The story behind a loaf of bread


E.Botham and Sons

For thousands of years, bread has been such a vital thing to man that it is no wonder that it has gathered around itself a folklore of its own. In many countries it is thought that a loaf baked on Good Friday morning and kept until the following year is an effective medicine against stomach disorders. The patient grates a little of the stale loaf into water, drinks it, and hopes for the best. Another special virtue attributed to bread baked on Good Friday is that it does not go mouldy like ordinary bread. Among the deep-sea fishermen on the Grand Banks, many superstitions still live on; one concerning bread is that when a member of the crew is lost overboard, a slice of bread with a lighted candle on it is put over the side and floated away to comfort the spirit of the drowned man.

Many a housewife who made and baked her bread at home made the sign of the cross upon each loaf, perhaps to bring good luck, or to guard against bad luck.