Strange superstitions around the world

Superstitions have existed in every country and culture throughout the world and they often survive even as science and rationality become the norm. What leads to the development of a superstition and why people continue to believe them is often a mystery, but they can have a remarkable power over those that do.

Latin America – weddings

A curious national superstition  that is rife throughout the whole of Latin America is that it is a bad omen for a couple to get married on a Tuesday. That does not mean that no-one gets married on that day of the week, but it does mean that people will try to arrange their weddings for other days if they can. Picking a Tuesday that is also the 13th is considered even more unfortunate, but unlucky 13 is a common superstition across much of the globe, rather than being distinct to this one part of it.

India – nail cutting and haircuts

Many people in India still hold to the strange superstitious belief that if they cut their nails after dark this will lead them to suffer from bad luck. There have been some suggestions that this belief originally derived from a rational fear of suffering injury as a result of using sharp objects when it is dark, but it is still clearly a superstition. Personal grooming seems to be the basis of many unusual Indian cultural beliefs, as having your hair cut on Saturday is also viewed as bad luck in that country.

Russia – empty bottles

Not all superstitions are to do with bad luck, as sometimes the belief is that a particular action will bring you good fortune. For example, in Russia many believe that they will enjoy good luck if they sit bottles that are empty on the ground.

Placing empty bottles on the ground is considered a good luck practice in Russia. The superstition comes from a legend involving Russian soldiers in the 19th century.

Many cultural superstitions have obscure origins, but this one is thought to date back to a 19th century military story that told of Russian soldiers in Parisian bars hiding their empties under the table instead of leaving them sitting on it, so they could save cash to buy more.

Japan – chopsticks

Chopsticks are frequently used when eating in Japan, but you must be careful how you place them in your bowl of food if you do not want to attract negative attention. Putting them into the bowl so that they stick straight up is seen as a bad sign in that country.

The reason for this is that the two sticks pointing up bear a close resemblance to the number four as written in Japanese, which is the number that relates to death in the culture of Japan. The sticks also look like sticks of incense that are a feature of Japanese funerals, further strengthening this superstitious belief.

Every part of the world has its own superstitions that appear strange to anyone who has not grown up in that environment. What is fascinating is how these beliefs remain a part of societies in the modern age.

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1 year ago

Hmm. An article out of the blue. But since it has already been written, let me add my two cents. Every religion is a superstition. But a true believer never sees it as such, and is very quick to label other religions as being fake. So let us respect each other’s superstitions. In this generous spirit, I for one will utter no word against my man Bushiri for the next 3 hours …. This is a solemn promise!

1 year ago
Reply to  Ngombwax

Asowa zolembaaa, Chisale, cashmadam, et al zatha fashoooo.Tikufuna mutiuze mbava zonse zamalo mma city……

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