Superstitions from around the globe

Here are some pretty unique, strange superstitions that people around the globe believe in: 

Knocking on Wood

I am certain that at some point in your life, you knocked on wood to avoid jinxing yourself. It may have been about your health or other matter. This well-known superstition derives from medieval times, when European churchgoers would touch wood that churches claimed was from the cross. Touching this wood was supposed to provide a connection to divinity and good luck.

The Evil Eye

Did you ever have someone compliment you on a lovely piece of jewelry or clothing?  For some unknown reason, later that day the item broke or was ruined. Some people believe that this is “the evil eye” at work. Turkish people have an amulet to protect them against these hazards. These charms are usually blue and white and resemble an eye. They are commonly worn and seen in Greece, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Afghanistan and many other countries.

Black Cats/Ravens and Crows

Black cats have always had a bad rap given their perceived relation to witches. Many people believe that you will experience bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. In South Korea, crows are seen as bad luck and may possibly represent death. In the UK, ravens foretell doom. British superstition says that six ravens must remain at the Tower of London at all times or the crown will fall. In Ireland and Scotland, seeing a single magpie is bad luck.

Trimming Nails at Night

It’s bad luck to trim your finger nails or toenails after dark according to superstition in Turkey, India and South Korea. One Japanese superstition claims you could have a premature death. Darkness plus sharp objects and a lack of medical access years ago may have equaled deadly infections.

Friday the 13th

In many countries, people are extremely superstitious about Friday the 13th.  One of the beliefs is that it is affiliated with Loki, the God of strife and evil, which ties this day to violence, death and bloodshed.


Whistling whilst indoors or directly at the sun are ill-advised actions according to Russian and Norwegian superstition. In Russia, whistling indoors may lead to financial problems. In Norway, whistling at the sun may cause rain.

Sitting at the Corner of a Table

According to Hungarian and Russian superstition, sitting at the corner of the table is bad luck. The unlucky diner will allegedly never get married.

Purse/Wallet on the Ground

Some people in Central and South American countries and the Philippines say leaving your purse/wallet on the ground leads to bad financial luck. Other ground related superstitions say that a Russian woman sitting on the cold ground can lead to her being barren (unable to have a child).

Toasting with Water

It is a German myth that if you want to wish death upon someone, you should make a toast to them with water. This tale comes from Greek myth where the spirits of the dead would drink water from the river Lethe. Lethe, goddess and river of forgetfulness, would cause the spirit to forget its earthly past before it passed into the underworld.

Breaking a Mirror

A well-known superstition is that breaking a mirror will result in seven years bad luck. A person’s reflection in a mirror was thought to be connected to a piece of the person’s soul. With that in mind, breaking a mirror with your reflection in it doesn’t sound great.

Birds Flying into Your Home or window

An old wives’ tale says that a bird flying into your home is a bad sign, especially if the bird circles the room and lands on the back of someone’s chair and then leaves. This means the person whose chair the bird chose would die.  American folklore says that when a bird tries to get inside the house, that you will soon hear of a death.

À propos de l'auteur / Lori Leonard

Entrepreneur and the owner of Lori’s Links which provides an array of home services. Lori also writes monthly columns for Main Street newspaper and is a featured writer for Laval Families Magazine.

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