From Our Readers
July 17, 2013 6:00 am

If there’s one thing your typical Persian mom believes in, it’s superstitions. Rarely can you go 20 minutes without hearing her drop the line “it’s a sign” or “I knew that would happen” or “didn’t I say that would happen? Didn’t I?”  or “lose some back fat!” (okay, that one may just be unique to my personal Persian mom). Now, combine superstition and marriage, and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for any Persian mom!

For example, last week my mom woke up to a set of ducks swimming in our pool. I know what you’re thinking: “Aww, how adorable! Two ducks innocently taking a morning dip in a nearby pool! How lovely! What a delightful, accidental, totally unplanned surprise!” Right? WRONG. These ducks are clearly an omen revealing that my mother’s future son-in-law is on his way—the wings of the duck will obviously fly him to our home and gently lay him down on a bed of roses. Which completely explains the phone call I received from my mom two minutes later as she screamed, “HE’S COMING! HE’S COMING!” I mean, honestly. I don’t see how you could see it any other way.

Now, since many of you don’t have your own personal Persian moms to explain the deeper meaning behind every seemingly innocent event, I have provided a list of “signs” to look out for. If more than one of these things have happened to you, get excited…you’re luck is about to change.

  • If a bird poops on the left side of your face. I remember the first time this happened to me — I was enjoying a nice lunch with my mother when I felt a wet splurt hit the left side of my face. I saw my mom’s eyes well up with tears—her daughter was just struck with bird feces! In public! Of course, it’s devastating for any mother to see! Oh wait, she’s clapping? She’s smiling? Her face is glowing? Oh yes, that’s right! Being s**t on is a sign of good luck! Of course!
  • If you get struck by a pebble. I know it hurts, especially if it’s done above the neck. Trust me, I’ve been there. But nothing comes easily in this day and age. No pain, no gain. Am I right? Imagine that the pebble is a symbol for cupid’s love arrow, if you will. If you have been struck by a pebble, you have been struck by love! Lucky you!
  • Any sort of physical pain inflicted on you in general. If you get the flu, if you break a bone, if you twist your ankle, if your hair catches on fire (been there too…damn tea candles), if you get a sunburn, if you get a paper-cut, if you fall down a flight of stairs, if you trip, if you chip a tooth or if you develop some strange, new sinus infection. Guess what? That’s right—he’s coming! In Persian-mother-superstitious school of thought, bad things happening now equal good things happening soon. How soon? Well that’s a question no Persian mother can or will answer. The only answer you’ll ever get if you ask “when?” is “soon.” Go ahead, ask one, I dare you.

If you think superstitions are all about precious ducks, love pebbles and lucky bird poop, think again my friend, think again. There are plenty of Persian mom superstitions set up to predict the many inevitably horrific events you can anticipate.

  • Did you just sneeze while we were talking about death? When I was six, every Thursday afternoon, my mom, grandmother and I would sit and have tea (note: this did not bare any semblance to your typical American little girl tea party. This was serious stuff people. We would talk about infidelity, divorce, Ponzi schemes and recent deaths). As my grandmother explained the back-story behind a certain Mr. Yagoobian’s recent death, I made the detrimental mistake of sneezing. Mid-sentence, my grandmother sharply swung her head in my direction, cracked open her perfectly painted red lips, and said, with the most exaggerated rolling “r”: “Rip a hair out.” Rip a hair out? What? What did she mean rip a hair out? I looked to my mom for a smile, or a chuckle, or a “I know, I know, grandma can be so crazy sometimes. Isn’t she a hoot?” But my mom just looked at me somberly. And then I heard it again — “rip a hair out. From your head. Now!” So apparently, it turns out, that if you sneeze when someone in the room is speaking about death, you need to rip a hair out or else bad luck will fall upon you for years. Years. Consider your hair strand a sacrificial gift to the gods, in exchange for immunity from bad luck.
  • Going to the airport? I wouldn’t if I were you. So this superstition is actually very applicable to anyone who has a fear of flying, of airports, of commuting to the airport, of taking your shoes off in the airport, or of the obnoxiously long lines that always exist at the airport Starbucks. Persian moms know all about worst case scenarios and they know all about the risks and dangers that come with setting foot in an airport (gossip magazines are to teenage girls as conspiracy theories are the Persian moms). And that is why, every time I leave the house to head over the airport, my mom stands in the doorway with a bucket of water and dramatically pours the entire bucket of water after me. Everyone does this, right? Oh, no? You mean not everyone walks into the airport with the bottom half of their jeans covered in water?  Oh, okay, then I guess it’s just us Persian daughters.

Alright, so let’s recap: Ducks in your pool: good. Airports: BAD. Second degree burns: Great! Sneezes: Oh, hell no! Bird poop on your face: Excellent! Oh and if a family tragedy ever happens, and you own some birds, you must, must, MUST release the birds immediately. I don’t think I need to tell you that twice.

Post by Jasmine Elist.

Featured image via.

Advertisement