Tuesday 16 May 2023

It's Bad Luck to Buy a Broom or Wash Blankets in May

Did you know it's supposed to be bad luck to buy a new broom or wash blankets in May?

I discovered this when I was doing some research for the online talk I'm giving on cleansing and protection magic this evening. I always try to make sure any talks or workshops I run are pertinent to the time of year so I looked into the folklore related to cleaning things in May.

Steve Roud in The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland points to an old Devon phrase: 

"Buy a broom in the month of May
Sweep one of the house away"

He doesn't know the reason behind the belief, but I wonder whether its actually based on something practical. Traditonally broom heads were often made from birch twigs or the broom plant, while the handle was made of a straight pole of wood. No plastic back in the day. It might be that trees are best coppiced or pruned earlier or later in the year, either before the sap rises or after birds have finished nesting.

Regarding blanket washing, Steve Roud quotes an Oxfordshire saying:

"Wash blankets in May
You'll soon be under clay"

He can't think of any practical reason behind this, and neither can I. I do have a sleeping bag that needs a clean at the moment. I'm not very superstitious but I might just wait until next month to give it a wash just in case. 

What do you think about either of these sayings?

(Note: I earn commission from advertisers for some links. This helps support my blog at no extra cost to those who read my posts.)

Previous related posts


Gerry said...

Regarding washing blankets in May, could this be a practical issue because it might be difficult to dry a heavy wet blanket? When you only had one blanket you needed to get it dry in one day or else you could catch a chill from sleeping under a damp blanket or, equally, from sleeping without a blanket?

Badwitch said...

Gerry, yes I wondered that myself. It can still be chilly in May - hence the saying "Shed not a clout til May be out"