If you look through my pictures as far back as November 2008, you'll sometimes spot a thin piece of red string tied around my left wrist (like here). No, it's not to raise AIDS awareness nor did I start practicing Kabbalah and warding off negative forces. This string, known as a fita, came from Brazil and traveled to the States with a coworker who'd bought a fistful of them as souvenirs.
These wrist ribbons come in all colors - each for a different saint - and bear the words "Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia" meaning "In remembrance of the Savior of Bahia." (Senhor do Bonfim refers to Jesus, "Our Lord of a Good End"). Measuring 47 cm/ 18.5 in, which is the length of the right arm on a Christ statue in Bahia's Senhor do Bonfim church, the ribbon is tied around the left wrist in three knots, each one signifying a wish. Once the string falls off naturally, your wishes will be granted. Mine were:
1. That I'd have a wonderful time on my own in Cancun. (I did.)
2. That 2009 turned out much better than 2008. (It was.)
3. That Mr. First and I get back together.
Only my trip to Cancun came and went and the string held on. A year flew by and still it stayed on my wrist, worn and thin, but nowhere near letting go. My wishes no longer mattered, but I was curious to see how long it'd take for it to finally fall off. Wearing it was no bother and I'd grown used to the piece of string I'd been carrying for a year and a half. But at some point I started getting superstitious about it. Even though I didn't care nor did I fully believe if the wishes would come true or not, I was a bit concerned about the bad luck that would supposedly fall on me if I cut the ribbon - something A. had been wanting to do for months. "Under no circumstances will I cut this thing right before I board a plane," I'd say. "And if it makes it to my wedding day, then I'm just leaving it on at least until the ceremony is over." You know, just in case.
On Saturday morning, I finally let A. rip the ribbon. He didn't want me buying into any superstition or carrying around a reminder of the past. But as much as he rejects all beliefs, I think he just wanted to make sure that the third wish never happened. I was completely fine with it, saying, "Better now than before a major life event."
So will I really have bad luck fall upon me? Who knows. But I must say, I didn't feel sick until the day A. broke the string.