If you see people crossing the road to avoid walking under ladders or running away from black cats today, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.
Yes, today is one of the unluckiest dates on the calendar, which typically sends millions of superstitious people around the globe into a state of panic.
Friday the 13th has been spooking people out for centuries, so it’s no surprise we end up doing some inexplicable things in the name of avoiding ‘bad luck’, having learned them as children from our parents or grandparents. Which ones do you do?
If Russian folklore is to be believed, sitting at the corner of a table is terribly bad luck for people who aren’t married. Many believe that anyone who does this will never get hitched. It’s probably best to keep your grandchildren away from those table corners, just in case.
Others hate having 13 people at a table – at the posh Savoy hotel in London, the management will even provide a large ceramic cat named Caspar to sit at the table, complete with full table setting, to make up a 14th guest.
As people who’ve been crapped on by a bird numerous times, we’re not convinced that this is an entirely accurate superstition. Many believe that you’ll become richer if a drop of poo lands on you – but we’re still writing stories for a living!
If you don’t want bad luck hanging over you, you’re going to want to be extra careful around mirrors – Ancient Romans believed that you’ll be haunted with seven years of bad luck if this happens.
Do you remember your parents cutting out the wishbone of a chicken during a Sunday roast dinner and then challenging someone at the dinner table to break off the biggest piece? For thousands of years, many believe snapping off the larger piece of bone would result in a wish coming true.
Despite the fact that you’ve already forked out cash for a new wallet or purse as a gift, you might not want to hand it over empty. Many say doing this will mean the recipient will never have money.
We’ve all been in an intense situation where we’re expecting some news and cross our fingers in hopes it won’t be bad. It is believed that the tradition originally started back in the 14th century.
We’re not sure why you would want to anyway, but it’s said to be bad luck to toast with water. German superstition states that you’re actually wishing death on someone if you do this.
Did you know that itchy palms are linked to both good and bad superstition? Apparently if your left palm is itchy, it means you’ll be giving money away, while a scratchy right palm means you’ll be coming into money.
If you’ve ever come home from shopping and placed a new pair of shoes on the table, chances are a loved one has told you off because it’s bad luck (or because they don’t want shoes, however clean, near their food). Many believe this superstition started when the footwear of dead miners was placed on tables.
No, we’re not talking about the hit song by Amii Stewart, but rather the habit of people knocking on wood to avoid bad luck. Many believe that good spirits live in trees and that by knocking on wood, you’re seeking guidance from them.
With magpie swooping season in full swing in Australia, you’d be excused for thinking these birds are always unlucky. Throughout the UK, many people believe coming across a single magpie is particularly bad luck, but that this can be reversed if you tip your hat. We’ll have to remember that next time we come between a mother magpie and her nest, though taking off our hat might not be the wisest move!
For many Japanese people, cutting your toenails at night is a major no-no. Japanese superstition suggests that doing so is not only dangerous, but can lead to an early death.
What is it about black cats that is so eerie and scary? Many actually link their bad luck to European times when old women who had black cats were accused of witchery.