Umm, Salt! What meal wouldn’t be complete with the wonderful flavor of salt. But did you know that salt is not only an ingredient in the foods we eat, but also has a great significance throughout history.
Salt, scientifically known as sodium chloride, has over 14,000 known uses. We won’t cover all 14,000 of them, but I can tell you it’s widely used as a preservative as well as being used for healing, fertilizing, cleaning and making medicines, dyes, cheeses and plastics.
Over the centuries there have even been roads constructed solely to transport salt and there have even been wars fought over this precious commodity. This substance will easily dissolve in water and reappear when the water is evaporated.
Salt, a Precious Trade
You may not know this, but it was actually the Phoenicians who were first involved in the trade of salt. The Egyptians also used this mineral in the mummification process. They would use what’s called natron, a mineral that contains sodium chloride. This natron would be used to keep mummified remains from decaying. A kind of preservative if you will.
Ancient Greeks referred to salt as a divine substance, and the Romans even used it to pay workers for their services. They called it salarium, which is the original term for salary that is used today.
Salt has even been used in religious rites and ceremonies due to it’s ability to reform after being dissolved. It’s been compared to God’s unchanging love.
Salt is a natural mineral that is found within rocks on Earth. Now we’re not talking about table salt like you would put in your shaker. But this is the natural element sodium. Deposits may also appear above ground in the form of `salt mountains`, or could lie deep underground so far that mines have to be dug in order to reach it.
Over long periods of time some of this salt is liquefied by the natural rain and gets carried out to sea through the rivers. Once it reaches this area it will build up into what’s known as salt pans. There the sun will bake away the water leaving the salt crystals behind.
Superstitions of Salt
Just like any thing else that has been around for such a long time, salt has formed many superstitions over time. The most common tradition of salt says it bring prosperity. This is why many times people will give it as a gift upon reaching a new year, or when moving into a new home.
Another tradition of salt says it will bring fertility and some say you should give a bride salt on her wedding day.
But probably the most common superstition for salt is that it will bring you great protection. I suppose this is all derived from it’s ability to preserve dead bodies and foods. Only sounds natural that if it can do all that, it should be able to protect you from evil as well, right?
Salt is also thought of as a defense against witchcraft and curses that have been brought upon by the evil eye, or “stink eye” as I like to call it. But on the flip side, it is also known to be extremely unlucky if you spill the salt. Maybe this is because it has great value and should not be wasted, or it could be because it may awaken demons if spilled. But if you do spill the salt it’s said you must throw a pinch of it over your left shoulder. This is supposed to get rid of all the evil spirits that have arrived due to the spilled salt.
Anyway I thought this might be some interesting information to share with you all. Let me know in the comments if salt is just as important in your culture as it is in mine here in the USA. One things for certain, I couldn’t eat a bite without it…lol