If other advanced beings could observe us evolving through the millennia, you’d bet they’d find us to be remarkably bizarre. Crazy as one might find it, many people believe that their whole day is doomed just because a black cat crossed their path. Superstitions have always been part of our way of living, no matter where we are in the world, which culture we grew up in, or what century it is.
Most of us skeptics may find some superstitions pretty absurd, but in some corners of the world, people trust that these beliefs and practices can actually make their life better and even save their lives. It is interesting to note how some cultures regard superstitions as the very basis of their behavior – even the slightest (and weirdest) gesture or ritual can influence an outcome, for better or for worse. If you love immersing in the world’s different cultures, you may come across some of these weirdest superstitions around the world.
Whistling is a Summoning Ritual
Are you that person who just loves to whistle because you can? Well, you might get into trouble if you are in Lithuania. Lithuanians believe that whistling while indoors is a sort of invitation for evil spirits. The noise is said to lure demons. Russian culture also suggests that doing this inside the house can lead to financial issues within the family.
However, in other cultures, whistling is considered a ritual for summoning strong gusts of wind, luck, and good spirits, especially in the morning.
Never Toast with Water in Your Glass
Germans take drinking a bit more seriously. The Deutsche had a strange belief that if you toast with water in your glass, you might as well have given everyone you drink with a death wish. What’s scarier about this is that you won’t just die, but you’ll die by drowning. The superstition, which is also pretty popular among the military, traces its origin to the Ancient Greek superstition.
Ancient Greeks would toast their departed loved ones with water as a nod to the mythical River Lethe, where the souls sailed to the Underworld.
Mind the Direction to Which You Sleep
Several cultures suggest that a simple change in sleeping position can overturn the tides of one’s life. For example, in Japanese culture, people believe that sleeping with your head towards the North would bring immense bad luck to your life as this is how the departed ones are laid to rest. In some countries, sleeping in this position can induce supernatural experiences in the body like astral projection.
On the other hand, Africans believe that sleeping with your head pointing west does the same thing.
Pregnant? Never Go Outside During an Eclipse
Most cultures agree that pregnant women should cancel their stroll schedule outdoors during an eclipse. According to Mexican culture, bathing in the eclipse while pregnant will cause harmful effects to the unborn baby, especially facial defects. Some cultures even suggest that when an eclipse does occur, a pregnant woman should cover her womb with a cloth to protect the baby.
Although there is no scientific evidence, eclipses can be harmful to the onlookers, as staring directly at them can cause severe eye damage.
Dispose of All the Broken Stuff in Your Home
In many cultures, broken mirrors, wares, dented ceramics, and others are considered bringers of bad luck inside your home. Hence, practitioners of the mystic and astrology always suggest getting rid of this broken stuff (especially the mirrors). These fragmented glasses do not only promise you seven years of bad luck, but they also pose real-life threats of getting a huge, nasty wound that would conclusively confirm the superstition.
Chick on a Casket
In Filipino culture, when the deceased is a victim of crime, relatives would put a chick (yes, a chick) and some grains on top of the casket that it could peck. According to the superstition, the pecking sound would serve as a ‘knock’ on the perpetrator’s conscience to turn themselves in, so the victim could obtain justice.
Folks in other parts of the country believe that this superstition suggests that the person died a premature death.
Speaking of Filipino funeral superstition, another weird practice observed by those who visited the wake is ‘pagpag,’ which translates to English as ‘to shake or brush off. Visitors should not go straight home after leaving the wake and spend time elsewhere for a while. Filipinos believe this will confuse evil spirits and not follow the visitors to their homes.
In addition, the visitors should also step on ash before entering their homes to ward off evil spirits that may have followed them.
Don’t Jump Over Anyone, Especially a Child
Turkish have a weird superstition that if you jump over a child, you curse them for being short in their lifetime. Strange as it seems, many cultures adopted this superstition with variations such as a simple walking over any person would rob them of their chance of getting any taller.
Knocking on Wood
Whatever you do, whatever horrifying images you imagine in your head, always knock on wood, and everything’s going to be fine. One of the most prevalent superstitions, knocking on wood, is a gesture where one knocks on a wooden table or anything made of wood to shake off any form of bad vibe and negativity. Knocking on wood usually comes after saying something impulsively or wishing ill of own somebody’s health or mortality.
Dreading the Friday the 13th
Another popular superstition that’s too common, some people had a phobia, is the dreaded Friday the 13th. People always attribute this date as a harbinger of immense bad luck, especially in Western cultures, such that some people avoid making schedules during this date. However, the origin of this superstition traces back to the fear of the number 13 only, excluding the Friday.
According to folklore historians, the fear of the number 13 roots down to the stories of Norse mythology and the Bible, where the 13th persons usually play as the villains of the story.
What Happens During Sun Showers
“When it rains, it pours.” But when it rains, and it shines simultaneously, beasts are getting married, or at least according to Asian and African cultures. Several cultures have made variations of this superstition. Still, one thing is common: supernatural and real-life creatures such as witches and animals get their happy endings when this beautiful phenomenon happens.
Sun showers are pretty rare, making it more magically enticing. But, in German and French cultures, this occurrence indicates quite the opposite meaning. Sun showers are an indication that the devil is beating his wife or that they are in a quarrel.