25 Most Popular Superstitions Around The World

Posted by on June 12, 2013

Although in post modern society superstitions don’t have much of a place, at least not in the typical sense (think OCD), for most of history they have a played a huge role in shaping culture and society. Whether they are old wives tales, urban legends, or just scary stories every group has their share of them but these are the 25 most popular superstitions around the world.


10

Unlucky number 13

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Not to be confused with Friday the 13th (which is a superstition of the actual day) but similar in nature, this superstition simply states that the number 13 is associated with bad luck. That’s why many architects refused (some still do) to design stairs that ended with 13 steps or buildings that ended with a 13th floor. The fear of the number 13 is so real to many people, that an actual phobia has been created to describe it; its called Triskaidekaphobia. (try to say that 13 times fast).

9

When you wish upon a star

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The superstition involving wishing on the first star you see in the evening is somewhat uncertain, however Europeans believed that the gods would occasionally peer down, and when they moved the sky, a star would escape and fall down. The Greeks also believed that the stars where falling human souls, and it was lucky to make a wish on them.

8

Opening an umbrella indoors

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According to superstition, if you open an umbrella indoors you are literally asking for bad luck to “rain on you”. One explanation comes from the days when umbrellas were used as protection from the sun; opening one inside was an insult to the sun god who would then curse you with bad luck. Another theory states that an umbrella protects you against the storms of life, so opening one inside your house insults the guardian spirits of your home (whom also protects you from the storms of life), causing them to leave you unprotected.

7

New broom, new house, bad luck

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There are many superstitions associated with brooms (heck, that could be a list all in itself) but there is one very curious and particular superstition that we want to caution you on. As the lore goes, you cannot sweep dirt out of a new house (or apartment) with a new broom unless you sweep something in first. If you don’t sweep something in first, then you will be sweeping out your good luck. Do not sweep out your good luck!

6

Lucky rabbit’s foot

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To have this token is an unfortunate thing for the rabbit but a magnet of fortune for the wearer. According to superstition (which can be traced as far back as the seventh century BC) the rabbit’s supernatural luck could be exploited by taking the left hind foot of a rabbit that was shot (or captured) in a creepy cemetery on a full moon.(I still fail to see how this is lucky for the rabbit).



5

Knock on wood

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Knocking on wood, or simply saying “knock on wood” after making a hopeful statement, finds it’s roots in the idea that you’re tempting fate by acknowledging your good fortune. It’s believed that the expression comes from an ancient belief that good spirits lived in trees, so by knocking on something wooden, a person was calling on the spirits for protection. Another reason why we should all be tree hugers.

4

Breaking a mirror

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We’ve already mentioned how mirrors are believed to be soul sucking mystical items (which is bad enough) but what happens when you break these devices of misfortune? Why, seven years of bad luck of course! Some superstitious sources state that the trapped souls adversely influence your luck. And here you thought you were doing them a favor! Nope, make sure those suckers stay inside that mirror.

3

“God bless you”

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For many; saying “God Bless You” after someone sneezes is a gesture of politeness. However, the origin to such formality finds its roots in Pope Gregory the Great who would say it to people who sneezed during a bubonic plague; and from the erroneous belief that the soul escapes the body during a sneeze and the heart momentarily stops. Therefore, saying “God bless you” was a way of welcoming the person back to life.

2

Four-leaf clover

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Though the origin of wishing over a four-leaf clover is lost to antiquity it has long been a symbol of good luck and fortune. It has also been used in some traditions for finding a husband or a wife. The way this works (for you single people) is by first finding a four leaf clover (good luck with that one), if you happen to find one, you must then eat it (or put it inside your shoe…but eating is more fun). After this, the luck powers will activate and the first person you come contact after the activation will be your future mate…(Word of warning, stay clear of anyone you don’t want as a future mate).

1

Itchy palms

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There seems to be a lot of variations on this superstition, but the idea of having an itchy palm generally refers to someone who is greedy or has an insatiable desire for money. Some people believe that if the right palm itches, you will lose money, while an itchy left palm means that money is coming your way. If both palm itches…you may want to go to a doctor for that.