Superstition- Knocking on Wood essay

People usually glance around the environment and begin to ponder abstractly. The term superstition is synonymous with imagination. People of the early periods use superstition in order for them to explain what is happening in the world that they are living (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). In order to justify the bad things that happened to them they utilize superstition and use it as a defense mechanism. It is also used to predict good blessing that would occur. Superstition lacks scientific discipline because people are free to create wide array of superstitious beliefs in order to explain the world base on the spin of imaginations.

It has become vital for the psyche of various cultures which develops independently. Through the year, superstition has been carried out until the present time. Although there are instances that modernization made superstition slightly diminished. Superstitious people varies on their faith regarding something, there are some who posses too much of it but there are also people who took it with a skeptical but nostalgic bent. One of the most common superstition that is still common until today is knocking on wood (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44).

This superstition is perpetuated by many people while others believe half of it. It is said that knocking on wood will surely bring good luck and cast bad fate away (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). Superstition is surrounded by mysteries and hidden meanings. Just like knocking on wood, people made ways to decode the reason why it is important to stick to this superstitious belief. There are people who stick to doing this superstition but they barely know about its origin or its meaning. People use to knock on wood each time they feel the need of doing it (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44).

In the United States, knocking on wood is commonly used after someone finishes giving a statement (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). An important statement that implies a positive thought is followed by knocking on wood to ensure the pleasant outcome of what has been said. A person riding on plane may say that the he is confident that the aircraft will not crash. After this statement was said, people around him may knock or may not knock on wood depending on their superstitious beliefs (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). Those who believe may knock on wood to ensure that what he say is true.

Knocking on wood guarantees good luck and avoids possible temptation in the future. Knocking on wood is more of a psychological comforter rather than a true belief (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). But a person who lives with tradition and values cultural belies sticks to doing it with full sincerity and devotion. Knock on wood is a phrase that is revised using the American version. The origin of this superstition is still a long debating process. Historians and experts say that it started way back centuries ago during the time of Pagans who thought that they cannot survive Christianity (Marmor, 1994, pp.

30. 44). Pagans believe that knocking on wood will drive away bad spirits who lives in trees. By knocking on the wood of a tree, they will utter bold statements wishing that the bad spirit will not interfere with any plans made ahead of time. Knocking on wood also means respect for the spirit who lives inside the tree and a petition to protect them from any struggles ahead. On the other hand, there are also claims that knocking on wood is attributed to Christianity because the wood signifies the cross on which Jesus was hung. The original term is not knocking on wood but touching on wood instead.

It is a British language which goes along with Pagan theories (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). As years goes by, historians still find no accurate evident on where the superstition came from. A children game is also used to relate this saying because of the rule used when it is played. The game is entitled tiggy-touch-wood wherein children would be safe from being tagged when a wood is touched (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). The game’s popularity strongly influenced the mind of young children and eventually the phrase was passed on as an everyday vernacular and eventually developed through the succeeding generations.

Even in the game itself, touching or knocking on wood will ensure the safety of people. Such superstition proves how people cling on to influences of cultural belief. Knocking on wood was already a part of my family’s practice. Upon reaching this study, I tried to find possible answers why such superstition is done. By asking my mother why there is a need for us to knock on wood, she just mentioned that it is done to prevent something bad from happening. My own family used to accept superstition since faith and religion can be based from having belief on certain things which cannot be proved are often irrational without explanation.

I also learned that knocking on wood was taught to my mother by my grandmother and it really works through ages. Upon asking why she firmly believes in that, she said she only believed it because it made her feel better about things she knows she cannot control. In essence, she really failed to belief in knocking on wood like she believed in God, but she did see it as almost a little prayer that went along with her religious beliefs. This conversation illuminated for me the reason that rational people knock on wood, or use any superstition in general.

Superstitions are just like all illusions that make people better about certain events and things which cannot be controlled (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). A person who clings on to superstition are those who cannot see the future so they will just knock on wood to gain positivism amidst the hopelessness that is already consuming them. It also motivates a person to live life amidst catastrophic threats and ensure goodness along the way. There are social gains and losses that we experience out of practicing superstitions. Faith without action is dead.

Making statement and knocking on wood is not the only way to drive away bad luck and evil threats (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). There is a need for man to do something and persuade to be the best so that nothing tragic will happen. In some instances this practice also contributes to a person’s confidence in doing something because he s guided by the blessings of the spirit in any wood that is knocked. Perhaps like what me and my family used to believe, knocking on wood is like a telephone call which relays our message to the creator and for Him to send angels that will guide is in anything that we do.

Superstition can be both appealing and not. Fate is always connected to superstition. A person can base his life base on fate or faith. Relying on superstition allows one to be more comfortable on things or future events that they wish to happen. Although there is still no evidence or truth regarding statements which they uttered, knocking on wood guarantees them that everything will turn out to be the best and for the goodness of all (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). On the other hand, it as detrimental effect because there are people who leave fate on wood alone.

The re is no worship involve when one knocks on wood. People just want something to happen without returning or doing anything. The origin of the superstition knocking on wood is still unveiled. It is a mysterious belief which is said to come from a children’s game. Pagans were also used as a basis for this belief. No matter where it came from, the significance of knocking on wood is continuously carried out from generation to generation. It creates a big significance on the lives of many people in the world’s modernized civilizations.

Just like religion, superstition like knocking on wood gives people a sense of faith. It gives solace and comfort to people whenever they make statements (Marmor, 1994, pp. 30. 44). People who knocks on woods, whether they believe that what they did is appealing to God, to the air or to no one in particular, are usually intelligent, kind and rational people. Superstition can be consider as a practice which has not definite result but trying hard and experimenting on things can both make or break one’s life.


Marmor, J. (1994). Psychiatry in Transition. USA: Transaction Publishers. pp. 30-44.