Superstitions, Friday the 13th and Stevie Wonder

Do you believe in superstitions? Are you superstitious? Here are two videos that that explore this topic in English, so make sure you scroll down to see the second one too.
The first video is a story about what happened to Jay one Friday 13th and the second video is a song by the wonderful Stevie Wonder. And the song comes with a puzzle. How many different superstitious events and objects can you spot in the video. Enjoy!

Video 1 Transcript

Hi everyone! If you spill salt, do you throw some over your shoulder? This English lesson is about superstitions and it has two parts: first a conversation and then a song with a puzzle. So I’m making a playlist. Enjoy!

How’s it going Jay?
Terrific! I think I have a big new customer
Really? A big one?
Yes, they’re going to order a thousand units.
Wow!
They’re gonna call me any minute and tell me.
Fantastic!
This could be my lucky day.
Oh that’s so funny
Why?
Well, today is Friday the thirteenth.
Really?
Yes. Some people are superstitious about Friday the thirteenth. They think it’s unlucky. But you’re not superstitious, are you?
No… Well maybe…
Well, cross your fingers then.
Oh no!
Oh dear, you’ve spilt the salt.
Oh no!
Throw some over your shoulders… but keep your fingers crossed. Oh. Is that your phone?
Keep your fingers crossed.

Did you understand everything? Let’s check. Jay says he has a new customer. But is he sure?

How’s it going, Jay?
Terrific! I think I have a big new customer.

He says ‘I think’, so he’s not sure. He’s waiting for a call from them to see if they place a big order.

Wow!
They’re gonna call me any minute and tell me.
Fantastic!
This could be my lucky day.

Some people think that when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, it’s an unlucky day. It’s a superstition. A superstition is a belief that some events happen in ways that we can’t explain by reason or science.

But you’re not superstitious, are you?
No… Well maybe…

‘Superstition’ is the noun and ‘superstitious’ is the adjective. We can say people or beliefs are superstitious.

Oh no!
Oh dear, you’ve spilt the salt.
Oh no!
Throw some over your shoulders… but keep your fingers crossed. Oh. Is that your phone?
Keep your fingers crossed.

Do you ever cross your fingers or do other things for good luck?
And that brings me to your puzzle. It comes in the form of a song about superstitions and it’s sung by the wonderful Stevie Wonder. I’ve made a video in which you’re going to see situations where people often get superstitious and also lots of symbols and objects that are associated with superstitions. And that’s your puzzle. How many can you spot?
Many come from the US and the UK, but some come from other cultures. So see how many you recognize. And perhaps there are other lucky symbols and interesting superstitions in your culture. Please tell us about them in the comments.
Click here to see this video with a clickable transcript

Video 2

The transcript for video 2 appears in the video itself. Watch the song and see the lyrics. Why not sing along?

Click here to see the answers to the puzzle and a list of the superstitious practices, objects and events that you saw in the video.

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