17 Strangest Superstitions in the World

No matter which part of the world you come from, it no doubt has some strange superstitions. Whether that’s knocking on wood or having an unlucky day, superstitions can vary depending on where you come from. Here are the 17 strangest superstitions in the world.

Tuesday the 13th in Spain

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In Spain, Tuesday the 13th is considered to be more unlucky than Friday the 13th. For example, Babbel writes, “While Friday the 13th is considered unlucky in many countries, in Spain it’s actually Tuesday the 13th. This is why you should never, ever get married or travel on a Tuesday that lands on the 13th.”

Friday the 17th in Italy

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In Italy, Friday the 17th is considered to be the unluckiest day. It’s considered to be even more unlucky if you wear purple on this day. There are certain rituals that you can do to prevent bad luck, which include touching different body parts. This reflects Italy’s nuances when it comes to superstition.

Avoiding A-labeled Manhole Covers in Sweden

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A-labeled manhole covers are believed to bring bad luck in Sweden, including discontinued love and unemployment. This certain superstition also creates mindfulness about where a person steps, so it could stop many injuries. This manhole superstition shows Sweden’s unique take on everyday omens.

The Curse of Gifting Knives in Turkey

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Daily Sabah writes, “If someone gifts you a knife then you are supposed to give them a coin to prevent a fight from erupting between you both in the future.” Instead of handing someone a knife, Turks will place it down on a table or surface, and then the receiver can pick it up.

Rain During Sunshine in Nigeria

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In Nigeria, if it starts raining while it has been sunny, then it can signify certain natural events, such as a lioness giving birth or two huge elephants fighting. This illustrates how nature influences superstition in Nigeria and blends meteorological phenomena with cultural love.

Yellow Flowers in Russia

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In Russia, yellow flowers symbolize infidelity, separation, or death. They shouldn’t be given as a gift to loved ones, as it could bring some serious bad luck. It reflects how different cultures interpret superstitions and shows how one color can have such a huge impact on someone’s life.

Saying ‘Rabbit, Rabbit’ for Good Luck in the UK

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Symbol Sage writes, “In the U.K., saying the words ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ or even ‘White Rabbit’ at the beginning of the month ensures that your luck doesn’t run out for the rest of the month.” This superstition is tied to ancient beliefs about rabbits in the underworld. It’s a simple practice that has deep, historical roots.

Don’t Whistle Indoors in Russia

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If you whistle indoors in Russia, it can be seen as inviting evil spirits or bad luck into a home. This shows a cultural aversion to certain sounds being made in a home. Other Eastern European countries have similar superstitions, which shows how they’ve made their way across to other countries.

Not Rocking an Empty Rocking Chair in the US

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Atlas Mythica writes, “According to this superstition, rocking an empty chair is an invitation for ghosts and spirits to come sit in it.” This superstition is tied to folklore around death omens and the supernatural. It’s mainly predominant in American and North European cultures.

Avoiding Ship Names Ending in “A”

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If you name a ship and the last letter is an “a,” then this can bring bad luck to the vessel. Its origins are thought to link back to historical maritime disasters. For example, there was the sinking of the Lusitania and the Britannia. This superstition reflects deep-seated superstitions in seafaring communities.

Wedding Veils to Ward off Evil Spirits

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This superstition is rooted in Roman folklore and is supposed to be a way to protect brides. Veils originated in Rome, and it was thought that if a bride’s face was hidden, evil spirits wouldn’t find her. This superstition has highlighted how it can be blended into cultural celebrations, especially during a time of celebration.

The Evil Eye in Turkey

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There was a widespread belief in the protective power of Nazar Boncuğu. The evil eye was used as a talisman to ward off any bad energy. For example, Too Istanbul writes, “Turkish people believe that this amulet protects its holder from the bad energies by absorbing them.”

The Special Number Forty in Turkey

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The number forty is believed to bring luck in Turkey and is considered to be a powerful number. It’s also believed that if you say something forty times, it will come true. This number is even embedded in various cultural practices and sayings across Turkey. It shows just how significant numerology is in Turkish culture.

Opening Umbrellas Indoors

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Open umbrellas should be kept to the outside only. Opening an umbrella indoors is supposed to bring bad luck, as it’s an insult to guardian spirits. This superstition is rooted in ancient sun worship and protection symbols. It’s a common superstition that has spread across the world; however, it does have elements of impracticality.

Lucky Rabbit’s Foot

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Carrying a rabbit’s foot is supposed to represent good fortune, especially if it’s obtained under specific circumstances. For example, List 25 writes, “To have this token is an unfortunate thing for the rabbit but a magnet of fortune for the wearer.” This lucky rabbit foot mixes ancient beliefs with modern superstitions.

Knocking on Wood

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This practice is supposed to avoid tempting fate after acknowledging good fortune. It goes back to calling upon ancient spirits that live in trees. We have even developed the saying “touch wood” to go with knocking on it. This reflects how ancient beliefs encourage modern superstitions, even in today’s society.

Carlos Menem: A Living Curse in Argentina

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Mentioning his name is thought to bring bad luck. Carlos Menem was a former president in Argentina, and he’s thought to be a living curse. There are even unique rituals for counteracting the curse. It’s a national superstition and shows the impact that a historical figure can have on a country.

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