Everyday Common Popular Superstitions
Superstitions are popular beliefs that pass on from generation to generation and many have originated from both pagan and religious practices and traditions. They were once necessary due to fear of events that people were not able to comprehend or explain. Nowadays, natural phenomena can be explained by science, but those times provided a fertile soil for the evolution and spread of superstitions.
Spilling Salt Can Cause Misfortune
This belief used to be important for economic reasons. Salt used to be a highly sought-after and precious commodity and was often used for its valuable medicinal benefits. Hence wasting any amount of salt was frowned upon. The word “salary” comes from the Latin word “solarium,” which meant that people in those times were paid in salt for their work and labor.
Knocking on Wood Brings Good Luck
This superstition originated from pagan beliefs. It was believed that good and positive spirits live in the woods, particularly in trees and everything made of wood. According to traditional beliefs, they can be released by knocking on any wooden surface. Their purpose is to protect you from harm and envy.
Walking under a Ladder
Many assume that walking under a ladder brings bad luck. This belief has a religious connotation. The ladder and the wall come to represent a triangle and, consequently, represent the Holy Triangle: God, the Holy Spirit and the Son. To enter that triangle would mean disrespect and may lead to bad luck.
Breaking a Mirror Leads to Seven Years of Bad Luck
Romans used mirrors to see reflections of themselves and considered them to be a real representation of the self and the soul. Whenever a mirror broke they believed that the self-was harmed in the process. Another Roman belief was that life renews itself every seven years so that this period was needed to recover and heal the “broken” parts of the self.
Protection from the Evil Eye
This belief is common among various religious and cultural traditions. It means that others may be, consciously or unconsciously, envious of your success and with their “looks” send evil spirits that may bring you misery and misfortune. The underlying belief is that looking at a person for a considerate amount of time may cause the person to “lose water” or life-giving liquid and to “dry up” and even die. As a protection, the ancient Egyptians believed that using makeup prevents evil spirits from entering through one’s eyes. In Zoroastrian traditions, the seeds of a plant called Aspand are burnt and the smoke is directed towards the affected people while reciting an ancient magical spell for protection against the evil eye. Nowadays, brides wear a veil which also started as a means to protect them from the evil eye.
Finding a Four-leaf Clover Signifies Good Luck
This superstition comes from Ireland and the shamrock was supposedly used by St. Patrick as a means to convert Celts to the Christian religion. The three leaves symbolized the Holy Trinity. Somebody who managed to find a shamrock with four leaves was very lucky because he or she was also imbued with God’s grace.