No Grey Mittens

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Essays, Nova Scotia

No grey mittens. My father believes that grey mittens are bad luck and attract misfortune. His belief stems from an old superstition taken very seriously in the Nova Scotia fishing town where he grew up: Lunenburg superstition holds that grey or black mittens are bad luck on ships and fishing boats.

I’ve always complied with my father’s grey mitten ban as a matter of tradition more than belief. Whenever I’m planning a mitten project and gaze at a skein of grey yarn, his warning plays in my mind, and I call him for clarification. Maybe it would be okay to use grey as a contrast colour? Maybe that skein is more blue or taupe than grey? Maybe the mittens could be worn only on dry land? But his answer is always the same: Don’t take chances… Don’t tempt fate… No grey mittens.

Perhaps it’s time to learn more about Lunenburg fishing mittens and this unusual superstition.

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