Bad luck superstitions list

Table of Contents

Thirteen common (but silly) superstitions to savor

If you are spooked by Friday the 13th, you’re in for a whammy of a year. And it would come as no surprise if many among us hold at least some fear of freaky Friday, as we humans are a superstitious lot.

Many superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes us to believe in monsters and ghosts: When our brains can’t explain something, we make stuff up. In fact, a 2010 study found that superstitions can sometimes work, because believing in something can improve performance on a task.

Here, then, are 13 of the most common superstitions.

13. Beginner’s luck

Usually grumbled by an expert who just lost a game to a novice, “beginner’s luck” is the idea that newbies are unusually likely to win when they try out a sport, game or activity for the first time.

Beginners might come out ahead in some cases because the novice is less stressed out about winning. Too much anxiety, after all, can hamper performance. Or it could just be a statistical fluke, especially in chance-based gambling games.

Or, like many superstitions, a belief in beginner’s luck might arise because of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a psychological phenomenon in which people are more likely to remember events that fit their worldview. If you believe you’re going to win because you’re a beginner, you’re more likely to remember all the times you were right — and forget the times you ended up in last place.

12. Find a penny, pick it up,,,

And all day long, you’ll have good luck. This little ditty may arise because finding money is lucky in and of itself. But it might also be a spin-off of another old rhyme, “See a pin, pick it up/ and all day long you’ll have good luck/ See a pin, let it lay/ and your luck will pass away.”

11. Don’t walk under that ladder!

Frankly, this superstition is pretty practical. Who wants to be responsible for stumbling and knocking a carpenter off his perch? But one theory holds that this superstition arises from a Christian belief in the Holy Trinity: Since a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, “breaking” that triangle was blasphemous.

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Then again, another popular theory is that a fear of walking under a ladder has to do with its resemblance to a medieval gallows. We’re sticking with the safety-first explanation for this one.

10. Black cats crossing your path

As companion animals for humans for thousands of years, cats play all sorts of mythological roles. In ancient Egypt, cats were revered; today, Americans collectively keep more than 81 million cats as pets.

So why keep a black cat out of your path? Most likely, this superstition arises from old beliefs in witches and their animal familiars, which were often said to take the form of domestic animals like cats.

9. A rabbit’s foot will bring you luck

Talismans and amulets are a time-honored way of fending off evil; consider the crosses and garlic that are supposed to keep vampires at bay. Rabbit feet as talismans may hark back to early Celtic tribes in Britain. They may also arise from hoodoo, a form of African-American folk magic and superstition that blends Native American, European and African tradition.

8. Bad luck comes in threes

Remember confirmation bias? The belief that bad luck comes in threes is a classic example. A couple of things go wrong, and believers may start to look for the next bit of bad luck. A lost shoe might be forgotten one day, but seen as the third in a series of bad breaks the next.

7. Careful with that mirror

According to folklore, breaking a mirror is a surefire way to doom yourself to seven years of bad luck. The superstition seems to arise from the belief that mirrors don’t just reflect your image; they hold bits of your soul. That belief led people in the old days of the American South to cover mirrors in a house when someone died, lest their soul be trapped inside.

Like the number three, the number seven is often associated with luck. Seven years is a long time to be unlucky, which may be why people have come up with counter-measures to free themselves after breaking a mirror. These include touching a piece of the broken mirror to a tombstone or grinding the mirror shards into powder.

6. 666

Three sixes in a row give some people the chills. It’s a superstition that harks back to the Bible. In the Book of Revelation, 666 is given as the number of the “beast,” and is often interpreted as the mark of Satan and a sign of the end times.

According to State University of New York at Buffalo anthropologist Philips Stevens, the writer of Revelation was writing to persecuted Christians in code, so the numbers and names in the book are contemporary references. Three sixes in a row is probably the numeric equivalent of the Hebrew letters for the first-century Roman Emperor Nero.

14 Things That Could Be Causing Your Bad Luck

There are mad superstitions out there in the world, but is there really any truth to them?

Whenever I think of superstition, the “bad luck” (and hardcore creepiness) black cats and Friday the 13th supposedly bring first come to mind.

Is being superstitious a thing of the past, though?

