The Siachen Glacier, known as the world's highest battleground, is 6,300 meters (20,670 feet) high and spans 77 kilometers (47 miles) across the Line of Control that separates India- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir...Fingers crossed? I didn't want to say anything about how religious people might perceive an giant avalanche that buries the soldiers on one side of a conflict that exists for reasons I have not studied. But I'm surprised to hear a Pakistani general say "we are keeping our fingers crossed," referring to what I've always thought was a Christian gesture. I presume the remark was translated, and I wonder what the general really did say, and what other images and gestures of hope stand in for crossed fingers around the world.
"It's a very massive scale slide," Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said Saturday. "They are under the slide, but we haven't lost hope. The rescue work is on, and we are keeping our fingers crossed."
[O]ne theory goes that during the various times when Christianity was illegal, the crossing of fingers was a secret sign for Christians to recognise each other. Yet whilst the Sign of the Cross has evolved into a good luck symbol and retained its Christian meaning, Fingers Crossed has lost any Christian connection.
This change of emphasis may have begun during the so-called 'Hundred Years War' between France and England (1337-1457). An archer would cross his first and second fingers, pray or wish for luck, and then draw back his longbow string with those same fingers. Maybe.
Another theory suggests that the sign pre-dates Christianity, when it was believed that benign spirits dwelt at the intersecting point of the cross, as in the Solar Cross. In Europe, the sign was made by two people; the first to make the wish and the second to support it. Linking their fingers firmly would squeeze and energize the spirits into beneficial action. Maybe.
In China, crossing the index and middle fingers is the sign for the number ten, which happens to coincide with the Chinese and Japanese written character for ten....