You’ve probably heard your mother tell you not to go swimming after eating on more than one occasion. Or maybe you’ve been told to avoid crossing paths with black cats, walking under ladders, or that bad news comes in threes. These are all popular old wives’ tales in the United States. People pass around superstitions for a number of reasons, but the main reason is fear. Keep reading so you can find out about superstitions from around the world and put an end to some of these silly, outdated beliefs.Never make a toast with beer. Apparently, the Austrians used to cheer with beer when they celebrated their victory over Hungary. The Hungarians pledged to observe “no cheers with beers” for 150 years, but to this day many Hungarians still don’t clink beers.
It’s believed that the bread represents the body of Christ, so laying it upside down is a sign of disrespect to the son of god. So if you’re getting weird looks while eating at a restaurant in Italy, check to make sure that your bread is sitting the correct way.
It’s not only extremely difficult to get people together in the middle of the week for a celebration, but it’s also believed that getting married on a Tuesday will cause the relationship to receive bad luck.
In parts of Europe, it is believed that if you use a candle to light a cigarette, then a sailor will surely die. It’s rumored that the superstition came from the fact that sailors used to make extra money by selling matches, so using a candle instead of a match took money out of the sailor’s pocket, ultimately causing his death.
In fact, it’s actually considered bad luck to return home if you forget something in certain parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. If it’s imperative that you go back home to retrieve what you forgot, you must look into a mirror, and in some cases smile, before you can set off on your journey again.
There’s an old wives’ tale from Rwanda that says a woman who eats meat from a goat will most likely grow a beard and become too stubborn for a man. Luckily, the women there will tell you that the tale comes from greedy men who wanted all of the meat for themselves.
No, the reason why it’s bad luck is because of something much more taboo. In the old days, in order to attract clients, prostitutes would put their keys on tables in public areas. So, the superstition was created to deter people from accidentally setting themselves up for failure.
The Pennsylvania Germans believe that it’s bad luck to bathe or change clothes in between Christmas and the New Year. Also, don’t even think about changing your underwear during this time or you could end up with a bunch of boils showing up on your body.
Well, at least don’t pass it to anyone by hand. According to the traditions in Tajikistan, items like keys, scissors, money, and needles should never be passed from hand to hand. Instead, it’s encouraged to put the money on a table, or another flat surface, so the other person can pick it up themselves.
A tradition from the Pennsylvania Germans claims that if the first visit you receive on New Year’s Day is from a woman, then you’ll have horrible luck for the entire year. But if the visitor is a man, then your luck will be good. Imagine that, an entire year based off of who knocks on your door first!
In Japan, they bury dead bodies with their heads facing north, and in Africa, they’re buried with their heads facing the west. So in both of these countries, it’s superstitious to sleep with your head facing in these directions. Your best bet is to just carry your compass with you so you never have to worry about facing the “wrong” way.
According to a superstition from Azerbaijan, it’s bad luck to spill salt or pepper. This most likely comes from the fact that spices are so expensive there. So in order to cancel out the bad vibes, they’ll throw a little bit of sugar on the ground, as well.
This Welsh tradition from the 19th-century says that it’s bad luck to cut an infants nails if they’re under six months old. There are different versions of this superstition out there. One of them claims that cutting an infant’s nails will just cause a bit of bad luck, other superstitions claim the child will grow up to be a thief.
They believed that tripping over something was bad luck, but that’s not all. According to the book What They Say in New England, which was published in 1896, the only way to avoid having bad luck was to walk back over the thing again. “If it is a stone you have fallen over, go back and touch it,” read the passage in the book.
As it turns out, the Turkish Ministry of Culture believes that anyone who drinks water that has the moon’s reflection in it will surely suffer from bad luck. It’s apparently okay to bathe in the moonlight, though. As per the ministry, “People, who bath[e] under the moonlight and in shadow, will shine as bright as the moon.”
According to Serbian superstitions, it’s actually bad luck to give baby compliments. Instead, parents would prefer it if you called their baby ugly!
You guessed it, walking under a ladder became superstitious back in medieval times. Back then, the ladder was a symbol of the gallows, which is where people were sentenced to death by hanging.
According to a superstition from the early 20th-century, anytime a person moves to a new house, all of the old dishrags from their old house must be burned before the move. It was believed that any cloth that was used to wipe up the old home also wiped up the bad luck of the home. So, burning the cloth destroys the bad luck so it doesn’t follow the homeowner to their new residence.
In fact, it’s actually forbidden to whistle indoors because they believe that the sound will summon spirits. It’s also considered rude to whistle while you’re working alongside another person.
Some Asian countries believe that it is extremely unlucky to cut your nails after dark. Some people believe that the tradition comes from the dangers of pointing sharp things at your hand in the dark, while others believe that separating a nail while it’s nighttime could attract spirits to the person.
Actually, Kenyans believe that owls are the messengers of death. According to their superstition, hearing or seeing one of these beautiful creatures means bad news. Some of their people even believe that owls are sent to deliver curses to unsuspecting recipients.
In Germany, it is highly discouraged to say happy birthday to someone before their actual birthday. It’s generally believed that doing so will bring the person bad luck, but one German gave a much stranger consequence of saying happy birthday too early. “My grandma always said you’d have blue children,” said the person being interviewed.
According to a Filipino tradition known as pagpag, it’s never wise to go straight home after a wake or a funeral. It is believed that doing so could cause a malevolent spirit to attach itself to your body. Typically, people will stop at a restaurant before they go home to prevent this from happening.
According to some of the fishing regions in China, it’s bad luck to flip a cooked fish over. Some people believe that doing so could actually cause a ship to capsize! To prevent this from happening, families will use chopsticks to pick the meat off the bottom of the fish when they are done eating from the top.
In South Korea, people are told that they shouldn’t shake their legs, or they could risk having their good luck and wealth fall out. Well, there goes their tourism! No one with anxiety is going to want to go there now!
The noise of the bells chiming is believed to scare any evil spirits away and to remind the newlyweds of their vows. At some Irish weddings, you might even see tiny bells handed out as gifts to guests.
For example, you should never point them at someone, which is obviously just pretty rude. It’s also believed that sticking your chopsticks straight into the rice makes them look like the unlucky number four, so you should avoid doing that, as well.
It’s an old Feng Shui belief, but Brazilians also believe that if a person puts their wallet or purse on the floor they will end up being broke. Make sure you keep your money off the ground or risk losing it all.
If you want to give a Russian person a bouquet of flowers, make sure to skip out on the yellow ones, especially if it’s in a bridal bouquet. Yellow flowers symbolize the end of a relationship or infertility. Also, unless you’re going to a funeral, always give away flowers in odd numbers.
If you’re pregnant while in Korea, avoid unshapely foods for a while. Koreans believe that eating these types of foods while pregnant will cause the baby to turn out to be ugly. Is that really all it takes?
We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale about what happens to your poor mother if you step on a crack, well Sweden has a very similar superstition. Instead of avoiding cracks in the road, though, the people in Sweden have to look out for manholes. If a person steps on one that has the letter A on it, then they’ll be cursed with bad luck and heartbreak.
During the festival, people dance and sing to drumming sounds while holding snakes in their hands. Some receive snake bites because they believe this will bring them good luck and cure any ailments.
In the Middle East, scissors should never be opened or closed without cutting something first. The reason behind this superstition is unknown, but it’s a great rule of thumb regardless of where it came from.