The “Evil Eye” and Other Superstitions From Around The World

16 July 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Girl with Umbrella

Unsplash: Chris King

It’s raining outside, so you better not open your umbrella while you’re still indoors, or else bad luck will follow you. If you don’t want that to happen, maybe just wait to open your umbrella when you’re outside… although, might that get you soaked? Nevertheless, the choice is yours – to open your umbrella outside or to open your umbrella inside.

Opening an umbrella inside a building, a house, or even a room is considered bad luck to some people. This belief is not new. The superstition has its roots in ancient Egypt around 1200 BCE when the Egyptians worshiped Ra, the sun god. Around this time, ancient Egyptian royals and priests used umbrellas made out of peacock feathers and papyrus to give shade from the scorching sun when outdoors. And the people believed that if the umbrella is opened indoors, this would enrage Ra and could have unfavorable effects on them.

Another ancient Egyptian theory centers on the goddess of the sky called Nut. Ancient Egyptians believed that these delicately crafted umbrellas reflected the way Nut protected the Earth. And her shade was deemed holy and sacred. As a result, if anyone who is not of noble blood uses an umbrella, that person will always have bad luck.

Even though this ancient superstition about an umbrella has been around for thousands of years, many people still believe in it. And that isn’t a bad thing, because you can be superstitious or a little stitious. What you choose to believe or not believe is your own thing. Just like other superstitious beliefs, many seem absurd and nonsensical. However, they still play a major role in society's diverse culture and tradition. So wherever you may be, learn about the superstitions around you and maybe you’ll end up picking an extra spice of luck!

Germany: Cheers with water

When making a toast with water in Germany, never ever say “Prost.” Because doing so would basically mean wishing death upon all your drinking mates. You definitely don’t want to do that.

United Kingdom: New shoes on the table

Don’t you dare prop your new kicks on the table, however cute they may be. According to a British belief, this is said to bring bad luck, and even symbolize the death of a family member. Please, new shoes must be off the table.

Turkey: Itchy hands

If your left palm is itchy, this means you will be spending money. But, if your right hand is itchy, this means you will be receiving money. Are any of your hands itching right now?

France: Stepping in dog poop

Sadly, if you step in dog poop with your right foot while in France, you're now cursed with a life of sorrow. Oh, mon Dieu! But, if you happen to step in dog poop with your left foot, you’re blessed with luck and fortune. Oh, mon Dieu!

Iceland: Knitting outside

When in Iceland, please don’t do your knitting outside your doorstep. It is believed that doing so would drag out winter by months. Brrrr… you don’t want that do you?

India: Getting a haircut on Tuesday

In Hinduism, Tuesday is considered an auspicious day because it is associated with the goddess Lakshmi who is the giver of wealth. Therefore, giving things away or even cutting hair is considered disrespectful because it can result in bad karma. So if you don’t want to upset Lakshmi, don’t ever get a haircut on a Tuesday in India.

Serbia: Spilling water behind someone

Want to wish someone luck in Serbia? Spill water behind that person! This belief is considered to symbolize freedom and fluidity. When spilling water, some people say “Let him go clean and clear as water.”

Rwanda: Eating goat meat

Women are not allowed to eat goat meat in Rwanda because of fear that it will make them grow a beard. Men and boys, enjoy all the goat meat you can eat then.

Portugal: Walking backwards

Walking backwards in Portugal is thought to be an unlucky sign since it is telling the devil your location and where you are headed to. So if you’re walking in Portugal, make sure to walk forward.

Greece: Evil eye

According to Greek culture, the concept of the evil eye is believed to bring a great deal of damage and destruction to a person, animal, or even a thing. This wave of negative energy can make the person experience any physical discomfort which can sometimes result in health-related symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and sometimes even feeling very sick. To protect yourself from these bad vibes, wear some evil eye jewelry like a ring, a bracelet, or a necklace.

Philippines: Wearing red during a storm

Is there a storm right now? Perhaps, try not wearing red. In the Philippines, it is believed that the color red attracts lightning, which could kill someone if it strikes them. Hay naku! To be safe, just refrain from wearing red on stormy days.

South Africa: Sweeping your house at night

If you don’t want to get rid of your wealth, then don’t sweep at night. Besides, you can do this chore in the morning or afternoon, just not at night or else you would be risking all your riches.

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