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13 Superstitions From Around the Globe

friday13th

For many, Friday the 13th can be a scary day filled with bad luck. So much so that psychologists have come up with a word to describe the fear of Friday the 13th: paraskavedekatriaphobia.

Now we just have to get over our fear of pronouncing it.

On this Friday the 13th we braved it and compiled a list of 13 (yes, thirteen) superstitions from around the world.

1. Hispanics fear Tuesday the 13th instead of Friday the 13th, this is because the word for Tuesday “martes” is derived from the word Mars, which is often linked to the Greek god who represents war.

2. In China the fourth floor, and in some cases all floors with the number four, are left out of buildings. It’s considered so unlucky because the word for “four” is nearly the same as the word “death” in Chinese.

3. For Egyptians opening a pair of scissors without cutting anything is considered bad luck. Even worse? If you keep a pair of scissors open laying around.

4. The French believe that stepping into dog poo with your left foot is lucky, however be careful if you step into it with your right foot – that’s when your luck will turn!

5. Brazilians will warn you about leaving your purse or wallet on the floor; it means that you’ll become poor.

6. It’s unlucky to get your hair cut on Thursdays or Saturdays in India. The same goes for trimming your nails on a Tuesday, a Saturday or at night.

7. In Mexico and Colombia, loved ones will go walking around the neighborhood carrying an empty suitcase, according to the superstition, this little midnight stroll will bring them a year filled with travels and adventure.

8. You may want to avoid walking around with an empty bucket in Russia, or avoid anybody walking around with an empty bucket as it thought to bring you bad luck.

9. Senegalese will probably suggest you don’t share your travel destinations with others, it’s considered bad luck since it’s thought that the people you are divulging this information to may have an evil eye.

10. In the Netherlands and Switzerland, newlyweds will often plant a pine tree outside their home for fertility and good luck.

11. Don’t walk backwards! The Portuguese believe that walking backwards is very unlucky and shows the devil which way you are going.

12. Make sure your thumbs are tucked in when you pass by a graveyard or funeral car in Japan! Hiding your thumbs is believed to protect your family from death.

13. In Rwanda according to an old belief women will grow facial hair if they eat goat meat.

Are these familiar to you? Let us know what superstitions you believe in!

Frédérique Mantha

Frédérique Mantha is a graduate from the University of Ottawa, from which she holds a BA in Translation with Specialization in French-Spanish-English. As an Account Manager, she manages several French and multilingual clients. Frédérique also continues to translate into her mother tongue French; she does volunteer translations for TED among other projects. She also dedicates some of her time to writing blog articles and creative content. Before joining the team at her current position, Frédérique completed a Recruitment Internship at wintranslation, having gone through the experience herself, today she effectively manages our growing internship program.