Q:

Where did "knock on wood" come from?

A:

Quick Answer

There are a few theories for why people say “knock on wood,” but the phrase most likely originated as a way to ward off bad luck or cast away evil spirits. That superstition dates back hundreds of years to pagan rituals, before world religions existed.

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Where did "knock on wood" come from?
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Full Answer

Long before Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other major religions spread through the world, there was paganism - an oft-misunderstood word. Many pagan beliefs centered around nature as spiritual, powerful, healing and holy. This was especially the case with trees. For example, trees were a part of Celtic rituals, and they were considered homes for their gods.

The idea is that, while asking for blessings from their gods, pagans would lay a hand on trees for a connection and energy. So, when you knock on wood, you’re essentially replicating an old pagan ritual meant to protect the “knocker” from evil spirits or bad luck.

It’s a worldwide superstition that ultimately can be traced back to the powerful and important influence of nature. You can find variations of “knock on wood” in many countries around the world: India, Iran, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Poland, Russia and the United States.

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