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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: French Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 4 - Walking Under Ladders and Shooting Stars. I'm Eric and I'm joined by Yasmine.
Yasmine: Hi, I'm Yasmine.
Eric: In this lesson we’ll talk about two common superstitions in France. The first superstition is about bad luck. What’s it called in French?
Yasmine: passer sous une échelle
Eric: Which literally means "walk under a ladder." Yasmine, can you repeat the French phrase again?
Yasmine: [slow] passer sous une échelle [normal] passer sous une échelle
Eric: In France, it's believed that walking under a ladder brings bad luck.
Yasmine: This superstition probably has a religious origin.
Eric: Right. A ladder against a wall makes 3 sides, which represents the Holy Trinity.
Yasmine: So, walking under a ladder is believed to be sacrilege.
Eric: Not to mention, it can be dangerous if someone is on the ladder.
Yasmine: To sum up, walk around ladders, just in case.
Eric: The second superstition is about good luck. What’s it called in French?
Yasmine: étoile filante
Eric: Which literally means "shooting star." Let’s hear it in French again.
Yasmine: [slow] étoile filante [normal] étoile filante
Eric: In France, it's believed that if you see a shooting star, you should make a wish.
Yasmine: Right, if you wish on a shooting star, it’ll come true.
Eric: In the past, people believed shooting stars were the souls of the dead ascending to Heaven.
Yasmine: These souls could bring one's wishes to heaven.
Eric: That’s why wishing on a shooting star was lucky. Because you were almost sure that the wish would make it to heaven.
Yasmine: It’s believed so, yes.


Eric: There you have it - two French superstitions! Are they similar to any of your country’s superstitions? Let us know in the comments!
Yasmine: À bientôt!