rightward movement

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A circling movement made by turning to the right is described as a ‘right-handed’, ‘clockwise’, or ‘sunwise’ turn, and is regarded as bringing good luck. Though the belief is strongest in Scotland and Ireland, it was customary in parts of England in 19th century country funerals to carry the coffin sunwise round the churchyard (Hereford Times (20 Mar. 1838), cited in Opie and Tatem, 1989: 384). Recent instances of the idea in England are that when making sauces, puddings, or cakes the stirring must always be done clockwise, or the cooking will go wrong; that ropes should be coiled clockwise; even, that in stirring tea and laying a table one must never go ‘against the sun’ (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 385–6).

The primary reason why this direction of movement is said to be ‘sunwise’ appears to be that in order to remain facing the sun as it moves from east through south to west, one has to pivot round constantly to one's right.


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