W.I.X: Keep Your Fingers Crossed

…for extra help, beyond wishing good luck. Sometimes we say it and sometimes we make the apotropaic hand gesture – middle over the first finger. As kids we hold that hand behind the back in high hopes of avoiding punishment, especially if we tell a lie! For added giggles we “keep toes crossed” too. Utilizing a cross obviously stems from warding off an evil force, and it sure beats hanging garlic around your neck.

In case you should run into a German, they press thumbs: drück die Daumen, tucking the thumb into the other fingers in a fist, just as the Polish and French do. The Swedes like to just hold the thumbs: hålla tummarna.

Unless anyone out there can advise otherwise, I don’t think the hand gesture champions have one for this, but in bocca al lupo: in the mouth of the wolf, is the correct way to wish good fortune to Italians, which they will gratefully respond crepi: that it dies. It’s a big no-no to wish them buona fortuna straight out!

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