Black cats at work

Last Friday was a special Friday. It was Friday the 13th. Be careful about the grammar here – it’s Friday THE 13th. Don’t forget about the “the.”

And it’s a special day, because there’s a superstition ( = przesąd) connected with it. Be careful with the pronunciation of “superstition” – it’s super /ˈsuːpə(r)/, as in Superman, not supper /ˈsʌpə(r)/, which is “późna kolacja.” You care about this if you’re a superstitious person ( = przesądny). 

I don’t think I’m superstitious. But last Friday, when I was getting ready for my morning class ( = lekcja, zajęcia) with Paweł, I tried to switch on my computer. But it didn’t want to cooperate… So, the first thought that came to my mind ( = przyszła mi do głowy) was: “OMG, it’s Friday the 13th!” 


The number 13 is considered to bring bad luck ( = przynosić pecha). It’s considered unlucky ( = pechowy), because it comes right after number 12, which is a perfect, divine ( = boski) number. For example, the 12 Apostles ( = apostołowie)!

The second superstition I have for you today is a black cat. The belief is that if a black cat crosses your path ( = jeśli ci przejdzie drogę), it brings bad luck. I have no idea why that’s the case! Whenever I encounter ( = spotkać) a black cat, I feel so happy and excited, because I just love these cute feline creatures ( = kotowate) . When I see a black cat, I try to run after him, but he always escapes… Ah, yes, this is bad luck!


There is a catch to that ( = myk). This only works one way. So, from left to right is bad luck, and from right to left – good luck. Or the other way round. I have no idea! Feel free to let me know!



If you’re a film fan, this superstition was included in “Apollo 13”, in the interview with the astronauts. One of them says: “I had a black cat walk over a broken mirror ( = rozbite lustro) under a lunar ( = księżycowy) module ladder (drabina). So that was three superstitions in one! Just for the sake of clarification ( = dla wyjaśnienia), nothing bad happened in Apollo 13 :). And sorry, I’m not gonna delve into ( = zagłębiać się w) the mirror and the ladder!

The last superstition for today is connected with salt ( = sól). Most Poles don’t know how to say “rozsypać”. It’s spill. Yes, I know that it means “rozlać”. But you can also spill salt – for bad luck!


The origin ( = pochodzenie) of that superstition might be from the times when salt was very expensive – so it was a bad idea to waste it. But the second possible explanation was a real eye-opener ( = szok, zaskoczenie) for me. In the famous painting by da Vinci – “The Last Supper” ( = Ostatnia Wieczerza) – Judas ( = Judasz) has spilt salt in front of him. I didn’t know that!


If you want to counteract  ( = przeciwdziałać)the bad omen, you should throw some salt over one of your shoulders. I have no idea which… This is supposed to work because… there is a devil always skulking behind you ( = czai się). If you throw salt in his yes, this will distract him. Be careful with this word! “Distract” is not “zniszczyć”! “Zniszczyć” – that’s “destroy,” and “distract” means “rozproszyć, odwrócić uwagę.” And when you distract the devil, you’re good to go ( = możesz działać).



So, these are my 3 superstitions for today. Let me know if you are superstitious! I think I’m not. Black cats don’t bring bad luck! Touch wood… ( = odpukać)

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