Does our generation even pay attention to anything like that?

I wouldn’t say I’m a passionate believer in all superstitions, but the ones I do believe in, I try to avoid at all costs.

I try my hardest to stay on my A game on Friday the 13th, because it freaks me the heck out.

Better safe than sorry, right?

They may seem pretty crazy, yet every nationality has some sort of superstition about bad luck.

For example, Italians have the “Malocchio,” which means “evil eye.” Italian folklore says that someone who gives the “evil eye” (look) can actually bring pain or misfortune upon someone else.

To deter the bad spirits, Italians can wear a horn necklace (which looks like a small chili pepper).

You might find some of these blasphemous, or you may find them to be all too true.

Here are 14 things that could unknowingly be causing you bad luck.

1. Getting into your bed on the wrong side.

Did you know you’re supposed to get out of your bed on the same EXACT side you hopped in, or you will have bad luck for the entire day?

2. Seeing the bride before the wedding ceremony.

This superstition is pretty well known, but the groom is not supposed to see his bride before the wedding.

Didn’t anybody tell the photographers who are doing first looks for every wedding about this casually important information?!

3. Sleeping on a table.

It’s bad luck to sleep on a table.

I think a few of my friends may have done this one or 10 times after a pub crawl, JUST saying…

4. Peeing in the road.

If you pee in the road, you will get a stye in your eye.

This one’s a bit gross.

One of my college friends did this a few late nights back to the dorm and I’m not sure she had any problems with her eyes…

5. Not wearing earrings if you’re on a boat.

Sailors wear earrings in their ears because if they don’t, they may drown. And I thought this earring situation was low-key a sexy trendy kind of a thing.

6. Walking under a ladder.

Honestly, why walk under the ladder anyway? Walk around it and save yourself from negative spirits of this superstition.

7. Not eating an apple every day.

You know what they say about them apples… they keep the doctor away.

8. Opening an umbrella while you’re still inside.

Apparently, opening an umbrella inside totally pisses off the sun god… so take it outside or feel the wrath.

9. Breaking a mirror.

Crack a mirror, and you could bring seven years of bad luck upon yourself. EEK!

10. Changing your bed on a Friday.

Doing this will bring you horrible dreams, so why not wait until Saturday?

11. Placing a hat on a table or bed.

Keep that hat hung up or on your head where it belongs!

12. Rejecting someone’s kiss underneath the mistletoe.

For real though, this can apparently bring bad luck your way.

13. Taking a trip on Tuesday the 13th.

A Spanish superstition deems Tuesday the 13th extremely unlucky in Spain. Apparently their “Tuesday the 13th” corresponds with our “Friday the 13th,” and you shouldn’t tie the knot or travel that day.

14. Wishing a friend “happy birthday” before his/her actual birthday.

Germans consider this bad luck. DANG, now that’s a problem for my squad because we’re all about starting our birthdays the week before our actual date, and finishing the partying sometime the week after. OOPS.

To believe, or not to believe in superstitions, the choice is all yours. Some of them are pretty wild, while others, not so much. The fate of your luck awaits…

Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny

Are you one of those people who are always suffering setbacks? Does little ever seem to go right for you? Do you sometimes feel that the universe is out to get you? Do you wonder:

Why do I have bad luck? Is bad luck real?

A couple of months ago, I met up with an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since last year. Over lunch, we talked about all kinds of things, including our careers, relationships and hobbies.

My friend told me his job had become dull and uninteresting to him, and despite applying for promotion – he’d been turned down. His personal life wasn’t great either, as he told me that he’d recently separated from his long-term girlfriend.

When I asked him why things had seemingly gone wrong at home and work, he paused for a moment, and then replied:

“I’m having a run of bad luck.”

I was surprised by his response as I’d never thought of him as someone who thought that luck controlled his life. He always appeared to be someone who knew what he wanted – and went after it with gusto.

He told me he did believe in bad luck because of everything happened to me.


It was at this point, that I shared my opinion on luck and destiny:

While chance events certainly occur, they are purely random in nature. In other words, good luck and bad luck don’t exist in the way that people believe. And more importantly, even if random negative events do come along, our perspective and reaction can turn them into positive things.

