The most bizarre superstitions from around the world


Written by:

In the grand, often bewildering theater of human existence, where we tiny beings hustle and bustle on a blue dot in the infinite cosmos, we’ve devised a fascinating array of superstitions to give ourselves a semblance of control, a whisper of connection to the mysterious forces that govern our world. Across diverse cultures and vibrant landscapes, you’ll find eclectic beliefs, each more intriguing and peculiar than the last, shaping the daily lives and rituals of people.

Image Credit: Bulgnn / iStock.

Don’t whistle indoors in Russia

In Russia, whistling indoors is believed to whisk away financial prosperity. This superstition dates back to ancient times when people believed that whistling could summon the wind, which would consequently bring misfortune and hardship. So, next time you find yourself humming a tune indoors in Russia, perhaps you might want to reconsider.

Image Credit: BartekSzewczyk / iStock.

Don’t chew gum at night in Turkey

In Turkey, there is a prevalent superstition that chewing gum at night is not simply a bad habit, but it is transformed into the flesh of the dead.  Although the origin of this belief is quite unclear, it might be rooted in ancient traditions to avoid attracting evil spirits during the night. It’s best to stick to chewing gum during daylight hours when in Turkey!

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Don’t toast with water in Germany

In Germany, toasting with water is considered to bring death upon those you are toasting with. This superstition stems from Greek mythology where the dead would drink water from the river Lethe to forget their past lives. So, if you find yourself in a celebratory moment in Germany, it might be best to stick with a traditional beverage to avoid any potential ill-wishes or awkward moments!

Image Credit: Carso80 / iStock.

Don’t write a person’s name in red ink in South Korea

In South Korea, it’s considered bad luck to write someone’s name using red ink. This superstition stems from a time when red ink was used to record the names of the deceased in family registries or on gravestones. Thus, using red ink to write a living person’s name is perceived as wishing harm or even death upon them. This tradition has deep roots in the culture, and many people still adhere to it today, avoiding the use of red ink for writing names as a sign of respect and goodwill. . To avoid causing alarm or offense, always opt for a different ink color when writing names in South Korea.

Image Credit:

Don’t open an umbrella indoors in the USA

Opening an umbrella indoors in the United States is widely considered to bring bad luck. This superstition possibly originates from the time when umbrellas with metal spokes were common, which could pose a danger when opened indoors. To prevent accidents and bad luck, it’s best to unfold your umbrella outside.

Image Credit: evgenyatamanenko.

Keep your thumbs hidden in Sweden

In Sweden, it’s common to hide your thumbs when you see a hearse or a funeral procession to ward off death. This superstition is believed to protect the individual from being the next in line for death’s visit.

Image Credit:

Don’t walk under a ladder in the UK

In the UK, walking under a ladder is believed to bring bad luck. This belief might be linked to the triangle shape that a ladder forms against a wall, symbolizing the Holy Trinity in Christianity. Walking through this triangle could be seen as breaking the Trinity, hence bringing misfortune. To sidestep bad luck, simply walk around the ladder.

Image Credit: Artistan / iStock.

Don’t step on books in Iran

In Iran, stepping on books or any written material is considered an omen of bad luck. This superstition stems from the high value placed on knowledge and learning in Iranian culture. To keep the good vibes flowing, always treat books with respect and keep them off the floor.

Image Credit: guss95 / iStock.

Don’t gift clocks in China

In China, giving clocks as gifts is frowned upon, as the word for ‘clock’ sounds similar to the word for ‘death’. This superstition is deeply embedded in the Chinese language and cultural nuances. To avoid inadvertently wishing death upon someone, opt for a different gift when in China.

Image Credit: shih-wei.

Don’t hand scissors with blades first in India

In India, handing over scissors or knives with the blades first is considered to cut the bonds of friendship. This superstition might stem from the potential danger that sharp blades pose. To maintain friendly relations, always hand over scissors or knives with the handle first in India.

Image Credit: Gudni Einarsson / iStock.

Don’t wear red during a storm in the Philippines

In the Philippines, wearing red during a storm is believed to attract lightning. This superstition perhaps originates from the striking and attention-grabbing nature of the color red. To keep safe during a storm, it’s recommended to choose more subdued hues for your attire.

Image Credit:

Don’t give compliments in the Balkans

In the Balkan countries, when you give someone a compliment — especially a young child — it’s customary to spit (usually a symbolic air-spit) or utter a bad word afterward to ward off the evil eye. 

This superstition, deeply ingrained in the culture, is believed to protect the person being complimented from bad luck or evil spirits that might be attracted by the praise. So, if you find yourself handing out compliments in the Balkans, remember to follow up with a protective spit or a bad word to keep the evil at bay.

Image Credit: BunusevacB / iStock.

Avoid passing the salt hand to hand in Egypt

In Egypt, passing salt hand to hand is seen as a precursor to arguments and conflict. To avoid this, salt is often placed down before another person picks it up, promoting harmony and good relations.

Image Credit: RalphyS / iStock.

Don’t sit at the corner of a table in Hungary

If you find yourself dining in Hungary, be careful not to take a seat at the corner of the table, especially if you are single. This Hungarian superstition holds that whoever sits at the corner of the table will not get married for at least another seven years. This belief stems from the old times and has to do with the layout of the table, which traditionally has sharp corners. People believe that the negative energy concentrated at the corners can impact a person’s love life negatively.

Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Don’t hand a knife directly to a person in Iceland

When in Iceland, one might notice a unique etiquette when it comes to handing over a knife to someone. It is considered bad luck to hand a knife directly from one person’s hand to another. This superstition is deeply rooted in the Icelandic culture, stemming from the belief that handing over a knife directly can sever the relationship between the two individuals. To avoid any potential friction or bad luck, it’s customary to place the knife down on a surface first, and then the other person can pick it up.

Image Credit: MarekUsz / iStock.

Refrain from saying “rabbit” on the Isle of Portland

In the peculiar world of superstitions, the Isle of Portland in England takes a unique stand with its prohibition against the utterance of the word “rabbit”. This superstition is deeply ingrained in the local folklore, with origins that are somewhat murky yet undoubtedly old. It is believed that using the word can bring bad luck, especially among the older generation and traditionalists.

The reason behind this superstition might be linked to the local quarrymen who considered rabbits to be bad omens since they could burrow into and weaken the walls of quarries, causing potential landslides and accidents. Therefore, referring to these creatures by their actual name was deemed to bring bad luck. Instead, locals devised various alternative names and descriptions, like “underground mutton”, to avoid invoking the curse of mentioning rabbits.

Image Credit: Андрей Клеменков / iStock.

Never toast with an empty glass in Spain

A glass brimming with liquid often signals celebration, unity, and good times ahead, especially in Spain, where the act of toasting takes on a significant cultural role. However, toasting with an empty glass is not only considered bad form, but it’s also believed to bring about bad luck. This superstition traces its roots to the belief that celebrating with a void, lacking substance, might mirror the outcome of the endeavor being celebrated – devoid of success or happiness.

Image Credit: Alvaro Fernandez Echeverria / iStock.

Don’t sing at the dining table in France

In France, singing at the dining table is considered a taboo. This superstition is rooted in the belief that singing at the table will upset the spirits or bring misfortune to the singer’s life, especially in terms of love and marriage. So, preserve the tunes for post-dinner entertainment to avoid bad luck.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: Wirestock / iStock.

More from MediaFeed

‘Fart after eating’ & other fascinating world etiquette rules

Like MediaFeed’s content? Be sure to follow us.

Image Credit: