Superstitions are the irrational beliefs in the supernatural that leads to either good or bad luck. Ever since the existence of the human kind, superstitions have been around. They are different in every culture, and they have played a significant role in each of these cultures and societies. Superstitions create fear and terror within people, to the point that they have established tradition surrendering these superstitions. They are passed down through generations. Some of them are common, such as the unlucky number 13, but others can be only described as bizarre. Today we are going to share with you the Top 10 Strangest Superstitions from around the World.
1. Chewing Gum
Believe it or not but chewing gum at night is considered to be bad luck in both Turkish and Hungarian cultures. Even if your breath stinks after a hearty dinner, it is not advised to chew gum. It is believed that whoever chew gum at night is that he/she would be chewing on human flesh of a dead body. This superstition was in author Harry Oliver’s book, “Black Cats and Four Leaf Clovers.” The chewing gum superstition has been passed down for generations.
2. Black Cat Superstition
The world’s opinion has always been mixed with black cats. Prehistorically, the fear of cats began when our human ancestors had a problem with cats, which were a lot bigger. They had a fear of cats as humans were not at the top of the food chain; therefore the distrust of cats was originated.
However, in the middle ages, a black cat was a sign that death was coming. So, it was believed that crossing paths with a black cat, as well as a black raven, was a sign of bad luck. The fear was spread of these dark felines, and that led to mass killings of these innocent creatures.
In our modern society, some people still fear black cats. Some people also believe that black cats are associated with witchcraft. A lot of people believe that black cats are linked to evilness and are servants of witches. Others think that black cats are actual witches in disguise.
However, in Asia and the United Kingdom, black cats are associated with good luck. In Yorkshire, owning a black cat is considered to be good luck. And if you find a black cat walking in your direction, it means that a good fortune is coming to you.
3. Umbrella Superstition
In some places around the world, opening an umbrella inside a house is considered terrible luck. The origins of this superstition came from ancient Egyptians. Back then, the umbrella was used to protect people of higher status from the sun and not the rain. Opening the umbrella inside a house would anger the Sun God, and he would punish them.
In addition to that, the Egyptian Goddess Nut enveloped the entire sky resembling an umbrella. Therefore, umbrellas at that time were decorated with beautiful and colorful peacock feathers to represent Goddess Nut. These umbrellas were only used by nobles due to their religious significance. The shadow that the umbrellas provided was sacred. It was considered blasphemous for someone from outside the noble families to stand in that shadow.
Others believe that the umbrella superstition is from the 18th century where a waterproof umbrella with metal spikes was fashionable. Opening such an umbrella would cause harm to people inside a house or in a small space due to its size and metal spikes.
In addition to that, it is also believed that if the weather showed that it would rain on a specific day and you took your umbrella with you, then it will not rain. But if you leave your umbrella back at home, it will rain.
4. Flowers Superstition
Giving flowers in Russia is an honored traditional, and there are hundreds of flower stalls on every street. However, there is one condition behind the act of giving flowers; you must provide an odd number of flowers. If you decide to give flowers to a woman in Russia, an odd number from 1 to 1001 of flowers is a symbol of happiness. Despite other superstitions, giving 13 roses to a woman in Russia is considered good luck and better than sending 12 roses. Giving one rose is saying ‘You are everything I have’ and giving five flowers means ‘I love you.’ Even the number of flowers represents death as even numbers of flowers are typically given during funerals. It is also not advisable to send a bouquet of only red and white flowers because they are linked to bad luck.
In some cultures, if a woman has multiple lovers and plans on marrying one, she would write the name of these men on rose leaves then throw them into the wind. The last rose to fall will carry the name of the man that she will marry.
In England, one of the superstitions is that you should bring a group of 13 primroses. Otherwise, any other number of primroses will bring you bad luck.
5. Wedding Superstitions
In many cultures and countries, such as Russia, it is considered good luck if it rains on your wedding day. It is a symbol of wealth and happiness for the bride and groom. It also represents fertility and signifies that you will have children in the future. It also washes away all the bad memories for a completely fresh start of your life.
The groom to see the bride before the wedding ceremony is associated with bad luck. This originated from the time where arranged marriage was popular and acceptable. At that period, weddings were more of business affairs between families. That is why the father of the bride would fear that the groom might find his daughter unattractive and would call off the wedding. Therefore, it became traditional that the groom would not see his bride until the last minute possible. The veil that the bride wore was worn to also keep the groom from finding out what his bride looks like.
6. Itchy Palm Superstition
The itchy palm superstition is a superstition that has been around since the beginning of time. People of faith believed that if your palm itches and you scratch it, you will suffer a loss. However, you can itch your hand on wood to get rid of the itch, since wood is tied to good luck.
Since the left hand has receptive energy, and the right hand has active energy, traditionally, if the itch is in your right palm, it means that money is coming your way. But if the itch is in your left palm, it means that you might lose money. If both palms itch, it is believed that good luck overrides bad luck; therefore cash is going to come your way. In some Asian countries, it is quite the opposite, as double-palm itching is a sign of bad luck.
7. Twelve Grapes Superstition
Eating twelve grapes on New Year’s Eve at exactly midnight is considered to be both traditions and a superstition in Spain that dates back from 1895. The twelve grapes represent 12 months of good luck.
On New Year’s Eve, thousands of people will gather at the Puerto Del Sol in Spain to sing, dance, have fun, and eat 12 grapes while drowning a glass of bubbly. If a person consumes one grape for each of the twelve bell chimes, they will have a lucky and prosperous year.
8. Birds Superstition
Birds have been associated with superstition in a large number of countries. They have become a metaphor for death, life, and luck. One of the strangest superstitions regarding birds is that if a bird drops poop on your head or your body while walking around, it is considered to be a sign of good luck. Whenever sailors had bird poop on their vessels, they banned anyone from removing them until the next rainstorm to bring them good luck.
During the seventieth century in London, King Charles II believed that if the black ravens that lived in the Tower of London left, the building would crumble and the British Empire would collapse entirely. So, ever since then, they let the black ravens stay in the tower without disturbing them.
The ancient Romans let birds dictate their decisions as they believed that since birds fly above the earth, they can communicate with the gods. They would observe the birds see which way they are flying. Flying to the right meant good luck, flying to the left meant the opposite. The higher the birds flew, the better the luck they meant.
9. Seaweed Superstition
Eating seaweed soup on the day or the night before your big exam is considered to be bad luck in Korea. They believe that the soup will cause the information to slip out of your head. Also, it can symbolize the person sliding down the exam rankings, since the seaweed is slippery. Sesame oil and congee are also associated with slipping down the rankings.
Instead, you should eat sticky food like toffee or sticky candy.
10. Opal Gemstone Superstition
The beautiful opal gemstone is the birthstone for the people born in the month October. Throughout history, there have been a couple of myths and mysteries surrounding the opal gemstone. They always have had an evil superstition associated with them even though other gems such as diamonds are associated with good luck and good fortune.
Initially, some believe that witches wore them to increase and strengthen their magical powers. That might be contributed to them resembling the ‘Evil Eye.’ The opal gemstones fell in favor in the middle ages. They became a symbol of hope, innocence, and purity. Poets praised the opals in their poems; they believed that opals protected their children from dangerous animals, intensified friendships and relationships, and banished evil.
In the 14th century, opal regained its bad reputation again. With the emergence of the Black Plague, people associated it with famine and monarchies. They thought that when a patient wore the opal, its color stayed the same until the death of its wearer.