10 Most common superstitions
As someone who was brought up in a house ruled by superstitions it was inevitable that I have carried some of them through to my children’s lives. Somewhat deliberately though, I have abandoned many of them -with glee! I get a strange, childish pleasure from deliberately flaunting the crossing on stairs and placing brand new shoes on the table- Gosh Horror!!
We all have peculiar foibles of some kind or another, mine is drinking certain drinks from certain mugs (tea doesn’t taste the same from a mug emblazoned with the word COFFEE on it- honest), but are these considered superstitions or mere eccentricities?
Here is a list of 10 most common superstitions-
- Friday the 13th – most people have some form of strong feelings about Friday the 13th, and in some countries the fear of the number 13 is so strong they omit floors and rows from apartments, cinemas and airlines
- Itchy palm- right palm means someone new will come into your life, whilst left palm means you will receive money
- Walking under a ladder– it isn’t just the possibility of something falling on you that instills fear of walking under a ladder. it’s said that when you walk though the triangle shape, you are tempting the fates or you may also be awakening spirits that live within the triangle. Apparently, if you do accidentally walk under a ladder, you can counter the bad luck by placing your thumb between your index and middle finger
- Breaking a mirror– breaking a mirror brings you 7 years of bad luck. A mirror was thought to be a reflection of the soul, so breaking it was harmful to the soul, and 7 years is the time it takes to completely rejuvenate the body. You can counteract the bad luck by burying the broken mirror outside in the moonlight
- Horseshoe– If you find one with the open end pointing towards you it’s good luck. If you are lucky enough to find one you need to pick it up with your right hand, spit on one end, make a wish and toss it over your left shoulder
- Opening an Umbrella inside– apart from the danger of breaking things, it’s considered that umbrellas that shade us from the sun are magical and when opened inside, and out of the way of sun’s rays, it offends the sun god. In the extreme it may even signify impending death or ill fortune for both the person who opened it and the people who live within the home
- Knocking on wood– knocking twice reverses bad luck. Some say it goes back to offering a gesture to Jesus who dies on a wooden cross
- Tossing spilled salt – salt has always been considered a valuable mineral for driving away evil spirits and by throwing it over your left shoulder your are warding off spirits intent to cause harm
- Black cats– its strongly believed that Witches kept black cats as pets and that they could turn into witches or demons. It has been said that so strong is the belief that black cats represent bad luck both Napoleon and Hitler were terrified of them.
- “Bless you” after sneezing– many years ago sneezing was considered to be expelling evil spirits so people were blessed afterwards
Of course different countries have different superstitions and we shall look at a few of the more interesting ones in our next post. Which superstitions do you follow habitually?
images by i a walsh, col ford and natasha de vere, ryan mcgilchrist