1. The sweeping devil.
My roommate, whose mother is from Mexico, would never sweep or run the vacuum at night because of a superstition that demons would enter the house.
2. The red-hot baby.
In Poland they say that pregnant women shouldn’t stare at fire for too long or her baby will be ginger.
3. The bald moon.
My mum is old school Greek and said to never give a boy a haircut during a full moon, otherwise he’ll be bald later in life.
Katrina Alspaugh Adrian, Facebook
4. The sweeping death.
An Albanian woman I used to work for was extremely superstitious. She strongly believed that if a broom touched your feet while you or someone else was sweeping, your husband would die.
5. The lucky rice.
My family is from Iran and when I got my first period, my mum had me submerge my hands in uncooked rice because apparently it’s good luck.
6. The bad meal.
In Peru, many people believe that if a woman cooks during her period, the food will spoil.
7. The penny pay-out.
In Iceland, if you give someone a knife as a present they have to pay you a penny so it doesn’t ‘cut the bonds of friendship’.
Ása Guõmundsdóttir, Facebook
8. The grape overload.
In Spain, there’s a tradition on New Year’s where you have to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds before midnight. Supposedly, if you don’t eat them all in under 12 seconds, you get bad luck.
9. The snake call.
I’m Japanese, but when I was little my mum told me that if you whistle at night snakes will come to you.
Chee Nakashima, Facebook
10. The unlucky fingers.
My old music teacher was Welsh and told us to never cross our fingers on both hands because otherwise it cancels out the luck.
11. The rich pig.
In Korea, if you dream about pigs it means you’ll earn a lot of money soon. Additionally, if you dream of losing a tooth, it means one of your relatives will pass away soon.
12. The three-day rule.
My wonderful Lebanese grandmother has a lot of superstitions. You can’t hand someone a salt shaker unless you set it down first, and you can’t change the bed sheets or sweep the floor until at least three days after a house guest has left.
13. The unlucky day.
In many parts of India, it’s considered bad luck to wash your hair or cut your nails on a Thursday.
14. The satanic whistle.
My Russian stepmum wouldn’t let me whistle indoors because it would summon the devil.
15. The cool way to go.
In South Korea, fans are made with a timer knob to turn off after a certain number of minutes. It’s believed sleeping with a fan on in a closed room will kill you.
16. The salty pocket.
In Southern Italy it’s believed that when leaving for a trip, an exam, or anything deemed risky or difficult, you should have the elders throw a pinch of salt in your shoes, in your pockets, or on top of your head.
17. The cold ovaries.
In Romania, they believe that if a woman sits on the ground without a cushion or rug under her, her ovaries will freeze and she won’t be able to have babies.
18. The haunted trees.
My son’s father’s family is from the Middle East. Since my son was born, we weren’t allowed to take him under trees at night because of spirits going inside him.
19. The wet prevention.
Macedonians spit three times to prevent a jinx, like Americans knock on wood or throw salt over their shoulder when they spill it.
20. The selective gifts.
In Chinese culture, you shouldn’t give someone clocks or shoes as gifts because ‘clock’ in Chinese sounds the same as ‘end’ – so if you give a clock, it basically means death. Giving shoes is basically like telling that person to leave your life.
Tiffany Yen, Facebook
21. The seated luck.
My Irish family believes that if you leave the house and immediately return to grab a forgotten item, you need to sit on a chair before you leave again.
22. The dress debacle.
It’s an Italian superstition that if you put on a wedding dress and you aren’t engaged, you’ll have seven years of bad sex.
23. The unfamiliar door.
A superstition in my family, which came from my Lithuanian grandmother, is that you can’t open the front door of a home belonging to someone you’ve known less than seven years.
24. The irritated nose.
A Jewish superstition is that if you sneeze, you need to pull your left ear. In the old times, people would sneeze and then die. So pulling your ear is like pulling your soul down to your body.
25. The cursed clothing.
In the Philippines it’s believed that if you’re coming home from a wake or funeral, you shouldn’t go straight home or else you will bring misfortune or death to your household.
26. The owl boycott.
My mum believes that if you see an owl, you are going to die… Apparently it’s a superstition from where she comes from in Africa. She never let me get an owl phone case I wanted because of this ‘omen’.
27. The sharp rule.
In Indian culture, we generally aren’t supposed to directly hand someone scissors or knives, otherwise you’ll end up fighting with them.