So I don’t know if you realised, but Friday 13th has recently passed us by. It’s known as the unluckiest day of the year for most (Unless you live in Italy, where it’s actually the exact opposite) but why? Where did all these strange superstitions come from? And are we crazy to believe in them? I don’t know about you, but I personally avoided all ladders and black cats last Friday, because it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
Have a scroll through the list below and see how many superstitions you’ve heard before. You never know… it could bring you a lifetime of riches! Or maybe just a bird to poop on your shoulder. Either way, happy reading!
1. Stay forever young by carrying an acorn
*immediately leaves work in order to find the nearest oak tree* Seriously though, who’s the selfish person who has been keeping this one to themselves for all these years? Rude! Apparently this superstition dates back to Ancient Britain, and evolved through the idea that oak trees provide longevity and wards off illness.
2. Don’t eat lettuce… if you want to have children
*immediately leaves work to find the nearest lettuce tree* …okay okay, I’m kidding… kind of. Anyway, lettuce is what’s known as a sterile plant which in 19th Century England obviously meant that if you ate it, you’d become sterile yourself. Science, am I right? Still, English gentlemen wishing to start a family avoided salads at all costs.
3. Don’t chew gum at night
So this one originates from Turkey, and in Turkey they believe that if you chew gum in the nighttime then it will mysteriously turn into… the flesh of the dead! Thanks Turkey! Did not see that one coming. Think I’ll be sticking to mouthwash from now on.
4. Never give gloves as a present
Personally I think that if you do this in general then you’re just a garbage person who has obviously never given a present before in their life, however if you do this to a superstitious person you’re even worse, because you’ve just cursed them to bad luck for all eternity. Oh and you’ve cursed yourself in the process too, so yeah, karma’s a bitch.
5. Look out for a goats
For thousands of years the poor goat has been associated with lust, debauchery and the Devil (Like, what did a goat ever do to you?) however, goats are also believed to be able to absorb and evils that are looking to cross your path. So if you’re on your way to a doctors appointment or an important meeting, keep an eye out for those goats!
6. If your skirt turns up, you’ll receive a new dress!
I would love to know the “scientific” theory behind this one. Have you ever sat on your skirt a funny way and ended up with that annoying turn-up at the bottom that seems to be doomed to be etched into your skirt now for all eternity? Yeah well never fear! Because apparently it means you are soon to be blessed with a great amount of presents… namely a nice new lovely dress! Yay!
7. An awkward silence means an Angel is passing over
This suspicion is attributed to Dylan Thomas’ Portrait of an Artist which features the line ‘A host of angels must be passing by … What a silence there is!’. and if this is true then I have had so many Angels fly over me in my lifetime that I’m surprised I haven’t been made a Saint yet… still, at least I have a great excuse for how awkward I am now!
8. Eat grapes at midnight for good luck
We can give credit to the Spanish for this one. While the rest of the world is kissing at midnight on New Years Eve, they’re jamming 12 grapes into their mouths in hope that it will bring them 12 months of good luck. Er… esbueno, no?
9. The best day to go to hospital is… a Wednesday?
Another classic old wives tale. The justification for this one is; Saturday is the worst day to leave, because it means you’ll be back soon. Monday is the best day to leave, and Wednesday is the best day to go. But why? WHY? Well, I have looked for answers, and cannot find any. Maybe you’ll be more successful.
10. Pass a newborn baby through a rind of cheese
God bless Medieval England. Way back then, it was customary for mothers to make a “Groaning Cheese” which matured for 9 months while the baby grew. Then, when the “groaning time” or birth came, the cheese would then be shared out among family. THEN, once nothing put the rind was left, they would pass the new born baby through it on their Christening day so that they may have a long and prosperous life. I don’t know about you, but I would totally be okay with this superstition making a come back.
11. Tuck your thumbs in if you pass a graveyard
This superstition hails from good old Japan. If you’re in Japan and a hearse drives past you or you walk past a graveyard you should tuck your thumbs in IMMEDIATELY in order to protect your parents. This is because the Japanese word for thumb literally translates to “parent-finger” and so obviously if you hide your thumbs you are then protecting your parents from death. Obviously. You can always count on Japan to keep it creepy!
12. If a bird poops on your house, you’ll be rich
I’ve heard many variations of this one before but I never knew it originated in Russia. I don’t know about, but I’ve been crapped on by a bird a whole bunch of times and are yet to see any riches because of it. It’s ruined ruined plenty of my favourite shirts though.
13. Keep a hot cross bun in your house for a year
This one has a Pagan origin, as hot cross buns were originally eaten at Pagan festivals, but without the cross, for obvious reasons. Later on Christians took over and added the cross in order to ward off spirits, and after baking them on good Friday would hang one in their house for a year in hope that it would bring them good luck. Erm, sounds delicious, right?
13 wonderfully weird superstitions from all around the world, but I’m sure you can think of many others you’ve heard over the years! Why not comment on Facebook and see who else has heard them too? And remember… keep an eye out for those goats!