May 29 – Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day

Posted on May 29, 2014

Is this really a thing?

Several websites talk about this holiday as if putting a pillow onto your refrigerator one day a year is something that a lot of people do. I have definitely never seen or heard of such a thing, myself – I wonder how widespread the custom really is!

If you, like me, don't know about the whole pillow-on-the-fridge thing, you are probably wondering why anyone would do such a thing. It turns out, it's supposed to bring people good luck and prosperity.

An old-fashioned larder.
Somehow, back in the mists of time, a custom got started of putting a cloth in the larder every May 29 for good fortune. That was back when people actually had larders – small rooms (or large cupboards) in which food was stored. These larders were located in the shadiest, coolest part of the house—but of course near the kitchen, and they were kept as cool and dry as possible so that food would keep as long as possible.

Nowadays, some of us are lucky enough to have walk-in pantries or at least large food-storage cupboards, but of course we all have refrigerators as well. Many of the things people used to store in a larder – vegetables and cheeses, meats and leftovers – we now store in the fridge. So somehow the custom of putting a cloth INTO the larder evolved into putting a pillow ONTO the refrigerator.

Are your customs based on superstitions?

A superstition is a belief that there will be some supernatural effect of wearing, saying, or doing certain things in a certain way. For example, a student might wear a “lucky” sweatshirt on test day, or an athlete might eat chicken before every game. Apparently basketball great Michael Jordan wore his University of North Carolina practice shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform every game! In order to cover the UNC shorts, Jordan started wearing longer NBA shorts—and he inspired a style trend; now everybody wears longer shorts.

Basketball shorts before and after Michael Jordan.
Thank goodness for Michael Jordan!

This is pretty gross:
When I was a little girl, EVERYBODY
(yes, even me) had a rabbit's foot lucky
charm. You could feel the little bones and
toenails. Now it seems pretty horrifying!
Obviously, there is no evidence that a cloth in one's larder or a pillow on one's refrigerator on a particular day in May makes any difference in one's life. This is just a superstition. But a lot of things that start off as superstitions—things that people believed really WOULD bring good luck or ward off bad luck—become fun customs that people continue to do long after superstitious belief in their power has faded. (For example, colored eggs were supposed to protect the owner's health or bring good luck—but these days, most of us who color Easter eggs do it just for fun!)

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