GreenfaolStarred Page By Greenfaol, 4th Jan 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Psychology

We all have our little quirks, be they avoiding walking under ladders, or touching wood if we feel we’re tempting fate but some superstitions go from the silly to the ludicrous.


The UK and US have a couple of variations on the same theme. The principle one that comes to mind is that in the US it is bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. In the UK it is seen as good luck (but then, so is having a bird poo on you!!).

The most common superstitions

1 Walking under ladders. This is actually, for the most part, common sense. If someone is on the ladder, working away, there’s a good chance something may fall on you.
1 Breaking a mirror. Other than hurting yourself on the glass, why would this cause seven years bad luck?
2 The number 13 being unlucky (especially Friday the 13th). This is clearly a throwback from the last supper.
3 Spilling salt invited the devil in, which meant you had to throw salt over your left shoulder, into the eye of the devil, to counter this!
4 Groom cannot see Bride on day of wedding, prior to the ceremony (some say the day before too!). This may be due to cold feet?
5 White flowers in house symbolise death.

Good luck, anyone?

Touching wood, wards off evil, brings luck.
4 leaved clover
Placing silver in a baby’s hand (most people put it behind the pillow now)
Rabbit’s foot
Coal (means warm home, literally and symbolically)
To be kissed by a passing chimney sweep (I’m guessing chimney sweeps started this!).
Ease teething by rubbing mother’s gold ring on gums!!!
Bird poo!

Slightly less well known but still around

1 Having 13 to dinner will lead to a death. See the number 13.
2 Rowan Trees acting as protection against witches. Rowan Trees were always thought of as protective trees.
3 Stirring food anticlockwise was thought to be bad luck but there is no logical reason for this, other than the thought that anything anticlockwise was evil (funnily enough, the earth rotates in an anticlockwise motion if looking down from the North Pole).
4 It was classed as bad luck to have Hawthorn in the house before (May Day). ?
5 Magpie lore – one for sorrow, two for joy etc.
6 Crossed knives mean a quarrel, according to some people.
7 Mirrors covered when someone dies, to prevent souls being trapped in them.
8 New shoes on a table bring bad luck (some say any shoes).
9 Bride cannot wear full wedding outfit before wedding day, or said to bring bad luck.
10 Dropped a knife? Male visitor on way, fork for a woman.
11 Bad luck to open an umbrella indoors.

More obscure

There are some slightly more obscure, and then some ridiculous quirks. Listed below, with growing ‘what?’ factor.
1 A white tablecloth should never be left on table overnight, or death will follow!
2 Sparrow in the house – you guessed it, death!
3 Unlucky to cut fingernails or hair on a Sunday.
4 Passing people on the stairs means bad luck
5 Tripping going up stairs meant a wedding on the way.
6 If you drop your glove and pick it up, bad luck, but if someone else picks it up for you, it’s good luck.
7 Two women should never pour from the same teapot, or a quarrel will follow (sounds like the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law issue!
8 Carrying the bride over the threshold was to avoid evil spirits gathering at the door.
9 Carrying new baby round house the house protects from colic!
10 Yorkshire housewives believed bread wouldn’t rise if there was a corpse nearby!

Even more obscure!

1 If you removed both heels (ends) from a loaf, it allowed the devil to fly over your house!
2 A slow boiling kettle is bewitched and may have a toad in it?! From Dorset.
3 A sneeze was the soul momentarily leaving the body, saying bless you brought it back
4 In Scotland, a child was said to be under fairy spell until it’s first sneeze.
5 Also in Scotland, it was thought that idiots couldn’t sneeze, and so parents watched closely for that first sneeze!!!
6 In Somerset, a double yolk meant a marriage due to pregnancy!!
7 Diamonds are meant to drive witches away, and also prevent insanity!!!
8 Opal, wrapped in a bay leaf makes you invisible!!!!

In conclusion

In conclusion
As you can see, some superstitions are born of common sense, the rest? There are some very strange ideas out there, but if it makes people happy and doesn’t interfere with their lives, why not?


Anticlockwise, Bad Luck, Beliefs, Bird Poo, Black Cat, Breaking Mirror, Brides, Clover, Devil, Good Luck, Hawthorn, Horseshoe, Omens, Rabbits Foot, Rowan, Seven Years, Silver, Superstitions, Superstitious, Touch Wood, Traditions

Meet the author

author avatar Greenfaol
I write a variety of things, from health to cooking, to spiritual, to everyday living. Writing is a passion, and I am trying to become a professional.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
4th Jan 2011 (#)

I try to avoid falling into the pattern of having superstitious thoughts, ideas, or feelings.

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author avatar Sparz
4th Jan 2011 (#)

If you think too much about such things you will feel every thing that happens is due to these superstitions, although these events happen in a normal course of life.

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author avatar Carol
4th Jan 2011 (#)

Good article, I am a little bit superstitious, but only a little.

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author avatar Denise O
4th Jan 2011 (#)

I love all the superstitions you have written about, what fun. I am a bit superstitions, I must admit.
My hand is itching, does that mean money is on the way. hmmmm
The lottery is up to 290 million tonight.:)
Thank you for sharing.

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author avatar christopheranton
4th Jan 2011 (#)

That was a really good list.

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author avatar Greenfaol
4th Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks guys. Ah, forgot the itchy hand!!!
I'm a little superstitious myself but some of these are so funny, I just had to list them. I touch wood when I say something potentially disasterous, just a habit from my folks :D

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author avatar Retired
4th Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks for the great share.

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author avatar Min
6th Jan 2011 (#)

Never open an umbrella at home under the roof! I have never been a superstitious person, I believe that whatever comes ahead is already written and there's no way in avoiding or creating it. Life is funny, but I think it has its ways.

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author avatar Greenfaol
6th Jan 2011 (#)

Hi guys, thanks for your comments :D

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author avatar Humza
9th Jan 2011 (#)

an interesting one!

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author avatar Ava Alexander
10th Jan 2011 (#)

What a list. You did a lot of research, to make this interesting article.

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author avatar Greenfaol
10th Jan 2011 (#)

Thank you both. i did do a fair bit of research for this :D Cheers for posting x

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author avatar Humza
10th Jan 2011 (#)

ur research paid off in the form of a star!
keep it up

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author avatar Nan Joe
15th Mar 2011 (#)

There are soo many superstations that we can't even count them ... depending on where we come from. They only succeded in adding fear to people. thanks for sharing this. I ignore anything they call superststion

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author avatar Sherri Granato
20th Aug 2014 (#)

Interesting and fascinating piece. I believe in some of these superstitions, but most are just really out there.

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author avatar Rose*
24th Nov 2014 (#)

Superstitions are just a bit of fun as long as you don't take them seriously!

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