Knock, knock, knock: Knocking on wood three times
Superstition and gambling goes hand-in-hand just like a pot and a lid, light and shadow or Wunderino and ultimate gaming fun. That’s why today we have once again dug out a very special superstitious idiom for you, whose meaning and origin we will get to the bottom of together. Knocking on wood (three times). Everyone has probably heard this sentence before, since it is deeply rooted in our everyday language.
Why do we knock on wood?
In many cultures, you knock on wood three times to keep misfortune, accidents or illness away. When someone knocks on wood, they also want to seal the happiness they have, hoping that it will last as long as possible. The words "I knock on wood" are often followed by a symbolic gesture of tapping three times on a nearby wooden surface. Somehow logical, isn’t it? But where does this saying and the superstition associated with it come from?
Where does the superstitious idiom come from? – The four most credible theories
The secret of the phrase "Knocking on wood" is not so easy to unravel, as there are many different explanations of its origin. We have selected the most exciting and most credible theories for you to read through.
- The first theory takes us back to the Middle Ages. A time in which the church had enormous power and could determine the life of the population. In medieval Christianity wood was strongly associated with the cross of Jesus Christ. The church took advantage of this existing association to sell ordinary pieces of wood for high prices to the poor population by claiming that they were parts of the Jesus Cross. The deceived buyers were told that touching this precious wood would bring luck and health.
- The second theory also goes back in time. When people still lived in wooden huts and were much more superstitious than today, it was the custom to knock on the wooden wall of the house after talking about your personal happiness. This was intended to drown out the previous sentences so as not to attract evil spirits. These spirits, so it was thought at the time, were attracted by people’s happiness, only to destroy it again. So people knocked on wood to keep the unlucky spirits away.
- The next explanation is more practical. In seafaring, before being hired, sailors had the right – according to tradition – to tap on the wood of the mast foot. This allowed them to get an idea of the condition and seaworthiness of the ship.
- The fourth and last theory comes from a completely different subject area. Mining. There are some similarities to explanation number three. Often the underground tunnels in which the miners worked were supported by wooden pillars and columns to keep the tunnel from collapsing. So before entering the tunnels, the workers tested whether the constructions were still stable by knocking on the wood. If a deep, muffled sound was heard, this indicated that the wooden struts were already rotten and therefore no longer able to bear the load. If the knocking was followed by a bright, clear sound, this indicated that the wood was dry, stable and load-bearing, and the miners could enter the gallery with a clear conscience.
Unfortunately we do not know which theory is the right one. But perhaps each of the explanations is based on a little bit of truth.
One thing we are sure about and that is that a good pinch of luck is always part of gambling. Are you on a lucky streak right now and are you really making a killing at Wunderino? Then quickly knock on wood three times to make sure it stays that way. And if things are not going that well right now, then it certainly can’t hurt either to chase away future misfortune. We keep our fingers crossed for you! Speaking of keeping our fingers crossed. Do you want to know where that phrase comes from? We will tell you here.
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