People have been conditioned to make a wish. People make wishes on New Year's Eve, on Christmas Day, and when blowing the candle on their birthday cake. Most people could not resist making a wish before throwing a penny into a fountain. There are many practices of making a wish, including making a wish upon a star.
But where did this practice come from? No one knows for sure, but the tradition lingers to this very day, even when majority of the people are wired and surrounded by all sorts of modern gadgets and most things are done electronically.
How to make a wish upon a star
Is there a science on making a wish? Nope, there isn't. What's important is that you think of the things you wish for. Close your eyes and think of the things that you fervently want, a thing that you could not live without or something that is almost impossible for you to acquire. Pick one or the two most important items from your mental list. Open you eyes and look up at the sky and find the brightest star, because finding a shooting star is not that easy. Close your eyes again and make your wish. Depending on where you are located, you might be making your wish on Venus, Polaris (Northern Star), the Southern Cross, or Sirius.
It could be that the tradition of making a wish upon a (shooting) star came about because these are beautiful and very rare. Since stars in the ancient times have been associated with divine powers. You'd probably encountered the phrase, looking or reading the stars, an evidence of man's fascination with the heavens and its relation to angels, faith and prayers.
The truth is shooting stars are not stars but meteors and it's the glowing trail of a meteoroid or a piece of space debris that burns as soon as it enters the earth's atmosphere. And it is this phenomenon that makes the shooting star very attractive, ideal and considered as a lucky item for making a wish. And maybe it is also because of the fact that it is actually a challenge to make a wish on a shooting star since it appears for just a fleeting moment. You'll be startled when you actually see one and before you could think of your wish, it's gone.
It is believed that the act of wishing on a shooting star started during the time of Greek astronomer Ptolemy, around 127 AD to 151 AD. He wrote that sometimes the gods also got bored and curious and would occasionally peer down on earth. And in so doing, some stars slipped through the gap between the spheres and became visible as falling or shooting stars. He further added that the gods were more receptive to wishes made during times like those.
Whether it is true or just a myth, maybe tonight you would look up at the sky and say, Star light, star bright, the first star as see tonight, I wish I may or simply enjoy the beauty of the twinkling stars above, if you are lucky.