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Silly Superstitions

Word of the Week

Superstition (super-st-ish-uhn): A fancy word for a myth or old wives' tale. In other words, it's a widely held belief that if something specific happens it will result in a certain consequence. It will make more sense soon, I promise. It comes from the the Latin word superstitionem meaning "a belief based on fear."


This Friday isn't just any Friday. It's Friday the 13th. I'm sure you've heard the day can be spooky. For some reason, it has it's known for being unlucky, but do you know much more about it? I most certainly did not. That got me thinking about a lot of other superstitions I've heard in my lifetime. And that got me wondering if other countries around the world have their own, quirky beliefs. Naturally, I had to research and share some of them with you.

  1. "Don't toast with water." Everyone clinks their glasses and yells "cheers" at one time or another. Apparently, bad luck will befall you if your glass is full of water. This one might make me think twice! Origin: Germany

  2. "Don't kiss across thresholds." The belief is that if you shake hands or kiss across a threshold, like in a doorway, you will become enemies with the other person. I'm sure many of us are guilty of doing this! Origin: Russia

  3. "Don't stick your chopsticks straight up." This position resembles the number four spelled out, which is an extremely unlucky number in this country. It's also considered to be quite rude. Any guesses? Origin: Japan

  4. "Don't flip over cooked fish." It is feared that turning over a fully cooked fish will lead to the capsize of a fishing boat. Instead, gently pull the bone away from the tail. Origin: China

  5. "Don't serve bread upside-down." This is considered to be both poor etiquette and bad luck. Long ago, when an execution was taking place in town, the baker would set aside a loaf of bread upside-down for the executioner to later pick up. Origin: France

  6. "Don't break a mirror." I'm sure you've heard this is unlucky, because it's actually considered unlucky around the world. Some believe that the mirror releases negative energy. Origin: Switzerland

  7. "Itchy hands impact your finances." If your left palm is itchy, this means you will be paying money or losing money. On the contrary, an itchy right hand means money will soon be coming your way. Origin: Turkey

  8. "It's good luck if a bird poops on you." Its background isn't clear, but it's just as it reads. It seems pretty counterintuitive, doesn't it? Origin: Russia

  9. "May morning dew is great for the skin." The dew that collects the morning of May 1st has special properties that make a person more beautiful. People are known to put the dew on their faces on this day. Origin: Ireland and Scotland

  10. "Don't wish someone an early happy birthday." If you send your well wishes before the person's actual birthday (even just hours earlier) you are inviting bad luck to their next year. Origin: Germany

  11. "Stepping in dog poop is good luck." There's a catch. Step on it with your left foot, and it will bring you good luck. If you step on it with your right foot, you welcome bad luck. Don't you wonder where this one comes from? Origin: France

  12. "Don't get a haircut on Saturdays." It is believed that getting your hair cut or nails done on a Saturday angers the planet Saturn. Origin: Hindus

  13. "Friday the 13th is unlucky." A lot of cultures believe that the number 13 is unlucky. Many hotels and building skip over having a 13th floor entirely. When something goes wrong on Friday the 13th, the day is to blame and is often thought to be the reason. In other cultures, they have their own version of the day. Italy: Friday the 17th. Greece: Tuesday the 13th.

While those were interesting, I thought I should share some other, more familiar superstitions with you, too.

  • Never open an umbrella inside.

  • A girl who catches the bride's bouquet is next to get married.

  • Never walk under a ladder.

  • Don't let a black cat cross your path. Unless it's Cheese, of course!

  • Knock on wood.

It seems to me that some superstitions have some history behind them, while others seem entirely random. I challenge you to have some fun and make up some of your own superstitions this week. Here are mine:

  • If you get a whiff of lavender, your dinner will be extra delicious!

  • If you catch your dog and cat cuddling, you'll get good new on Friday.

  • It's bad luck to eat the last cookie.

Wouldn't it be neat if the first two were true? Get creative, and have fun!


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