Whether you touch wood or avoid opening umbrellas indoors, we all have little things we do to avoid run-ins with bad luck.
Interestingly, while our fear of evil spirits and bad omens remains pretty much the same across the globe, each culture seems to have its own superstitions.
Here’s a quick world tour of spine-chilling superstitions.
In Mexico, placing two mirrors opposite each other is a big no-no, as it is said to create a doorway for the devil.
Because of this superstition, many Mexicans only have one mirror in their bathroom.
Many Nigerians fear that sweeping after dusk will sweep away their family’s wealth.
Therefore, those who believe in the superstition will often avoid night-time chores, just to be on the safe side. (It’s my excuse as well.)
Turkish people believe that whistling at night might attract the devil.
They aren’t the only ones to be wary of whistling. Russians believe that whistling indoors brings poverty, while people in China and Japan fear that it may call on the supernatural.
Another spooky superstition in Turkey is centred around repeating the Turkish word for “spirit” three times in a short span of time . They believe doing so will attract evil spirits, which might take over your home and bring bad luck.
4. United Kingdom
We’ve all heard the saying about how breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck.
Some people think that this superstition stems from the ancient Greeks and Romans’ apprehension towards reflected images, as they thought they might have mysterious powers.
The Greeks, for instance, believed that the reflection one sees of themselves on the surface of the water was their soul. And some Romans believed that the gods observed people through reflective images.
Based on these, it’s not hard to connect the dots and understand why they would think the breaking of the images that reflect your soul or help the Gods watch you would bring bad luck.
In Thailand, cutting your hair on a Wednesday is seen as a risky move if you want to avoid bad luck.
Some believe that this superstition developed in ancient times, when the Thai royal family would get their hair cut on Wednesdays, leading to commoners being frowned upon if they cut their hair on the same day as such important people.
According to Japanese culture, the superstition is that, if you cut your fingernails at night, it opens up a way for evil spirits to enter your body through the fresh cut in your fingernails.
In Japanese folklore, evil spirits are only around at night, so most of the anti-evil-spirit acts are night-time focused.
In China, flushing the toilet twice is believed to also wash away negative energy while travelling.
The superstition stems from natives believing that flushing the toilet alerts the resident spirit that someone is present; therefore, flushing the toilet twice is said to eliminate any resident spirits who are not welcome.
A well-known superstition In the Philippines is that, if you bathe on Good Friday, you will be cursed with some sort of ailment.
Other generally avoided and frowned-upon activities on Good Friday include doing laundry and eating meat.