Monday, November 30, 2015
MopDog Monday: A hatful of whut now?!
When someone goes off to take an exam, present a performance, or otherwise do something challenging, you often hear Hungarians say "Egy kalappal!" as a wish for good luck. This phrase, however, does not literally means "Good luck!" It means "A hatful for you!"
A hatful of what, exactly?
Superstition holds that wishing "good luck" is... actually bad luck. Which is why people tend to say "break a leg" or something similar instead, in order not to jinx anything. So, in the case of ventures that need some extra luck, things work in reverse: Wishing something bad for you (like a shattered femur) is actually supposed to bring about something good (like a passed Anatomy exam).
In addition, it is a common superstition that encountering feces in some form (stepping in dog poop or being pooped on by a bird) on your way to some important event actually means good luck. (I always wondered where this came from - it seems like people were trying really hard to put a silver lining on things. "Hey, you'll walk into your job interview with pigeon shit on your shoulder, but at least you have a better chance that they'll hire you?")
(No one said superstitions are supposed to make sense)
So, putting two and two together, Hungarians, when they want to show their support in your endeavor, will wish you...
... a hatful of shit.
And if they want to be extra funny, as well as supportive, they will even go beyond that. Which is why some Hungarians will wave you along on your epic quest, yelling after you somewhat cryptically:
"The yearly yield of entire China!"
Good luck out there, everyone. May the hat be with you.
(Side note: Ironically, "a hatful of shit," when used in Hungarian in its entirety to describe something, simply means that said thing is, well... crap. Gotta admire language.)