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Fear of the Unknown: 10 Surprising (And Exotic) Superstitions Around The World

Fear of the Unknown: 10 Surprising (And Exotic) Superstitions Around The World

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.

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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!

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4. 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…

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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.

8. Graveyards

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.

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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

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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