Superstitions

Common Superstitions From Around The World

Written by Anya Hubbard

Superstitions. Google defines superstitions as an excessively credulous belief in and reverence for supernatural beings. To further this definition they also say that it is a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.

Superstitions are all around us whether we realize it or not. A superstition is something as simple as crossing your fingers for good luck or not walking under a ladder because it will cause bad luck. In this article, you will hear about some of the craziest superstitions that you might find hard to believe and the origin of some of the famous ones you often hear.

The famous superstition that walking under a ladder will cause you bad luck is very popular and often joked about in today’s society. This superstition originated about 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. When a ladder is leaned up against a wall, it creates a triangle. In ancient Egypt, triangles were viewed as a sacred shape that represents the trinity of the gods. To pass through the triangle was seen as a violent disrespect to these gods. This belief made its way up through the ages. Jumping forward to England in the 1600s, this superstition was still common. During this time, criminals were forced to walk under a ladder on their way to the gallows. The executioners made them do this in the hope of causing them bad luck or even harm.

The next famous superstition is to throw salt over your left shoulder if you spilled it. Spilling salt has been considered unlucky for thousands of years. Around 3,500 B.C., the first group to create this superstition was the ancient Sumerians. They found salt as such a prized item and spilling it would bring bad luck. To essentially un-do this bad luck, they began tossing a pinch of salt over their left shoulder. This ritual spread to the Egyptians, Assyrians and later, the Greeks. The etymology of the word “salary” shows how highly we value it. Even in the Roman times, Roman soldiers were given special allowances for salt rations, called salarium ‘salt money’ the Latin word for our word ‘salary.’

The last superstition is something that everyone has probably done in their life, just as a common bandwagon action. Though historians say this may be one of the most prevalent superstitious customs in the United States, its origin is very much in doubt. This superstition is knocking on wood to prevent disappointment. Many say that this superstition began with an ancient religious rite of touching a crucifix when taking an oath. Others say that the origin came from the ignorant peasants of Europe. These peasants got into the habit of knocking loudly to keep out any evil spirits that may be around them.

Superstitions can be found left and right even in today’s society. There are so many more superstition origin stories and some crazy superstitions that you may have never heard of before. Make sure you check back next week for some absurd superstitions about mirrors and to learn why we say “God bless you” after someone sneezes.

 

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Anya Hubbard

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