Every culture has its own beliefs and superstitions.
That being said, many of those have grown to be part of our history and culture, but not necessarily something people still believe in and practice on a daily basis.
These people are sharing the weird superstitions in their world that people do actually buy into, and I’ve gotta say, there’s so many interesting things below!
1. This is all fascinating.
Western cultures would consider this stupid but ghosts and supernatural stuff are way stronger in certain cultures. You should not look back at night or the protective flames on your shoulders will be extinguished.
Do not rest your chopsticks straight up (empty seat) or ghosts will think the food is for them. Etc etc
East Asia believe everyone have three protective flames, one on the top of your head, and two on your shoulders. You should not look back over your shoulder when someone call you from behind at night.
It is how the ghost tricks you to extinguish your flame on your shoulder. You need the whole body to turn around slowly, not just your head or just ignore it.
And don’t tap people shoulders from behind, especially in the ghost month (lunar calendar July).
2. There are totally witches, though.
The strong and general belief that owls are witches, people will kill and burn owls that are probably just lost or chillin’ on a tree branch.
They also believe that owl announce the death of someone.
3. Sounds terrifying.
Growing up in a Latino immigrant family, I vividly remember many conversations at family dinner gatherings where conversations about ghosts, demons, the occult and the supernatural were discussed by the grown ups in the room. They’d go on about how a demon possession was real, the end of the world, etc .
I’d sit there jaw dropped, hearing things that scared the stuff out of me coming from your parents and relatives who as a kid you assume don’t believe in things that are not real therefore they must be legit.
4. Maybe they just like to be safe.
In the UK you’ll see a lot of people just avoid walking under ladders.
If they were leaning against the wall, yeah they might fall. But even stepladders are avoided instead of walked under. Also some areas in London I’ve seen people cross whole streets mid-traffic instead of walk under scaffolding.
5. The left is always bad.
Don’t put your flip flops upside down.
Don’t whistle at night.
Do not cross a road after a cat passes by it.
cutting nails on a Saturday brings bad luck.
don’t shake your legs when you’re sitting
do not sweep your floor at night.
if your left eye twitches it means something bad is about to happen, and if your right one does then something good is on your way.
putting a spot of mascara on your newborn baby’s forehead keeps it safe from evil eyes.
6. His whole name.
My name is Kevin. I spend a lot of time in the Middle East and have many good friends there. There is no V in Arabic and so if you translate my name literally, it comes out as Kafin (incidentally modern Arabic speakers modify the Fā’ in Arabic by adding two additional dots to represent a V, but this isn’t standard).
But I’m told that I shouldn’t pronounce my name in an “Arabic way” because evidently a Kafin is a type of cloth used in burials and so it’s generally associated as a negative thing or something to bring bad luck or otherwise fall into superstition. Certainly not something you’d want to be associated with.
So I’ve been told just to pronounce my name as it sounds in English emphasizing the short E sound and the hard V rather than a short A followed by an F (as is available in standard Arabic) to avoid it being associated with this item of death.
7. Maybe my star sign is wrong…
– breaking the white pumpkin after rotating it 3 times left and right in front of your face and asking you to spit and then breaking it on the street, to ward off evil eyes. I’m not sure why pumpkin was chosen for this, could have been any other vegetable.
– don’t go to the doctor on Wednesday (or was it Tuesday) in case he gives you bad news.
– don’t do anything auspicious (like signing document for a new house/vehicle etc) on a Tuesday?
– if a coconut that is broken for a prayer ends up being spoilt, bad things will happen to you
– if a diya/oil lamp gets snuffed out by the wind or you’re unable to light it up with one matchstick, bad things will happen
– delivering a baby on the wrong star sign means the baby will have trouble all its life.
– double hair swirls on your head means you are lucky
– if you have a 6th finger or toe, it is good luck
8. You have to charge them.
I had a girlfriend who swore they worked better during a full moon.
9. Beware the road gremlins.
Road gremlins, discovered this when I got my first motorcycle. It’s dumb but I guess it’s alright. The premise is you put a bell at the bottom of your bike to ward off the road gremlins.
The gremlin’s usually feck things up on your bike, engine trouble, electrical glitches, so you put the bell under to annoy the road gremlins into choosing a different host. It’s really dumb but apparently apart of the motorcycle communities superstition.
Mostly common in the cruiser community.
10. It’s an art, really.
I lived in Los Angeles for three months and holy hell there are waaaay too many people who believe in horoscopes for real.
11. My sons would be in trouble with number 3.
I have a couple of good ones where I live. The number 13 is a common one and alot of buildings and hotels here do not have a floor number 13, like they just skip it.
Here’s some examples of ones I’ve heard about.
1.) Can’t cut your nails at night because spirits will steal them and be able to take your form, or another reason is it shortens your life.
2.) Can’t hang your wet laundry out at night as it will attract spirits as they somehow like the smell of fresh laundry (who doesn’t)
3.) Can’t pee outdoors in nature (on trees etc) as you might be peeing on spirit “homes”. Or if you have no other choice you then have to apologise out loud.
12. You sure would have to plan ahead.
Can’t wash your hair on an immediate family member’s birthday or the whole family will have bad luck that year.
Man, I’ve had some crazy arguments with my parents about that one when I was a kid.
13. So many rules.
Lots about gifts.
You don’t give knives as a gift, especially not a wedding gift, because it will “cut” the relationship.
You don’t give a wallet or purse as a gift without some money in it, because that would make the person poor.
You never give calla lilies as a gift, especially not white ones. For most people it’s just kinda weird to do so, because they’re so associated with funerals, but some people believe it will cause the recipient to die. You also don’t use them at weddings, for the same reason.
When someone gives you food in a container you need to return (like a pie pan or something) you don’t return it empty. I was told growing up that it was just manners, but have also heard from older people that its just generally bad luck, or will lead to somebody (either you or the person you’re returning the pan to, it’s kind of unclear) go hungry.
Now, I only know people over about sixty who actually follow any of them, and all of them seem to acknowledge that they’re just superstitions, but sometimes they get real offended that younger people don’t care much.
14. Might work?
Waving at or saluting solitary magpies to stave off the bad luck.
I’m a saluter but I know tons of wavers. It’s more prevalent in rural areas in Ireland.
Also one crow means bad news but two is for mirth, so we actually say, OUT LOUD, “Hello Mr Crow, and how is your lovely wife?” This figuratively turns one crow into two and staves off the bad luck.
15. All new to me.
Other Russian superstitions I brought with me: sit in silence for a moment before a journey (“for the road”, so the journey is safe. Kinda cool to take a moment to concentrate on it, though).
Not to spill the salt (it will bring bad luck. If you did, gather it, through over the left shoulder, spit three times over the said shoulder and knock three time on the wood), not to whistle in the house (you’ll “whistle away” all the money), don’t pass anything over the door step (you’ll fight with the person you are passing smth over), don’t bring the trash out in evening (you’ll meet death or a dead person), don’t put empty bottles on the table (you’ll have an “empty” house then – no children, no money, no friends, the interpretation is quite broad).
16. Knock on wood.
I’m a big knock on wood guy. I can’t explain why. But if I say it aloud and don’t knock, I get super uneasy. I’ve actually stopped myself from uttering it upon noticing there’s no wood around.
Even worse is if someone says it and then just knocks on something around them that isn’t wood. I just shake my head at them.
17. Don’t want to risk that.
Looking other people in the eyes when toasting, because if you don’t you’ll have 7 years of bad s^x.
My friend who is American with German ancestry taught the rest of our friend group this. Now, whenever anyone toasts, we do it while staring intensely into each others’ eyes.
18. That’s random.
In Italy, to ward off bad things, some men will touch their genitals, and women their breast. This is so weird when you see it happen for the first time (I saw it when a hearse passed by). I am not sure how prevalent this actually is, but I witnessed it a couple of times.
It’s usually the left ball or the left boob, but we don’t care about hearses bringing bad luck, we just cross ourselves to pay our respects in from of them
19. My heart.
I was walking into work with some coworkers and a girl said “don’t split the pole” as we were walking towards a sign in a parking lot. I had no idea what she even meant and she guided me to her side of the pole we were passing so we wouldn’t have bad luck.
That stuff is really weird to me.
If two people walking, and they let a pole “come between them”, one of them has to stop and walk around it to keep the “tether” in tact. If you break the “tether” to the person you’re walking with, it’s bad luck.
My parents had the specific abuser variant of, “It means you don’t love them anymore”, so I was always scrambling to walk around the same sides of poles as them.
20. No exceptions.
In Russia it’s common to sit down for a little bit right before going on a big or important trip ( another city or especially if you have packed bags ).
I don’t mind it, but the fact that parents force you to do it even though you are 20 minutes late to the airport already, it just grinds my gears.
21. Go with the “shave and a haircut,” then.
Odd number of knocks = safe to open the door.
Even number of knocks = the devil knocking.
I guess there’s a reason why the landowner always knocks even number.
22. A definite jinx.
Well… In EMS culture, it’s a big no no to say “quiet” lol.
Saying “man it’s quiet today” will get a lot of medics mad at you.
23. Hotels do this everywhere.
The number 13.
It’s so ridiculous to avoid labelling the 13th floor of a building. We even had a project at work once skip versioning from 12 to 14.
I love this one because it’s not like the 13th floor isn’t still there! Like, do people who work on the 14th floor not just give each other the side eye all day?? The only buildings that follow through on the superstition are the ones that label the 13th floor and then just leave the whole thing empty (which in itself is a hilarious waste of space)
24. Some places they’re good luck.
I don’t know if this is a thing everywhere in the world, but black cats being bad luck.
It would seem like an innocuous superstition that doesn’t mean anything, except that bc of it, the SPCA is filled with unwanted black cats, and ppl actually adopt them just for the month of October (Halloween) and then bring them back or allow them to escape into the streets again. It really sucks.
25. Never go back.
Not sure if this has been mentioned but my Russian parents are very adamant about their not going back rule.
If you forget something at home under no circumstances were we allowed to go back because they believed you would get in a car crash or die in some other way on the return journey.
I once called my parents to let them know I was coming back to pick up a charger I forgot and my dad told me to stay where I was and made my sister drive him to bring it to me because he had been drinking lol.
26. Don’t mess up the cards!
Try playing Blackjack in any casino and make a single non-standard move like hitting on 17.
For the rest of the night the whole table will blame you for “messing up the cards” and causing them to lose money.
Gambling superstitions could be their own whole thread! It’s called gambling people!
27. Be careful with sharp objects.
Something kids at my school believed(they still do): if you hand someone scissors you’re gonna have a fight with them. So you gotta place it somewhere and they gotta pick it from there.
Someone in my family never gifts knives because its bad luck, she always demands one euro as payment so she didn’t gift the knife.
28. Sounds painful.
Some people here believe that if someone bumps their head with another person’s head they need to bump their head again or both of them would grow horns.
This would be India.
I could honestly read about things like this all day, and I love when people give you the background on why these beliefs originated in the first place.
Drop your own weird cultural beliefs in the comments!