Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Coral

Myths, folklore, and symbolism
Coral: Coral beads hung round babies' necks were seen by some as purely decorative, and coral teething rings as purely practical; however, others believed coral warded off evil, as Reginald Scot noted in 1584
The corrall preserveth such as beare it from fascination or bewitching, and in this respect they are hanged about children's necks. But from whence that superstition is derived, and who invented the lie, I know not: but I see how readie the people are to give credit thereunto, by the multitude of corrals that be employed. (Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584: book 13, chapter 6).

Some elaborate children's corals of the 18th and 19th centuries, silver mounted and with bells attached, have a tapering and twisting shape reminiscent of Neapolitan phallic horns, famous as charms against the Evil Eye; it may well be that the superstition, like the substance itself, is imported. (Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore)

Do you know of coral folklore from other countries?

1 comment:

  1. In the Land of the Yankee, there is that OK Corral folklore. There is no coral in Soviet Canuckistan of which I am aware.

    Pity.

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