What is “touch wood”? Is it a superstition? Or a new English phrase for modern life?
This is a tough question. First, I heard this phrase back in 2007 in Mumbai. But the main problem is why people use this. When I started doing some research on this – here what I found, basically there are many historical facts, but mostly I got that – Pagan belief that trees were the home of fairies and spirits types of mythical creatures. There was a tradition to knock the wood twice because the first one is for wishing the tree and the second one is for thank you.
The whole idea of touching wood or knocking was also to distract evil spirits residing in the tree and prevent them from hearing your hopes for the future, as they may prevent them from coming true.
Knocking on wood may seem trivial, but it is one small way people quell their fears in a life full of anxieties. Some people believe ‘touching wood’ will avert bad things happening. If someone 100% believes in this superstition, it would be classified as delusional. I am amazed at how many otherwise intelligent people hold this delusion.
Like all good superstitions, it’s probably derived from a mix of some, if not all, of these theories. Whether it works on the other hand… well, touch wood.