Fairies, relics or a kid’s game?
I was very sad to discover that none of theories regarding the origin of the phrase “touch wood” had anything whatsoever to do with waving magic wands.
Many people believe that the custom of touching wood for good luck dates back to Pagan times.
Supernatural and mythical beings such as fairies and elves were believed to live in trees. People could knock on the tree to summon the good spirits or to distract the evil ones.
If you made enough noise, you would prevent malevolent forces from hearing you while also being able to prompt the good fairies into action.
Lost in the mists of time
There has to be a reason why people all over the world touch wood for good luck or to ward off evil. But nobody seems to know what it is. There are no political or cultural influences that are common to all of the countries where touching wood is customary.
The practice evolved long before the internet arrived or even television for that matter and so we can’t blame the movies or social media.
Many experts have researched this subject and no definitive answers have emerged. The best guess of most researchers is that the common link is trees.
Trees are revered in all regions of the world and are generally associated with benevolent forces. Somehow, similar beliefs across the world have been translated into a global custom. It’s one that is understood or practised by billions and yet makes no sense at all!
How odd is it that such a ritual should have emerged everywhere?