All over the world, many different people believe in various things. It is important to respect other people’s beliefs as long as they are concerned with spreading positivity and are not taking away anyone’s freedom or spreading hate. If a certain belief makes others deal with the hardships of life better, we should not judge them. However, when it comes to superstitions, sometimes it is hard to keep a straight face.
There are literally hundreds of different superstitions across the globe, and they can get extremely crazy. Of course, there is no proof that these beliefs are fake. However, they are often so ludicrous that believing in them can get pretty hard. We have compiled a list of some of the most well-known superstitions in the world.
Knocking On Wood
Knocking on wood is arguably the most popular superstition in the world. Even people that are not normally superstitious often use this phrase. For those that do not know about it, knocking on wood is a superstition that helps us avoid jinxing ourselves. It originated in medieval times when people would touch wood that the churches claimed was from the holy cross for good luck. Nowadays, any piece of wood will do. There are variations all over the world, with the Italians choosing to “touch steel,” for example.
Throwing Salt Over Your Shoulder
Another superstition that supposedly helps us “ward off evil” and prevent us from jinxing ourselves, throwing salt over the shoulder, is wildly popular. It is extremely common, and you have probably witnessed it a couple of times in your life. Its origins are not entirely clear, although it is presumed that it ties to the fact that Judas is portrayed as having spilled salt on Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Since Judas is generally considered evil, the act of throwing salt over the shoulder should ward off the Devil.
Walking Under A Ladder
This is another superstition with roots in Christianity. The superstition is, of course, that passing under a ladder brings bad luck. The story behind it is connected to the Holy Trinity in the Christian faith. Since they form a triangle, and a ladder is shaped like a triangle, passing under it symbolically destroys the sanctity of the Holy Trinity. Of course, that has been long since forgotten, and people just avoid going under ladders without knowing the origins of the superstition.
More bad luck! Breaking a mirror supposedly brings you years of bad luck, and the origins of this superstition are interesting, to say the least. It started out in Greek myths, with Narcissus believing that a crack in a mirror could trap someone’s soul, which means that by breaking it, the soul would shatter. The ancient Romans added the part that deals with seven years of bad luck because of a particular belief that it takes seven years to complete a cycle of sickness and renewal.
Let’s move on from bad luck a bit, shall we? The superstition that finding a penny brings good luck started in folklore as well. Metal was considered so valuable in a lot of ancient cultures, and some went so far to believe that it was a gift from the gods. The metal was sent by gods to protect people, and since pennies are made from metal, they bring good fortune. It is crazy how beliefs that started like this one can hold up even today!
Pennies aren’t the only objects considered lucky. Horseshoes are equally as well known as being good luck charms. The origins of this belief get a little weirder, and it is hard to find a good explanation. However, what we do know is that it is tied to the pagan goddess Diana and her “sacred vulva,” and the fact that a horseshoe is shaped like a vulva. Horseshoes being made from metal helped as well, as did the fact that they have seven nail holes. This ties to the superstition that seven is a lucky number.
Friday The 13th
Back to bad luck, with the day that makes everyone more careful about everything they do. Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day, is tied to ancient Romans believing in the significance of numbers. They believed that the number 7 was lucky and that 13 was unlucky. The exact reason is unknown, but some believe it is tied to the fact that the number 12 is seen as extremely positive, which makes the one after more negative than any other. The reason why Friday is picked as the day of the superstition is tied to the event that happened on Friday the 13th of October 1307, when King Philip IV of France killed hundreds of Templar Knights.
Another source of bad luck, black cats were declared an “incarnation of Satan” by Pope Gregory IX in 1232. That’s all there is to it, and that is how the superstition got started. During the Middle Ages, people began connecting them to witchcraft, and the rest is history, people still consider them a sign of bad luck. Poor cats.
On a lighter note, the next on our list of the most popular superstitions is the belief that crossing one’s fingers brings good luck to people. This is also an ancient belief that stems from Pagan times. Back then, people believed that making a cross with your fingers would concentrate the forces of good spirits.
Sitting At The Corner Of The Table
This one is more popular in Europe, Hungary, and Russia to be more specific, but it is so well-known that it deserves mention. Apparently, sitting at the corner of the table brings bad luck, but in an incredibly specific way. According to the superstition, the person that is sitting there will never get married. This curse is supposed to last for seven years, which brings us back full circle to the ancient Romans and numerology.
About the Author
Ivan loves writing, music, audio production, and social sciences. He lives by the words of one famous sociologist who said that "sociology is a martial art". When he's not writing, he enjoys playing his Stratocaster and video games.
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