Are you superstitious? Have you ever wondered where superstitions come from?
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two
Cause to effect.
Why is Friday the 13th considered Bad Luck while Horseshoes are considered Good Luck? Why would a broken mirror bring you seven years of Bad Luck
while Knocking on Wood will reverse it?
Superstitions have been around for millenniums in certain cases, feeding stories that entertain us all. I thought it was a good idea to look into
where they originate from. Black cats, walking under a ladder, spilling salt, itchy palms...
I selected eight common superstitions that many people believe have an effect. I find this topic accurate with the motto “Deny Ignorance”
as it explains where the myths come from and I hope you enjoy.
Friday the 13th
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, as many as 21 million people in the United States are
estimated to suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia. If this is the case, that means eight percent of Americans are fearful of Friday the
Every year, in the United States alone, there is an 800 – 900 million dollar loss in business revenues due to this date as a lot of people won’t
go to work, or eat at restaurants or fly or drive out. Surprising isn’t it?
There are a few myths going around as to why Friday the 13th has become a superstition. The first one is from Christian traditions. Judas had been the
13th disciple and betrayed Jesus who, coincidentally, was crucified on a Friday, as the story says.
The second most probable cause of this belief is that on Friday the 13th 1306, King Philip of France arrested and tortured Night Templar followers
before hanging them. Eerily enough, one had to walk up thirteen steps to get to the noose.
The number 13 is still, nowadays, associated with bad luck.
That tingling sensation in the right palm or left palm can have an impact on the minds of people who are staunch believers of the
The superstition is simple enough. An itch in the right palm will bring money. An itch in the left palm...well...not so lucky.
This myth is from ancient Pagan beliefs, where once you felt an itch on your palm, you had to touch or scratch your palm on a tree. Trees were magical
and adored. They brought good luck to whoever was already lucky enough to get an itchy palm.
Here lies another superstition: Knock on Wood, originated from the itchy palms belief.
Palmists say that an itchy palm is a result of positive energy flowing in the right hand and negative energy flowing in the left. But for most, this
superstition has been taught at a very early age, from parents to children and it just keeps following the generations.
Walking Under a Ladder
Walking beneath a ladder is bad luck, or so it's said.
Personally, I’ve always avoided walking under a ladder. Not as much as for being superstitious but I wouldn’t want to end up with a gallon of
paint all over me or having the joy of being knocked out by a hammer falling down from the third floor...
This myth however, affects many people. It is, once again, sourcing back to Christian origins. A ladder against the wall made a triangle which, for
many, represented the holy trinity. To walk underneath or through this representation was bringing bad luck.
The Egyptians also held the myth, represented by a pyramid. They also put ladder next to tombs in order to help the soul ascend. To walk underneath
one of those would prevent the soul of the departed from rising up and brought bad luck to whom ever did that sacrilege.
No mentions of falling down from a ladder which occurred to me a few times...
Breaking a Mirror
According to most written histories and to oral histories, the belief that seven years of bad luck come with breaking a mirror dates back
thousands of years. It would have been hard to hold this belief before the first century or two A.D. because people did not have glass mirrors
In ancient times, many held the belief that a mirror, when you looked into it, was holding your soul. Much like some tribes nowadays still believe
that taking a picture of one of their members steals a part of their soul, breaking a mirror back then was perceived as damaging your soul and you
would end up going into seven years of troubles.
The seven years tribulation comes from Roman myths where they believed that the body regenerated every seven years.
Many still, in this century, still bury parts of the broken mirror to conjure the curse.
Horseshoes / Four Leaf Clover
The two myths are often associated with each other as their origins in early beliefs are similar. They are both pretended to be carriers of faith,
hope, love and good luck.
Up to the last century, horseshoes were often nailed on top of the front door as it was believed that it brought good luck to the family residing
inside. Its origins are that is it made of iron and iron was a powerful fire guard. A horseshoe was also nailed to a horse’s foot by seven iron
nails, seven being perceived as a lucky number. The number 7 is still held in high esteem by a lot of people, to this day.
The four leaf clover originates from Adam and Eve and the story goes that Eve, when exiting the Garden of Eden, took with her a four leaf clover.
Through the course of centuries, its properties enhanced, along with its superstition.
Considered a charm and a omen of good luck and good fortune, many that do find one, treasure it.
Who hasn’t spent numerous hours trying to find one? I know I did...
Opening an Umbrella Inside
A common belief among the superstitious is that opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck. The claims of unfortunate events include bad luck for
all of the people inside the building and even death to a family member before the years end. Of course, there is no scientific evidence to
substantiate these claims.
The umbrella, contrary to the common belief, was not invented to protect one from the rain but from the Sun. Opening one inside was considered an
outrage towards the Sun God.
As time went by and people started using them for rain, the superstition changed that it would bring bad luck, not only to the one who opens one
indoors but to others surrounding him. This is due to the fact that umbrellas were made of metal spokes and spring triggers that could hurt someone
The size of the umbrella also knocked down stuff that was around. Candles or oil lanterns come to mind. Many accidents have happened because of
umbrellas and even though it’s not such a good idea to open one inside as it is hazardous, the myth lives on that it brings bad luck.
~Continued on next post
edit on 6-1-2013 by SonoftheSun because: added title