10 Superstitions from Around the World

You believe in superstitions if they come from national traditions, tales, or things that happened in the past. These ideas may seem strange or offensive, but they show how and what people from other countries live. There are many types of myths, like the one that says you should stay away from black cats and be careful with wood. These are ten interesting ideas and the stories that go with them from around the world.

Seeing a black cat holds strong superstitions in some cultures.

1. Spilling salt, which means throwing it over your shoulder

A lot of places think that spilling salt is bad luck. This idea comes from a time when salt was a valuable product. To get rid of bad luck, some people throw a pinch of the salt that got spilled over their left shoulder. Some people believe that this will make the devil or other evil spirits hiding behind you blind, which will stop bad things from happening.

The spiritual meaning of spilling sugar varies from good fortune to bad fortune in many countries. Spilling sugar can have different meanings than spilling salt, which is generally seen as a bad sign. Like the sweetness that sugar itself represents, some people think that spilling sugar is a good sign that sweetness and luck are on the way. On the other hand, in some cultures, it could mean trouble or too much indulgence. This two-way reading shows how common things like sugar can have deep spiritual meanings, showing how different cultures have different beliefs and values.

2. Breaking a Mirror – Seven Years of Bad Luck

A well-known myth says that breaking a mirror will bring you bad luck for seven years. At one time, people in ancient Rome thought that mirrors showed what the soul looked like. People used to believe that breaking a mirror would hurt your soul and bring you bad luck. To keep the bad luck away, some people think that the broken pieces should be buried under the moonlight.

3. The evil eye is a way to protect yourself from envy

Residents of the Mediterranean and the Middle East believe in evil spirits. People believe that an envious eye can cause a lot of trouble. To avoid the evil eye, people wear amulets. For example, blue nazar bonkugu is popular in Turkey. In other countries, khamsa palm is also used. Residents of these areas believe that thanks to amulets they are protected from these troubles.

4. Knocking on wood to keep bad luck away (Western Cultures)

A lot of people in the West think that knocking on wood will keep bad luck away. Some people think this custom comes from old pagan ceremonies where trees were seen as holy and where spirits lived. People thought that if they knocked on wood, these ghosts would come and protect them and bring them luck.

5. Taking a Step on a Crack: Giving Your Mom a Broken Back (United States)

For kids in the US, the rhyme “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back” is a scary thought. People believe that stepping on cracks in the ground can hurt their family, especially the mother. This may sound silly. It’s possible that this belief came from people’s natural desire to avoid flaws and keep things in order.

6. In East Asian cultures, the number four is a sign of death

Many people in East Asia, especially in China, Japan, and Korea, think that the number four is very bad luck because it sounds like the word for “death” in those languages. In many parts of their lives, people try to avoid the number 4. Many buildings skip the fourth floor. Tetraphobia is the name of this view. It shows how small differences in language can have a big effect on cultural ideas.

7. Horseshoes: They bring luck (European Cultures)

Within European countries, horseshoes are often seen as lucky signs. Many believe that iron is a protection against evil spirits. In addition, people believe that the shape of the crescent protects against the evil eye. It is believed that a horseshoe above the entrance, which hangs with its ends up, brings good luck.

8. Itchy palms: This can mean that you will make or lose money (different cultures)

Itchy hands have very different meanings in different cultures. Some peoples believe that the itch of the right hand is a sign of acquaintance. The left hand foreshadows you counting money. This belief is very popular in European countries. Many mockingly explain replenishment of the money account in this way.

9. Whistling inside: Calling for Bad Luck (Russia and Other Cultures)

In Russia and a few other places, whistling inside is thought to bring bad luck. According to this myth, whistling inside can bring bad luck, money problems, or even evil spirits. Not sure where this belief came from, but it might have something to do with the idea that whistling bothers the spirits or guards that live in a house.

10. Owls: Signs of Death or Wisdom (World)

In different countries, owls represent different things. Owls are thought to bring death or bad luck in some Western cultures. This may be because they are active at night and make haunting sounds. On the other hand, owls are regarded as signs of wisdom and protection in many Native American and Greek traditions. The fact that owls can represent both good and evil in superstition shows how different people understand animal symbols.

Last Thoughts

Folk beliefs and customs from around the world are linked through the superstitions that come from different places. Why do people believe these things? Because they show how they think and try to make sense of things they don’t understand. They may come from old customs, strange words, or even simple baby rhymes. Some people think that old traditions are silly, but others find comfort and value in them. When you see an owl or salt on the ground, think about the beliefs and stories that led to these interesting myths.

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Evelyn Anderson

Hello, my name is Evelyn though my friends call me "Evie". I live in the Pacific Northwest, where I am constantly left in awe by the beauty of nature around me. During the day I have the privilege of caring for and cherishing all living beings as a veterinary assistant. However outside of work I embrace a world of spirituality that has truly enriched my mind and spirit. Tarot, crystals, angel numbers, and my bond with nature are some of the guiding forces on this journey. Ever since my teenage years I have had a strong connection with spirituality and especially tarot.