Your luck is no worse—and no better—than anyone else’s. It just feels that way. Better still, there are two simple things you can do which will reverse your feelings of being unlucky and change your luck.

1. Stop believing that what happens in life is out of your control.

Stop believing that what happens in your life is down to the vagaries of luck, destiny, supernatural forces, malevolent other people, or anything else outside yourself.

Psychologists call this “external locus of control.” It’s a kind of fatalism, where people believe that they can do little or nothing personally to change their lives.

Because of this, they either merely hope for the best, focus on trying to change their luck by various kinds of superstition, or submit passively to whatever comes—while complaining that it doesn’t match their hopes.

Most successful people take the opposite view. They have “internal locus of control.” They believe that what happens in their life is nearly all down to them; and that even when chance events occur, what is important is not the event itself, but how you respond to it.

This makes them pro-active, engaged, ready to try new things, and keen to find the means to change whatever in their lives they don’t like.


They aren’t fatalistic and they don’t blame bad luck for what isn’t right in their world. They look for a way to make things better.

Are they luckier than the others? Of course not.

Luck is random—that’s what chance means—so they are just as likely to suffer setbacks as anyone else.

What’s different is their response. When things go wrong, they quickly look for ways to put them right. They don’t whine, pity themselves, or complain about “bad luck.” They try to learn from what happened to avoid or correct it next time and get on with living their life as best they can. They have this Motivation Engine, which most people lack, to keep them going.

No one is habitually luckier or unluckier than anyone else. It may seem so, over the short term (Random events often come in groups, just as random numbers often lie close together for several instances—which is why gamblers tend to see patterns where none exist).

When you take a longer perspective, random chance is just . . . random. Yet those who feel that they are less lucky, typically pay far more attention to short-term instances of bad luck, convincing themselves of the correctness of their belief.

Your locus of control isn’t genetic. You learned it somehow. If it isn’t working for you, change it.

2. Remember that whatever you pay attention to grows in your mind.

If you focus on what’s going wrong in your life—especially if you see it as “bad luck” you can do nothing about—it will seem blacker and more malevolent.


In a short time, you’ll become so convinced that everything is against you that you’ll notice more and more instances where this appears to be true. As a result, you will drown yourself in negative energy and almost certainly stop trying, convinced that nothing you can do will improve your prospects.

Not long ago, a reader (I’ll call her Kelly) has shared with me about how frustrated she felt and how unlucky she was. Kelly’s an aspiring entrepreneur. She had been trying to find investors to invest in her project. It hadn’t been going well as she was always rejected by the potential investors. And at her most stressful time, her boyfriend broke up with her. And the day after her breakup, she missed an important opportunity to meet an interested investor. She was about to give up because she felt that she’d not be lucky enough to build her business successfully.

It definitely wasn’t an easy time for her. She was stressful and tired. But it wasn’t bad luck that was playing the role.

Fatalism feeds on itself until people become passive “victims” of life’s blows. The “losers” in life are those who are convinced they will fail before they start anything; sure that their “bad luck” will ruin any prospects of success.

They rarely notice that the true reasons for their failure are ignorance, laziness, lack of skill, lack of forethought, or just plain foolishness—all of which they could do something to correct, if only they would stop blaming other people or “bad luck” for their personal deficiencies.

Your attention is under your control. Send it where you want it to go. Starve the negative thoughts until they die.

I explained to Kelly that to improve her fortune and have “good luck”, first decide that what happens is nearly always down to her; then try to focus on what works and what turns out well, not the bad stuff.

Then Kelly tried to review her current situation objectively. She realized that she only needed a short break for herself — from work and her just broken-up relationship. She really needed some time to clear up her mind before moving on with her work and life. When she got her emotions settled down from her heartbreak, she started to work on improving her business’ selling points and looked for new investors that are more suitable.


A few months later, she told me that she finally found two investors who were really interested in her project and would like to work with her to grow the business. I was really glad that she could take back control of her destiny and achieved what she wanted.

Your “fate” really does depend on the choices that you make. When random events happen, as they always will, do you choose to try to turn them to your advantage or just complain about them?

