesn’t count.
There are regional differences in this superstition. In Iceland, they believe if a knife is dropped while cleaning a fish and the knife points to the sea, you can expect a good haul on your next trip. On the other hand, if it points to the land, you may not catch as much fish.
3. Is It OK to Give Knives As a Wedding Gift?
No! As we mentioned before, this is a big problem because it means the marriage will be severed in the future. The knife’s wedding gift bad luck extends to other sharp implements as well. You would want to avoid scissors or other types of blades as wedding gifts. The whole idea is to avoid cutting off one partner from the other.
The way to avoid the bad karma or superstition coming true is to include a penny with your knife gift as payment. If you are worried about gifting a knife to a newlywed couple, be sure to check their registry. That will give you a good indication if they follow the superstition or not based on whether they have knives as a gift option.
Or better – DON’T gift a knife as a wedding gift.
4. Is It Bad Luck to Hand Someone an Open Knife?
It is bad luck! Like the pocket knife scenario, you are setting the stage for a bad fight according to the handing knife superstition. This does not just mean gifting. Handing a knife to someone’s superstition revolves around the idea that you are being confrontational and intend to get into a fight or heavy argument with the other person.
The proper etiquette is to hand someone a knife that is closed or to put it on a table to take from. If you do give it to them opened, they should return it to you open as well to avoid bad luck and vice versa.
5. Why do people put their knives away on Halloween?
Knives are hidden away during Halloween festivities, so spirits or upset souls cannot be harmed as they come back to our world. It is a tradition primarily in Germany, where modern Halloween, as known in western cultures, only began around 1991.
Halloween is known as All Soul’s Week in Germany and runs between October 30 and November 8. By hiding the knives, you prevent harm from any of the souls that with so visit or return to the land of the living.
Knife superstitions and traditions began long before most of us ever picked up our first fillet knife or cleaver. Even though they may come from a deep history of places most of us have never been, they continue from the people that believe the superstitions and make their way into popular culture all the time. The final choice is entirely up to you whether or not you will believe in knife superstitions.