Most people make mountains out of mole hills about superstitions. With minds like a steel trap, we give in to various (sometimes unfounded) superstitions, for no logical reason. The human psyche is a powerful cauldron of experiences, emotions, and forces. Some of those forces in our psyche lead us to happiness, fortune, and to see the sunnier side of things. Like opposite ends of the same coin, some of those forces are out of our control, and sometimes devastating.
Let’s take a look at 10 exciting, exotic, and surprising superstitions from some countries around the globe!
1. The Classic Ladder
Some superstitions, like walking under a ladder, are right on the nose. In my younger, defiant days, I did just that. I was proud as punch and willing to put ages of superstitious “hokum” to rest.
After I ventured the “danger” of walking under that ladder, readily laughing my way to the bank, a man bumped into me. He apologized profusely and groaned about how clumsy he was. I didn’t even realize, until hours later, that he nicked my wallet.
Some say that the two sides of a ladder form a triangle. Triangles are a sign of the Holy Trinity. Makes sense, right? Don’t walk under ladders or you’ll disrupt God, The Father, and The Holy Ghost.
2. “Eat Your Carrots So You Can See Better!”
Mothers adore this old wives’ tale to get their children to eat carrots. It comes from the World War II era.
It turns out that this superstition was started in World War II. British pilots didn’t want people to find out they were using radars to shoot down enemies. Pilots told the public they were eating a massive amount of carrots. Imagine that! Figuring out that you can save your country from doom by eating carrots!
Knowing that there’s more than meets the eye, we’re going to look at the lion’s share of these beliefs that span many countries on our expansive and beautiful Earth.
3. “Who-Who” Is That!
In Egypt, it’s said whoever sees or hears an owl will get bad luck. What kind of bad luck? That’s hard to say.
What’s even more interesting than this sad omen is Egypt’s thoughts about scissors!
Some say it’s bad luck to open scissors (and close them) without using them for their cutting purpose. I can see that preventing people from using something other than it’s supposed to be used is a good idea, can’t you? Especially, if that “something” is sharp.
Let’s see what other countries are up to!
5. “Suffocation, No Breathing”
If you’re susceptible to sweating during nights, and need the soothing comforts of a whirring fan just to fall asleep, then you’ll want to stay away from Korea (especially North Korea). It’s said that sleeping with a fan on, suffocates you.
6. Happy New Years!
The next time you want to have an extraordinarily lucky, vibrant, and happy New Years, go to Spain and perform the superstitious tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight.
If you’re the type to eat food at night, be sure and stay away from Turkey…
7. …Or You’ll Eat Flesh
In Turkey, it’s said that eating bubble gum after dark, turns that gum into dead flesh – human flesh. If you don’t mind being a cannibal, by all means: eat! Chew! Milk that gum for all its worth! That is to say, if you don’t mind offending (and terrifying) thousands of Turks.
Graveyards are where the dead (Lord rest their souls) sleep peacefully. Everyone who’s anyone has someone they love in a graveyard. Thankfully, we also have friends and family still in our lives.
In Japan, when you walk past a graveyard, you’d better tuck your thumbs into your fist, otherwise your parents may meet an unfortunate end years sooner than they were supposed to.
9. Break Your Mother’s Back
This one dates back all the way to the late 19th century. Hoo boy! Sadly, this one’s a bit racist. The original phrase was, “Don’t step on a crack or you’ll turn black.” Its origin was a sign of unfortunate times.
10. Do You Fear The Devil?
Be careful when you venture through Portugal. Some say walking backwards will directly show the devil your path, leading him right towards you.
Do Superstitions Bring Us Together?
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. However we feel about superstitions, whether they’re silly wives’ tales, or grounded in reality and (in all seriousness) making a lot of sense, there’s no denying that every single person, on every single country in our massive world, is affected by superstitions. The same things we fear or love today, are possibly the same “life lessons” our ancestors lived by thousands of years ago.
If superstitions are one of the few remaining links we have to our ancestry, then what’s the harm in believing something, no matter how “outrageous” or head-turning it is, to be connected to our past? A belief is a belief, and no one can undermine someone’s deeply-held belief.
Now, I’m going to go to Russia, where it’s believed that if a bird drops a “gift” on you, your car, or your property, you’re on your path to riches.
Featured photo credit: Superstitions, via prezi.com