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Friday the 13th is upon us and actually, it’s set to happen one more time this year in October. Does that mean this will be an exceptionally spooky or unlucky year? I don’t personally think so, but I don’t find myself to be particularly unlucky either. That being said, people all over the world find this day quite unlucky and have some interesting superstitions to combat any unwanted bad mojo.

The history of Friday the 13th being unlucky is a bit vague. There are some reports that it dates back to Norse Mythology, Jesus’ Last Supper and even Wall Street.

  • Throw Salt Over Your Shoulder

    Anyone who is superstitious knows if you spill salt, you have to throw it over your left shoulder. That apparently comes from Ancient Romans who believed that would ward off the devil. It was said that it would hit him in the face and blind him. Seems kinda rude in my opinion, but I don’t have the devil following me around. At least I don’t think. Spilling salt is also associated with Jesus since in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper, you see Judas spilling salt. Maybe he was just clumsy? Either way, if you spill salt on Friday the 13th or any other time DO NOT under any circumstances do what Harry did in ‘Dumb & Dumber.’

     

  • Broomsticks - Not Just For Witches

    This one doesn’t sit well with me for a bunch of reasons, but here we go. This superstition says that if you don’t want to be single for the rest of your life, don’t let a broom sweep across your feet. If it does happen, there is a way to reverse it, but it’s gross. If a broom sweeps across your feet, make sure you IMMEDIATELY spit on that broom! Take that, witches mode of transportation! I couldn’t find the origin of this one, but it’s said that a woman (I’m going to include all people in this though) that can’t keep the house tidy, is not a good partner. But sure, spitting on the broom is super clean.

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  • The Number Four

    This comes from the Eastern Asia area and is similar to our fear of the number thirteen. In China, the sound of “four” sounds like death and in Korea and Japan, four and death are actually the same. At least thirteen is a prime number? Not sure that counts for anything.

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  • Rabbit, Rabbit, Ya Say?

    As someone who has lived their entire life in North America, I have never heard of this, but apparently people on this continent believe that if you say “rabbit, rabbit” on the first of the month, it will bring you luck. I’ve heard that rabbits feet are lucky, but this one is new to me.

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  • Don't Walk Backwards!

    People in Portugal believe that if you walk backwards, it’s an invitation for the devil since you’re showing him where you live or where you’re going. What if I’m going to the dumpster though?

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  • Tuck Your Thumbs, Save a Life!

    People in Japan believe that when you visit the cemetery, you must tuck your thumbs. This is a similar superstition to the number four… Kinda.”Thumb” means “parent figure” in Japanese so by tucking your thumb, you are protecting your parent from death. Seems logical.

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  • Cue Up Amii Stewart and Knock On Wood!

    I feel like we all know this one. I know I’ve been saying “knock on wood” since I was a kid, but did you know there are a bunch of different origins? The Celtic or Indo-European belief is that by knocking on wood, you are calling on spirits or gods of trees for protection. There was also a game in the 19th century called ‘Tiggy Touchwood’ (which sounds like an HR violation) where the players who are touching wood stay in the game. Other cultures have similar variations of this belief like touching steel, poles, unpainted wood, wood with no legs or knocking on wood twice. All I know is that the music video for Amii Stewarts “Knock On Wood” is FANTASTIC.

     

  • Don't Say Happy Birthday If It's Not

    In Russia they believe that if you wish someone a happy birthday before their actual birthday it will bring bad luck. Fortunately, if you forget to wish someone a happy birthday you can still do it. If we know anything about Russia, it’s that you follow the rules so don’t do this if you ever go there!

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  • Don't Give Me Dandelions!

    I don’t know if dandelions are actually flowers and this isn’t specific to them, but more so yellow flowers in general. In Russia, if you give someone yellow flowers it is considered inappropriate. Not in an HR violation kind of way, but more like it is said to bring problems in relationships like separation, infidelity and death. Again, if you happen to be in Russia, don’t even look at a yellow flower just for your own safety.

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  • A Lemon A Day Keeps Evil Away

    This is very common in Indian culture. Lemons along with chilies will be hung outside the home to stop evil spirits and bad omens from entering your home. You can also hang them on your car or bike, and after that maybe make a nice marinade.

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