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  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #1

    Looking for the name of a custom...

    Hi everybody,

    I'd really appreciate it if anyone could give me some information about this. The custom I'm referring to is quite well-known in Iran, and Middle East nations. Most of the times, especially among traditional people, when a serious decision is to be made or when there's an intention to embark on an important venture, they, based on their beliefs, would prefer to practise something first and then decide whether to go on or not. They may do a variety of things to make sure what they're about to do would be OK or NOT. (So, I hope it's clear that this is not predicting at all, just a feeling telling them if the idea IS or IS NOT ok.)
    For example, some people in Iran would read classical poems (from Hafiz) and make some interperations from the words, and get a general feeling whether to go for it or not. (mind you, it's just a custom, and mostly people don't base their lives on such beliefs.) Now, I'd really like to know if such customs exist in English culture, and if so, what the name of such ideas is?


    Many thanks in advance.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    As far as I know, there is no such custom in English culture.

    We may, informally, say or think, "What would X do/have done in such a situation?" where X is a person whose judgement we admire, but that is the closest we have, I think.

  3. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    Thanks for the reply. I hope this idea sounds familiar to you: in some cultures, even as a way to make fun of this belief, one might, for making a decision whether to do something or not, pick all the petals of a flower (say, rose) one by one, while saying, 'I can, I cannot, I can, etc.', or 'he loves me, he doesn't love me, he loves me, etc.' till they come to the last petal which tells them either of the two possibilities! (I know it may sound ridiculous to you, however, I'm just looking for a verb describing this action) Or, maybe as you said, there's no term reffering to this ideas. Thanks you again.
    Last edited by Mehrgan; 05-Nov-2010 at 21:12.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    I said earlier that there is no such custom in English culture. We do have the petal-picking 'he loves me, he loves me not', but this is a traditional children's activity which nobody seriously believes in.

    In making a decision about whether to do one of two things, if we really can't make up our minds we may toss a coin, saying some relevant words such as 'Heads I go to the pub, tails to the cinema'. Nobody believes that there is any hand of God or Fate involved in which way the coin falls.

    I still can't think of a name for this, and it seems to be nothing as serious as the custom you describe in Iran.

    In Christian, rather than specifically English, culture, some firm believers may use passages from the bible to guide their daily actions.

  5. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I said earlier that there is no such custom in English culture. We do have the petal-picking 'he loves me, he loves me not', but this is a traditional children's activity which nobody seriously believes in.

    In making a decision about whether to do one of two things, if we really can't make up our minds we may toss a coin, saying some relevant words such as 'Heads I go to the pub, tails to the cinema'. Nobody believes that there is any hand of God or Fate involved in which way the coin falls.

    I still can't think of a name for this, and it seems to be nothing as serious as the custom you describe in Iran.

    In Christian, rather than specifically English, culture, some firm believers may use passages from the bible to guide their daily actions.


    Thanks you again dear. I repeat that, in contrast to the pictures you might have from Iran, rarely do ordinary people believe in such stories. I just happened to like to know if there's any term to describe such custom. Thank you for being patient with my questions! Ta!

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    Wel, Mehrgan, it's now 23 hours since the last posting, so I think we are fairly safe in assuming that English doesn't have a word for this.

    I assume that there is a word in your language. Could you tell me, please, what it is, and what a rough translation into English would be?

  7. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Wel, Mehrgan, it's now 23 hours since the last posting, so I think we are fairly safe in assuming that English doesn't have a word for this.

    I assume that there is a word in your language. Could you tell me, please, what it is, and what a rough translation into English would be?

    Dear fivejedjon, I'd like to say that having read your first reply I was absolutely convinced that such an idea does not exist in English culture and I do appreciate your paying attention to my question. (my further questions were merely out of curiosity, indeed. )
    And, yes, we have a verb referring to this activity, but unfortunately I can't find any equivalent to this because it's an Arabic word used in Persian. (I could only describe what it refers to, though I'll try to find the nearest equivalent) Thanks to you.

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    #8

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    A different, but in some way possibly relevant, concept might be that of omens, where a sign could be taken as suggesting that something would go well or badly, but these would be things like a natural phenomenon- the appearance of Halley's Comet in 1066 was held to be a good omen for the Norman invasion and conquest of England.

  8. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Hi everybody,

    I'd really appreciate it if anyone could give me some information about this. The custom I'm referring to is quite well-known in Iran, and Middle East nations. Most of the times, especially among traditional people, when a serious decision is to be made or when there's an intention to embark on an important venture, they, based on their beliefs, would prefer to practise something first and then decide whether to go on or not. They may do a variety of things to make sure what they're about to do would be OK or NOT. (So, I hope it's clear that this is not predicting at all, just a feeling telling them if the idea IS or IS NOT ok.)
    Up to this point, I thought you were talking about a 'pilot study' a 'dry run' or some other sort of trial. But ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post

    For example, some people in Iran would read classical poems (from Hafiz) and make some interperations from the words, and get a general feeling whether to go for it or not. (mind you, it's just a custom, and mostly people don't base their lives on such beliefs.) Now, I'd really like to know if such customs exist in English culture, and if so, what the name of such ideas is?


    Many thanks in advance.
    ...this makes me tend to agree with fivejedjon that we have no such word in our language. As Tdol says, people use the term 'omen', and sometimes 'auguries'. Or they refer to some earlier belief system: our 'casting/reading the runes' seems to have something in common with the I Ching - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia... People also use expressions such as 'it's in the stars' or 'it's in the cards' without believing seriously in Fate, or astrology, or Tarot, or anything of that sort.

    Some quite serious minded people have a guru or astrologer or something - not for predicting but for saying whether a course of action is likely to turn out well whether it augurs well; if not, it's 'ill-starred'.
    Last edited by BobK; 07-Nov-2010 at 17:24. Reason: Added last para

  9. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Looking for the name of a custom...

    Grateful thanks to all dear posters above. I have learnt a lot from your posts. Best,...

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