View Full Version : Knife folklore

10-29-2005, 10:29 AM
Has anyone heard of a bit of folklore that when a sharp gift is given, the friendship between the giver and receiver could be severed, that a lucky penny given with the gift secures a long and lasting relationship?

I'm not supersticious however I love learning the origins of such things. :)

Any other blade related folklore out there?

10-29-2005, 11:45 AM
Wasn't it that when you receive a blade, you have to give a coin to avoid that severing ?

J Smith
10-29-2005, 11:56 AM
I have always heard that so as not to offend the blade you should give the smallest coin you have on you for it.

10-29-2005, 11:58 AM
I have a friend, 97 yrs old, who has a lot of supersticions regarding knives. Two that stand out were he always handed you his knife open and it had to be open when you gave it back. The other was, if he gave a folding knife as a gift, say Christmas time, the box was wraped empty and he'd hand over the knife open after the box was unwraped. He's still alive and still practices these two rituals. Said it was bad luck to do otherwise.

10-29-2005, 12:30 PM
wow lots of folklore sorrunding the knife

10-29-2005, 12:53 PM
The way I've always heard the coin one is that when someone gives you a knife you give them a coin (never heard one specific to what kind of coin) or the friendship will be "cut".

10-29-2005, 12:58 PM
I've always heard the whoever opens a knife should close it rule.

10-29-2005, 04:22 PM
give the knife back in the state it was recieved(open or closed).

and a couple regarding a knife as a gift:
1. a knife as a gift will cut the friendship. however by buying the knife(whatver coin happens to be in your pocket, quarter, dollar, penny) the friendship is maintained
2. a knife as a gift from a superior is meant for you to use for sapputo(I think I killed the spelling, japanese ritual suicide). This one dates back to imperial japan and china.

10-29-2005, 04:49 PM
You know, I wish I'd have known this superstition a few months back. I gave a friend a Navigator for his birthday(he was eyeing mine up) and I haven't heard from him since then, except for a few times.


Or maybe he's too busy playing with the knife ;)

10-29-2005, 06:20 PM
The knife store I work at has a gift card for just such an occasion. On the gift card it says " Folklore has it that when a sharp gift is given, the friendship between the giver and receiver could be severed. However, a lucky penny given with the gift secures a long and lasting friendship."

10-30-2005, 11:07 AM
I always give a penny when I get a knife given to me. But if I buy the knife, no need for the penny, I guess. I gave my best friend a nice knife with wooden inlays. That was some years ago. He gave me the required penny. We've always been good friends and I doubt that lack of the penny would end our friendship. Last week he returned the knife. Seems he lent it to his wife to pare apples and she tossed it out with the peels into the 55 gallon trash burner. Yes, it is ruined. No, I am not mad at him of his wife. Accidents happen. Sort of made me laugh as I do the same type of thing myself. Anyways, he gave me the remains of the knife and I gave him a penny. :)

10-31-2005, 09:44 AM
These are some I've collected and posted on a couple of other forums:

-A knife as a gift from a lover means that the love will soon end.

-A knife placed under the bed during childbirth will ease the pain of labor.

-If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your friendship will soon be broken.

-It will cause a quarrel if knives are crossed at the table.

-It is bad luck to close a pocketknife unless you were the one who opened it.

-Unless they are immediately straightened, crossed knives on a countertop or table indicate that an argument will ensue.

-A steel knife was regarded as being protection against fairies and curses.

-A house could be protected by a knife being thrust into the door.

-A baby protected by a knife stuck into the headboard of its cradle (certainly not a recommended practice now!).

-A knife could also be thrust into the mast of a boat for luck, although the word 'knife' was never spoken at sea.

-A knife falling to the ground means the arrival of a male visitor.

- Always open a knife before handing it to someone, Never return, or accept back a closed knife,its bad luck

-A knife with a white handle could be used to divine whether the enquirer's future spouse would be fair or dark. The knife was spun round, and if it came to rest with the handle pointing towards the enquirer, the spouse would be fair; if the blade pointed at them, the spouse would be dark.

-The dropping of a knife foretells the visit of a man friend in the near future.

-A knife as a gift from a lover means that the love will soon end.

-Dropping silverware causes company. Drop a spoon and the company will be female, drop a fork and the company will be male. Dropping a knife will break the spell.

-Never give a knife as a housewarming present, or your new neighbor will become an enemy.

An Italian favourite is: "Un antico proverbio recita: Regalare un coltello significa tagliare il peggio del passato per iniziare un futuro migliore" (The gift of a knife signifies cutting the worst of the past to start a better future." This contrasts with the superstition of always giving a coin in return for the gift of a knife (and also for anything that can pierce such as the pin of a brooch) the coin superstition also needs to be contrasted with the Italian tradition of lovers knives which would seem to be another contradiction.

10-31-2005, 09:46 AM
"The knife you just got,
is yours only when you get cut"


10-31-2005, 11:59 PM
Well, this reminds me of an interesting story and you'll see how a superstition is getting borned.
I've seen many people put the knife on the table with the edge up, probably because 1. the spine has a larger flat surface and 2. putting it on one side affects their aesthetical criteria.
However, when I see such thing I always take the knife and put it so the edge isn't exposed (usually on one side). One time someone asked why do I do this, I was in a bit of a hurry and instead of explaining him that someone may get injured, I just said "it's not good". Maybe a year after, I went to the same place and I've seen someone correcting the position of a knife who was put edge up, but the comment was slightly different "brings bad luck" :o

11-01-2005, 01:24 PM
"The knife you just got,
is yours only when you get cut"


This is one I wholeheartedly believe in.

11-09-2005, 09:27 PM
I love this stuff (whether I believe in it or not). Thanks to everyone who contributed.