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve learned the 2 simple things you can do to take control of your fate and create your own luck. But this isn’t it! These simple techniques you’ve learned here are just part of the essential 7 Cornerstone Skills — a skillset that will give you the power to create permanent solutions to big problems in life — any problem in any area of your life!

If you think you’re “suffering from bad luck”, you can really change things up and start life over with these 7 Cornerstone Skills. It may even be a lot easier than you thought:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

Thomas Jefferson is said to have used these words:

“I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Your luck, in the end, is pretty much what you choose it to be.

More Ideas About Creating Your Own Luck

  • Why Happiness is a Choice (And Why It’s a Smart One to Make)
  • How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed
  • 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times
  • Feeling So Stuck in Life That You’re About to Give Up? Help is Here!

Books About Taking Control of Your Life

  • How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein
  • Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud
  • Take Control of Your Life: A 2 Hour Plan to Help You Set and Reach Your Goals by Rachel Rofe

Featured photo credit: LoboStudio Hamburg via

  • Friday the thirteenth is an unlucky day
  • A rabbit’s foot brings good luck
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • To find a four-leaf clover is to find good luck
  • If you walk under a ladder, you will have bad luck
  • If a black cat crosses your path you will have bad luck
  • To break a mirror will bring you seven years bad luck
  • To open an umbrella in the house is to bring bad luck
  • To find a horseshoe brings good luck
  • Step on a crack, break your mother’s back
  • You can break a bad luck spell by turning seven times in a clockwise circle
  • Garlic protects from evil spirits and vampires
  • Our fate is written in the stars
  • At the end of a rainbow is a pot of gold
  • Clothes worn inside out will bring good luck
  • Wearing your birthstone will bring you good luck
  • If you blow out all of the candles on your birthday cake with the first breath you will
    get whatever you wish for
  • To have a wish come true using a wishbone, two people make a wish, then take hold of
    each end of the bone and pull it until it separates. The person with the longer end gets
    his or her wish
  • An itchy palm means money will come your way
  • A beginner will always have good luck: beginner’s luck
  • A cat has nine lives
  • Eating fish makes you smart
  • Toads cause warts
  • A cricket in the house brings good luck
  • Crossing your fingers helps to avoid bad luck and helps a wish come true
  • It is bad luck to sing at the table
  • It is bad luck to sleep on a table
  • After receiving a container of food, the container should never be returned empty
  • A lock of hair from a baby’s first haircut should be kept for good luck
  • A bird that comes in your window brings bad luck
  • To refuse a kiss under mistletoe causes bad luck
  • Goldfish in the pond bring good luck
  • Goldfish in the house bring bad luck
  • For good luck, wear new clothes on Easter
  • An acorn at the window can keep lightning out of the house
  • If the bottom of your feet itch, you will make a trip
  • When a dog howls, death is near
  • It is bad luck to chase someone with a broom
  • A sailor wearing an earring cannot drown
  • To find a penny heads up, brings good luck
  • To cure a sty, rub it with a gold wedding band
  • Animals can talk at midnight on Christmas Eve
  • A drowned woman floats face up, a drowned man floats face down
  • A person cannot drown before going under three times
  • To drop a fork means a woman will visit
  • To drop a knife means a man will visit
  • To drop a spoon means a child will visit
  • To drop a dishcloth means bad luck is coming
  • If you shiver, someone is casting a shadow on your grave
  • To make a happy marriage, the bride must wear: something old, something new, something
    borrowed, something blue
  • The wedding veil protects the bride from the evil eye
  • Washing a car will bring rain
  • You must get out of bed on the same side you got in on or you will have bad luck
  • Evil spirits cannot harm you when you are standing in a circle
  • A cat will try to take the breath from a baby
  • Warm hands, cold heart
  • Cold hands, warm heart
  • It is unlucky to rock an empty rocking chair
  • To kill an albatross is to cause bad luck to the ship and all upon it
  • Wearing an opal when it is not your birthstone is bad luck
  • Smell dandelions, wet the bed
  • To give someone a purse or wallet without money in it will bring that person bad luck
  • A forked branch, held with a fork in each hand, will dip and point when it passes over

If You See Any of These 15 Bad Omens, You Might Be About to Die

Are you superstitious? While scientific facts can signal that you’ll die soon, some people believe certain omens also predict that your time is near. The following 15 bad omens are considered signs of death, including a “death crown” that appears in your bed (page 10).

