I'm a gypsy – the crazy superstitions we believe in from never washing blankets in May to 'sitting up' after a death | The Sun

FROM not putting new shoes on the table to avoiding walking under a ladder, many of us have got superstitions that we believe in.

But one gypsy woman has revealed the little-known superstitions her family, friends and others in the traveller community follow – from never washing a blanket in May, to burning wagons when someone dies. 

We spoke to Chantelle Devonshire, a 22-year-old gypsy wife from Cambridge, to find out the traditions that many travellers believe in. 

Chantelle revealed the superstitions that many in her family obey – from never buying an outside brush in May, to ‘sitting up’ when someone dies, as well as the concept of luck money.

Chantelle told Fabulous: “Different travellers up and down the country have different beliefs.

“A lot of people think that we’re old-fashioned and don’t keep up with the times. 

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“Travellers like to keep the old traditions alive. I think that’s why a lot of them stick by their beliefs.”

NO MAY: Don't wash, cut or buy

Chantelle explained that many travellers hold superstitious beliefs about the month of May – and would never wash a blanket, cut their hair, or buy an outside brush during this month.

She revealed: “In the month of May, some travellers believe that if you buy an outside brush, it means that you’re going to swipe one of your family members away, like they’re going to die.

“You can’t wash a blanket in May, because you’ll wash your family away and you can’t cut your hair in May. My husband never used to cut his hair in May.

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“That’s a real old one, even my granny remembered her mum talking about it.

“My granny was telling me a story about a man who bought a brush in May. A few months went past and the man came back and said that his son died and two other of his family members died.

“One time, my granny saw me washing a blanket in May and she was going on at me saying ‘you shouldn’t be doing that, you’re going to wash one of your family members away, just get another [blanket].’”

PAY RESPECTS: Wear black and 'sit up'

Not only this, but Chantelle explained that when someone in the traveller community dies, there are traditions that gypsies will follow.

She claimed that many will wear black for months and people will ‘sit up’ soon after the death.

She explained: “Travellers will dress in black for months out of respect when a close family member dies. 

“My granny dressed in black for over a year when her mum died and she dressed in black for half a year when her granny died.

“It is out of respect, you’re showing respect to the dead.

“We all ‘sit up’ when someone dies. It’s to show your respect to the person that died and to their loved ones.

“I’ve been to places where we sat up and I didn’t really know the person that died but I went to show my respect to their family members I did know, and that’s how travellers are.

“When someone dies, you can expect quite a few people at their place.

“You will go to their place, the men will be outside round the fire, they normally put a marquee up and women will go in there and sit up.

“Some travellers sit up for weeks, some only sit up for a few days, it just depends how long they want to do that for.

“It’s basically where you sit and talk about the person who died. It’s all about showing respect.” 

BURN IT: When an elderly traveller dies

Not only will travellers ‘sit up’ after a gypsy’s death, but if a traveller who lived in a wagon died, many will burn their wagons following their death. 

Chantelle continued: “When some elderly travellers die, the family will take everything out of the trailer and they will burn the trailer.

“The reason is they say that they don’t want anyone going to live in that home. 

“It’s out of respect – they wouldn’t want someone else living in their trailer.”

GET LUCKY: Touch wood and money tradition

Chantelle explained that many travellers believe in a variety of superstitions, which they hope will give them good luck.

Not only do they touch wood, but they also believe in a concept called ‘luck money’ too.

She claimed: “Travellers believe magpies are bad luck. They also believe in touching wood. 

“If you talk to a traveller, many of them will say ‘touch wood that doesn’t happen’. They think that if they touch wood they will have good luck. 

“Another traveller belief is luck money. My husband does this and nearly every traveller man I know does this.

“If a man is going to buy a dog or chalet or something, they will give them the money and then the person selling it will give them money back – luck money.

“It’s basically for them to have good luck with what they’ve just bought off of you.

“Even if they buy a chalet, I’ve seen people give £100 back.

“That’s a very common one, a lot of men do that.”

DON’T SAY IT: Banned words 

While all travellers are different, Chantelle explained that there are certain words that many travellers would never say.

She added: “There’s certain words travellers don’t say. 

“My husband won’t say ‘ferret’.

“Lots of travellers won’t say ‘devil’, they’ll say ‘the muller’ instead.”

LISTEN UP: 'God bless' and 'on oath'

While there’s certain words many travellers avoid saying, there’s also sayings that a lot of them will use.

Chantelle revealed: “A lot of travellers will say ‘god bless’. 

“If I saw an old woman in the shop, I would say ‘goodbye, god bless’.

“It’s a sign of respect, and is done to wish that person well.

“Travellers will make oaths too. 

“If they say something and you don’t believe what they are saying, they will say ‘on my mother’s life’, or ‘I make oath on my granny’s life’, or ‘I won’t do it, I will make oath’ – that’s to prove you’re not lying.

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“All my family do that.” 

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