Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. We have missed Friday the 13th by one day, and we won’t be having another until September of next year (14 months away). We have been spared from bad luck and can now rest soundly, under ladders with all our umbrellas open indoors.
Are you superstitious? While you may scoff at superstition in the abstract, you might find yourself saying “jinx!” when two people speak in unison or cringing when an important day falls on Friday the 13th. September 13, not surprisingly, has been established as Defy Superstition Day by some brave soul desiring to free us from our irrational fears. In America we have plenty of superstitions, from avoiding black cats to only picking pennies off the ground if they are on heads. But America is far from the only country with strange and bizarre superstitions.
Here are 13 superstitions from around the world!
- Have you ever mistaken someone’s birthday, so you end up saying, “happy early birthday!” In America this is fine and understandable, but in Russia, wishing someone a happy birthday before their actual birthday is bad luck.
- Looking through two mirrors facing each other may seem like a cool optical trick, but in Mexico, it opens a doorway for the devil to come through. Suddenly looking through two mirrors seems less interesting.
- As kids we probably all joked around and gave cheers will all kinds of drinks. But in Germany if you cheers with water, you are wishing death upon the people you are drinking with. Yikes!
- We have all tried to cram another person at our table at lunch, but for that poor soul who gets stuck on the corner, bad things will happen. According to Hungarian myth, sitting at the corner of a table means you will never get married.
- We all know we should put our best foot forward, which in Spain means your right foot, since entering or leaving a room left foot first is considered bad luck.
- But in France, if you are unfortunate enough to step in dog poop you better hope it’s your left foot, since that is for some reason good luck, but if you step in it with your right foot, well that’s bad. Perhaps it’s best to just try to avoid all dog poop in general. There will be less to clean up.
- In Bulgaria people believe that getting pooped on by a bird is actually good luck, contrary to reason. But again, don’t look up with your mouth open.
- Playing leap frog as a kid is always fun, except in Turkey where jumping over a child can curse them to be short…forever.
- In Korea, it is believed that sleeping with a fan of any kind on in the room will bring your imminent demise due to…hypothermia. This is why these things are superstitions and not facts.
- In areas of the north eastern United States certain houses were built with windows slanted at 45 degrees since it was believed that witches could not fly through slanted windows. Flying on a broom is one thing, but apparently flying through a window that’s a little tilted is just too much.
- In China, the number 4 is seen as very bad luck (like 13 in the US), so many hotels won’t have a 4th floor. This goes to Japan as well, where putting chopsticks straight up in food (which makes a symbol like their number 4) is seen as very bad luck.
- We know not to run with scissors, but in Egypt opening scissors without using them, and leaving them open, is considered very bad luck. The idea is that the scissors, left open, are cutting spirits in the air, who in turn, will curse you.
- Lastly, in America we watch for Friday the 13th, but in Italy it is Friday the 17th that we should be worried about. In Spain, they aren’t concerned with Friday, it’s Tuesday the 13th where bad things happen.
So enjoy this year without Friday the 13th and go defy some superstitions; but it might be smart to knock on wood first, just in case.
*written by Brennan Kress & Danielle Chalker