My shopping cart
Your cart is currently empty.Continue Shopping
The Irish are known for their superstitions—one more odd than the next. For instance, never wear new clothes to a funeral or put new shoes on a table. It’s lucky to pick up a penny, but it’s unlucky to pick up a comb. If you see a magpie, greet it pleasantly or you’ll have bad luck. And the list goes on, and on, and on.
But the Irish aren’t the only superstitious people in the world. In China, the number four is unlucky because it sounds like the word for “death.” (Four is unlucky in other Asian countries, too.) Never leave scissors open in Egypt, and, to keep your luck, always cut something with them once you’ve opened them.
Leaving scissors open might invite an accident, so maybe that superstition makes some sense. But few superstitions arise from any logic we would recognize. In France, stepping in dog poo with your left foot is lucky, with your right is unlucky. In Lithuania, whistling indoors can summon tiny, pesky devils. Rwandan women shouldn’t eat goat meat, lest they grow beards.
We think of superstitions as arising when the world was full of things that science could not explain. But not all superstitions date back to more ignorant times. Swedish drivers swerve to cross manhole covers labeled “K” (for fresh water and, coincidentally, for love) and to avoid the covers labeled “A” (for sewage and for broken love.) Vietnamese students avoid bananas at exam time because they are slippery and the word for “slip” sounds the same as the word for “fail.”
Superstitions tend to cluster around important life events, like weddings. For instance, in Russia, single folks should not sit at the corner of the table. If they do, they will have trouble finding a partner and may never marry. In Vietnam, wedding gifts are always given in pairs. To give one of an item, such as one blanket, would bring trouble to the marriage.
Some things tend to attract superstitions—like black cats, or salt. Once a household is set up in Brazil, a little dish of salt in a corner of the house will bring good luck. And in Japan, if a beggar knocks, always scatter salt where he stood, or bad luck will come upon your household.
Many superstitions are meant to ward off bad luck. But superstitions can benefit you, too. In Wales, for instance, making and wearing a hat made of hazel twigs and leaves entitles you to one wish. Carry acorns like the ancient Brits and you’ll stay forever young. The Spanish eat twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve to guarantee twelve months of good luck. Russians believe that if a bird poops on you or your property, you’ll have good luck and riches, but it’s bad luck to carry a bucket or even see someone else carry one.
Do you have any superstitions? Were they passed down in your family? Let us know on Facebook!