Here in the UK it’s common to speak to individuals who refuse to walk under ladders or on top of cracks in the pavement, and who do everything they can to avoid breaking a mirror out of fear that something terrible will happen if they do.
These commonly held beliefs by a large percentage of UK residents are nowhere near as odd as some of the superstitions around the world….so here’s 10 of the oddest traditionally held beliefs from different countries that will baffle even the most superstitious of Britons!
Unlucky numbers - China
In China, the pronunciation of the number ‘four’ is almost exactly the same as the pronunciation of the word ‘death’, therefore the number four is avoided. Similarly, they’ve also taken on Western beliefs that the numbers 13 and 23 are unlucky. If you were to get into a lift, various numbers would be missing; 4, 13, 14, 23, 24, 34… and so on.
Chewing gum - Turkey
It’s not common place to see Turkish people chewing gum at night as the gum is said to become the flesh of dead people. It’s enough to put you off chewing gum for life, isn’t it?
The position of your money - Brazil
The superstitious in Brazil believe that it’s bad luck to let either your money, your purse/wallet or your handbag touch the floor. If this happens, it’s said that you’re about to lose money.
Bad luck for mums - Haiti
If you’re Mum is still alive, there are numerous things that you just shouldn’t do in Haiti in order to prevent an untimely death for the woman that gave birth to you. These include not walking with just one shoe on, not eating the top of watermelons or grapefruits, and not moving around on your knees.
Broken tableware - Denmark
Broken plates, dishes and cups are saved throughout the year, and on New Year’s Eve people can be see throwing these broken pieces at the homes of their family and friends for good luck in the new year. The bigger the pile of broken tableware, the more luck will be coming their way during the next year.
Bad luck personified - Argentina
It’s believed that the former Argentinian President, Carlos Menem, was the physical manifestation of bad luck, and anyone within ear shot of someone saying his name will touch either their right breast or testicle to protect themselves (whereas we in the UK would touch wood).
Pot holes - Sweden
Pot holes with the letter “K” on the lid identify fresh water – love, to the superstitious – and others are marked with the letter “A” on the lid identifying sewage – or broken love, to the superstitious. Some believe that their love life will be affected by the amount of “K” and “A” pot holes they pass over and will make diversions to allow for more of one than the other.
Food for thought - Vietnam
Exams can be a stressful time, and students in Vietnam are careful with what they eat in the lead up to any important tests they might be preparing for. For example, the Vietnamese will avoid bananas whilst revising as they’re considered to be slippery, and the Vietnamese word for ‘slip’ sounds almost the same as the Vietnamese word for ‘fail’.
Dog faeces - France
Whilst many would consider stepping in dog poo to be bad luck, the French believe that if you step in it with your left foot then you’re in for some good luck. Only with your left foot though, it’s still considered bad luck if it’s your right foot.
Scissors - Egypt
The Egyptians believe that it’s incredibly bad luck to open and close scissors when you’re not cutting anything, but even worse is to leave scissors in the open position – this is said to cut evil spirits that are lingering around, which makes them angry. On the flip side, sleeping with a pair of scissors underneath your pillow can help to cure you of nightmares.