1. Black buttterflies

Black butterfly | chyball/ iStock/ Getty Images

These fluttering creatures can be found all over the world, and there are multiple cultures that view the butterfly as a symbol of change and rebirth. But in regions like China and Central America, crossing paths with a black butterfly is believed to be an omen of death.

Next: A secret twin

2. Seeing your doppelganger

Masks | Alla Simacheva/ iStock/ Getty Images

While the word “doppelganger” is German, there are multiple cultures who believe seeing an apparition or double of yourself is an omen that death is upon you. Modern science believes doppelgangers are real, but are the work of genetics and not folklore.

Next: Beware of these creepy crawlies.

3. The deathwatch beetle

Deathwatch beetle | Oxford Scientific/ iStock/ Getty Images

These pests like to burrow into wooden furniture and ceiling beams and then bang their heads against the walls to attract mates. So if you’re lying in bed with a serious illness and you can’t sleep because of the constant sound of these stupid bugs making so much noise … well, that’s how this beetle got its name.

Next: Check your baby’s fingers and toes.

4. The length of a child’s fingers

Baby Holding Mothers Hand | isayildiz/ iStock/ Getty Images

Apparently, there are many bad omens that can signify a child will pass away. If a child is born with long fingers, or gets its first tooth on the top jaw, or has its nails trimmed at too young of an age — the list of bad omens for children goes on and on.

Next: A gem blamed for the biggest pandemic in history

5. Opals

Crystalline opal pendant | timspix58/ iStock/ Getty Images

The idea opals were a sign of death has origins tracing back to medieval Europe when it was linked to the Black Plague. It was noted that opals would be bright when the inflicted were alive, but then go dark after they passed. (It’s more likely the opal, like a mood ring, changed color because of the change in body temperature.)

Next: The Irish and Native Americans are on to something here.

6. Three knocks at the door

Shiny door knocker | YiannisLiassides/ iStock/ Getty Images

It may sound pretty simple — hear three knocks on the door means somebody is going to die. But this occurrence was believed to be an omen of death in many parts of the world, from Irish villages to the Native American tribes.

Next: You may die if you’re “seeing green.”

7. “Corpse candles”

Swamp at night | Zeferli/ iStock/ Getty Images

Will-o-wisps, also called “corpse candles”, are balls of green light that hover in the night, usually over swamps and marshes. Lore points to will-o-wisps are omens of death — if one flies by your house or floats over a fisherman’s boat, someone will die. However, science points to these orbs as the result of swamp gas reflecting light off the water.

Next: A rule to follow in the kitchen

8. Baked bread

Two loaves of baked bread | jjsamour/ iStock/ Getty Images

You know things are getting crazy if baking bread has been pulled into the bad omen category. Supposedly if a loaf of bread splits across the top while baking or spills over the top of the pan, someone in the home will die. Frankly, we didn’t think bread baked any other way.

Next: Don’t even consider planting this tree.

9. A cedar tree

Cedar tree | Stephanie D. Churchill/ iStock/ Getty Images

This one gets a little convoluted. Some believe if a cedar tree dies in your yard, that means a family member will die. Then if you try to remove the tree, you will die when the limbs grow to the length of your coffin. How about just don’t have cedar trees near your house? Much more doable.

Next: A hidden “death crown” in your home

10. The death crown

feather | nadtytok/ iStock/ Getty Images

Appalachian people discovered a “death crown” that forms when feathers in a down pillow interlock into an elaborate, circular shape. If this omen of death appears inside someone’s pillow, it must be shredded immediately.

This death signal is still discussed among some communities in Ohio, Missouri, and Indiana, according to Cult of Weird. One reader spookily shared, “I am in possession of a crown from my paternal grandfather’s pillow. He died in 1923. The feathers could not be more tightly fused if they were glued.” Realistically, the crown forms because the feathers inside the pillow get intertwined as the sick person tosses and turns in bed.

Next: Have you spotted this elusive creature recently?

