A brief history of wishes

Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Social Media Editor

I make wishes. Every time I lose an eyelash, see a shooting star, or I catch the clock at 11:11 I take a brief moment, reflect, and make a wish.

Humans have wished for centuries. Wishing on shooting stars originated from Ptolemy, who said that the stars were a sign that the Gods were listening to our wishes.

The tradition of making a wish by blowing out the candles on a birthday cake originates with the ancient Greeks. They used a round cake with candles on top to pay homage to Artemis, the goddess of the moon. It is believed that smoke carries to the gods which is why people blow out the candles each year.

Wishing on eyelashes began in the 19th century. A fallen eyelash would be placed on the back of one’s hand and then thrown over one’s shoulder. If the eyelash got stuck, the wish did not come true.

11:11 was a number sequence that some neurologists believed we saw more frequently than could be determined by chance. Because of this belief, many held the number sequence to a higher regard. It is not clear as to why why that translated into people making wishes on the number.

Throwing coins into wishing wells was connected to water’s value in society’s of old. Many gods were connected to wells and people would leave offerings to the gods at the wells. Even as time continued on, the tradition of asking for things with an offering of a coin was continued, and today we still make wishes as we throw coins into fountains.

Making wishes on wishbones dates back to the Etruscans, an ancient Italian civilization. They believed that chickens could predict the future. The “wishbone” of the chicken was laid out after the chicken was eaten so that they could still access a chicken’s prophetic powers. People would stroke the bone and then make wishes on it. The Romans later adopted the tradition of making wishes on the bone but because of the large demand for wishbones, they took to having two people share a singular bone, and then when it was broken, the person with the larger half could make the wish.

Now I don’t believe any time I make a wish it comes true. Oftentimes, in fact, it does not. However, I still make wishes. When you’re young, the world is a magical place, and as we all continue to get older, and we learn more, it can seem less and less magical. With as fast as everything our lives moves, it can sometimes be nice to stop, take a moment to reflect, and then make a wish.

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