Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lucky Superstitions

My fabulous red Canada Goose "Tourist Parka"
It's funny how every culture has it's own superstitions that seem so ridiculous to outsiders that they are laughable.  I went out with some friends for wing night in town last night and I was being made fun of for my big huge red parka.  Terrified of how cold it gets up here, I purchased a Canada Goose jacket to bring with me.  A fabulous red one.  Well, I might as well have a giant sign on my head that says "FROM AWAY".  All the locals refer to them as Tourist Parka's and make fun of me as often as possible for wearing it. My saving grace is that my colleague has the same one but in a different colour so at least we're lame tourists together. To be fair they are incredibly warm, and I am not used to walking around in -50 degree weather.  Today was only -25 and my eyelashes froze to each other on my 15 minute walk home from work. I was definitely happy to have my 'lame tourist parka' today and I am sure I will be more than happy to have it once it gets into real winter weather a month from now.

 Apparently the only people who wear Canada Goose coats up here are Japanese and Chinese tourists who come up to see the Northern Lights.  I got laughed at once again by all my local friends for asking them to call me at any time of day if they happen to see the Northern Lights.  I've never seen them before and apparently they are absolutely unreal up here.  It's been too warm and cloudy to see them so far, but I've been told that on a clear night in the middle of winter the entire sky is just full of a plethora of different colours and it's spectacular.
Northern Lights over Hay River
I was surprised to hear that -25 degrees Celsius was too warm for the winter lights!  Apparently Northwest Territories is a very popular vacation destination for Asian tourists specifically because of the Northern Lights. I was told that in Chinese and Japanese folklore, it is said that children conceived under the  Northern Lights will be male and blessed with good luck. Crazy eh? It makes me wonder what they would think of our superstitions here in Canada. For example: opening an umbrella in the house is bad luck, crossing the path of a black cat is bad luck, making a wish at 11:11 on the clock is good luck, people believe in lucky charms, breaking a mirror is 7 years of bad luck, and the old school rhyme "step on a crack and break your mothers back".  Obviously these are all just as ridiculous, but they do share a common theme.  All of these superstitions, regardless of where they originate are based around luck.  Everyone is looking for good luck and for good things to happen to them without having to put in any work. And the reverse is true as well; there are many superstitions that cause bad luck and give people an excuse for bad things happening so that they don't have to take responsibility and be accountable.

I find the same phenomenon in my clients.  Everyone seems to be looking for a quick fix, an answer to all of their dietary issues that doesn't involve doing any of the hard work that is required to make changes and see improvements.  I'm not sure how I feel about luck.  I like to think that you make your own luck.  Yes I think that some people are fortunate with the timing of opportunities, but you have to set yourself up and work hard to be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you.  One of my favorite quotes is "Success is when preparation meets opportunity" and I believe that some people interpret this as luck, forgetting about the preparation required by the 'lucky' individual.  For now I'll pass on the superstitions and just keep working hard knowing that the next new exciting opportunity is around the corner.

PS the picture of the Northern Lights was taken in Hay River by a local. I recently purchased a coffee table book containing a bunch of his pictures taken in and around Hay River and it is gorgeous!  His website is found here.


  1. "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have"
    ~Thomas Jefferson

  2. You should hold the 'Canada Goose Challenge' - someone from up there swaps coats with you and you rate them both on warmth, fit, weight, breath- ability, flexibility, water resistance, style and so on. I bet you have a hard time getting your coat back at the end of it.