Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events, such as astrology, omens, witchcraft, etc., that contradicts natural science. Superstitions are often cultural, passed down through generations, and can vary widely from one society to another. Here’s a brief exploration of superstitions from around the globe, showcasing the diversity of beliefs and practices.


China: The number 8 is considered lucky in Chinese culture because it sounds similar to the word for “wealth” or “prosperity.” Conversely, the number 4 is avoided because it sounds like the word for “death.” This has influenced everything from the pricing of goods to the numbering of floors in buildings.

Japan: It’s considered unlucky to fill a teacup to the brim when serving green tea, as it’s traditionally done at funerals. Also, giving a friend a handkerchief might be seen as a bad omen, as it’s often given at funerals to wipe away tears.


Italy: It’s common to throw salt over your left shoulder to ward off evil spirits. This tradition comes from the belief that the devil lived behind a person’s left shoulder, and throwing salt would blind him.

Ireland: It’s considered good luck to be born on a Friday, but bad luck to cut your nails on that day. Similarly, it’s considered unlucky to light three cigarettes with the same match, a superstition that dates back to World War I when the practice could reveal a soldier’s position to the enemy.


Nigeria: In some parts of Nigeria, it’s believed that whistling at night can attract snakes. This belief is deeply rooted in the Yoruba culture, where whistling is also thought to attract evil spirits.

Kenya: Among the Maasai, it’s considered bad luck to wear the color blue, as it is associated with the color of the traditional clothing worn by their rivals, the Turkana.


United States: The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is well-known. It’s considered an unlucky day, and some people go to great lengths to avoid doing anything out of the ordinary on this date.

Mexico: The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is not a superstition per se, but a deeply spiritual and cultural tradition that honors the deceased with the belief that they return to celebrate with their families.


Australia: The superstition about the bunyip, a mythical creature said to lurk in swamps and billabongs, is still prevalent in some indigenous communities. It’s believed to be a shapeshifter that can lure or scare people away from certain areas.


Superstitions are a fascinating aspect of human culture, reflecting our deep-seated need to find patterns and meaning in the world around us. While many superstitions are specific to certain cultures, the underlying desire to understand and control the unpredictable forces of life is universal. As societies evolve, some superstitions fade away, while others adapt and continue to influence our behaviors and beliefs.