27+ Superstitions | List of Superstitions

Superstitions have been a part of human culture for centuries, influencing behaviors and beliefs in various societies.

This article explores a range of common and intriguing superstitions from around the world.

Origins of Superstitions

Superstitions often arise from historical events, cultural beliefs, or attempts to explain the unknown.

They are passed down through generations, becoming ingrained in societal norms and practices.

Historical Superstitions

In ancient Rome, spilling salt was believed to bring bad luck, leading to the practice of throwing salt over the left shoulder to ward off evil spirits.

This superstition persists today in various cultures.

Cultural Superstitions

In Japanese culture, the number four is avoided as it sounds similar to the word for death.

This leads to the omission of the fourth floor in some buildings, similar to the avoidance of the number 13 in Western cultures.

Common Superstitions

Breaking a Mirror

Believed to bring seven years of bad luck, this superstition has its roots in the ancient Roman belief that mirrors held pieces of one’s soul.

Walking Under a Ladder

Considered bad luck due to its association with the Christian trinity; a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, and passing through it breaks the Trinity.

Black Cats Crossing Your Path

In medieval Europe, black cats were associated with witchcraft and bad luck. However, in some cultures, they are considered good luck.

Superstitions Around the World

An Itchy Palm

In many cultures, an itchy right palm is believed to signify incoming wealth, while an itchy left palm suggests impending financial loss.


Tossing Coins in a Fountain

Originating from ancient practices of offering gifts to water deities, throwing coins in fountains is now a common practice for making wishes.

Superstitions in Daily Life

Knocking on Wood

This practice is believed to ward off bad luck or prevent a boastful statement from coming true.

It likely originates from ancient pagan cultures where spirits were thought to reside in trees.

Avoiding the Number 13

Fear of the number 13, or triskaidekaphobia, is widespread.

It’s often attributed to the Last Supper, where Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, was the 13th guest.

Superstitions and Modern Society

While many superstitions may seem outdated, they continue to influence modern behaviors and decisions.

From architectural designs that omit certain floor numbers to athletes following specific pre-game rituals, superstitions are deeply embedded in human culture.

Because sports outcomes aren’t known ahead of time, rituals develop as something that athletes believe they can control.

Summary – List of Superstitions

Here are some common superstitions:

  1. Walking under a ladder: Considered bad luck because it was believed that evil spirits resided in the triangle shape formed by the ladder, wall, and ground.
  2. Black cats crossing your path: In some cultures, it’s believed to bring bad luck, possibly due to associations with witches.
  3. Breaking a mirror: Thought to bring seven years of bad luck, possibly originating from the idea that mirrors held pieces of the soul.
  4. Knocking on wood: Done to prevent bad luck or to stop something bad from happening by invoking the protection of the spirits in the trees.
  5. Throwing salt over your left shoulder: If you spill salt, throwing a pinch over your left shoulder is supposed to ward off bad luck or evil spirits.
  6. Avoiding the number 13: Particularly in Western cultures, this number is often omitted in floor numbers, room numbers, etc., due to its association with bad luck.
  7. Crossing fingers for good luck: Originally a symbol of the Christian cross, it’s now widely used to wish for luck or to excuse a white lie.
  8. An itchy palm: Often signifies that money is coming or going, with the right palm for incoming wealth and the left for money to be paid out.
  9. Opening an umbrella indoors: Believed to bring bad luck, possibly because it insults the spirit of the home.
  10. A rabbit’s foot: Carried as an amulet for good luck, possibly originating from Celtic tribes in Europe.
  11. Horseshoe over the door: Hung over the door for good luck, often with the ends facing upward to “hold” the luck.
  12. Birds in the house: Seeing a bird in the house or a bird flying into a window can be seen as an omen of death or bad luck in some cultures.
  13. Saying “Bless you” after someone sneezes: Originated to protect the soul or to keep evil spirits from entering the body when the sneeze expelled the spirit.
  14. Avoiding stepping on cracks: The rhyme “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” reflects the superstition that stepping on cracks in the pavement could bring bad luck.
  15. Not opening umbrellas indoors: Doing so is thought to bring bad luck, possibly because it would insult or anger household spirits.
  16. Finding a penny, picking it up: Finding a penny and picking it up is thought to bring a day of good luck.
  17. Seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror: Stemming from the belief that mirrors hold pieces of the soul or are windows to the future.
  18. Avoiding whistling indoors: In some cultures, whistling inside is believed to attract bad luck, thieves, or evil spirits.
  19. Touching red: In some Asian cultures, touching something red or wearing red during examinations is believed to bring good luck.
  20. Hanging lemon and green chilies: In India, this combination is hung outside homes to ward off evil spirits.
  21. Tossing spilled salt over your left shoulder: Throwing it over your left shoulder is supposed to blind the devil waiting there.
  22. No hats on the bed: Placing a hat on the bed is sometimes considered an omen of bad luck or even death, as it was traditionally associated with funerals.
  23. No singing at the dinner table: Singing while eating is thought to lead to a crazy household or bad fortune.
  24. Avoiding the number 4: In some East Asian cultures, the word for “four” sounds like the word for “death,” so it’s often avoided in addresses, phone numbers, and floor levels.
  25. Wearing red underwear during New Year’s: In some Latin American countries, it’s believed to bring new love in the upcoming year.
  26. Tossing coins in a fountain: Throwing coins into a fountain or well is believed to bring good luck or ensure a return to the place.
  27. Not putting shoes on the table: This is thought to bring bad luck, possibly because it symbolizes death (as dead miners were identified by their shoes being placed above ground).
  28. Hanging dream catchers: Originating from Native American cultures, dream catchers are believed to protect the sleeper from bad dreams.

These superstitions vary greatly across different cultures and regions, with some being light-hearted traditions and others taken more seriously.

Each has its own background and story, often rooted in historical or religious contexts.


Superstitions, varying from historical beliefs to cultural practices, play a significant role in shaping human behavior and perspectives.

Beyond the commonly known superstitions, there are many others from various cultures around the world.

Despite their irrational nature, they offer a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of human culture and psychology.

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