11. An owl

Owl | Rawpixel/ iStock/ Getty Images

Some believe that owls are messengers of death — and given they are nocturnal creatures and pretty ominous-looking to begin with, we can see why. Supposedly, if an owl hoots whilst perching on a roof, death will visit that house.

Next: Glass of all kinds can be bad luck.

12. Broken dishes and glassware

Broken wine | Givaga/ iStock/ Getty Images

Broken dishes happen all the time, right? According to some superstition, if your glassware breaks while making a toast, it could be a death omen for the person being toasted. (If you believe in that sort of thing.)

Next: Mark this moment on your calendar.

13. Halley’s Comet

Halley’s Comet | Digital Vision./ iStock/ Getty Images

Before astrology and understanding of what goes on in outer space, comets were considered omens for all sorts of bad things. Halley’s Comet, in particular, has been blamed for earthquakes, red rain, and even the Black Plague.

Next: It’s “time” to check your clocks.

14. A broken clock

Antique clock | Tennessee Witney/ iStock/ Getty Images

Not any and all clocks, but grandfather clocks. If a weight in the clock broke, it was believed to be a sign someone in the family would die. Moreover, if a clock stuck 13 times instead of 12, it was meant to be the ultimate bad omen.

Next: Don’t face this event head on.

15. A solar eclipse

Solar Eclipse | solarseven/ iStock/ Getty Images

Throughout history, solar eclipses have coincided with death, reports CBS News. So it’s no wonder they were considered bad omens across cultures. At least modern science has taught us differently.

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Belief in lucky and unlucky omens has always been a universal part of our psyche. Like it or not, many of us believe in signs of good fortune and impending misfortune. The greatest leaders of the world believe in it, philosophers think seriously about it, while actresses, gamblers and celebrities are hopelessly obsessive about it. Ordinary people engage in rituals and wear an infinite variety of charms to attract good portents. We believe in lucky and unlucky days. We have our favourite good luck amulets.

Our belief in lucky and unlucky signs is almost subconscious, so much so that we constantly interpret the most commonplace things that happen to us as suggesting either good or bad luck. A broken mirror, inadvertently walking under a ladder, getting stung by a bee or dreaming of white tigers – each time something remotely out of the ordinary happen to us, instantly we wonder if it will bring us good or bad luck. Here are 18 common events in everyday life believed to be powerful indications of good fortune.

When Bats Nest In Your Home
This is one of the most powerful indications that the family is about to become seriously wealthy. The Chinese regard bats as symbols of abundant wealth. The circular pattern of five bats is a very popular design feature found on furniture, paintings and ceramics. The Chinese believe that bats nest only in auspicious places – they have highly developed sensory parts that are able to “smell” out places with auspicious chi. The next time bats come and nest in the eaves of your home, rejoice because this heralds good fortune.

When Someone Gives You Money On A Lucky Day
It is the surest sign that you will enjoy a significant increase in money luck. A lucky day is usually a new moon or full moon day. Or it can be a day of your animal sign. Check the Feng Shui Almanac for these lucky days. Make sure you keep the cash given to you on that day, as it is described as “good luck money”. Money can be given to you in many ways. It could be someone repaying a debt owed to you, or someone giving you an unexpected tip for some favour performed. This is the belief behind the tradition of giving lucky money on the fifteen days of the lunar New Year. These fifteen days of the year’s first moon are looked on as “days of miracles”, so money received on these days is always regarded as lucky money.

When Bird Droppings Land On Your Head
Many people believe this to be a major sign of wealth coming from heaven. Hence, although, it is really yucky and a major inconvenience, when something like this happens to you, take comfort in the fact that this is described as good luck being just around the corner! In fact, most things associated with birds tend to spell good fortune, such as when birds fly to your home and start making nests in and around your house. While bats bring abundance, birds bring good news and opportunities. The next time a flock of ravens, pigeons or magpies come to your home, feed them with bird seeds. Birds are also said to be powerful protectors and guardians. Even crows are said to be messengers of the Gods. So welcome birds with open arms.

Finding Your Initials On A Spiders Web
Is said to be an indication you will have good luck forever. All your plans will develop to fruition and whatever obstacles may be blocking your projects will be dissolved. Like the spider, you will attract food and money without even trying! This actually happens more commonly than you realize.

Meeting Up With A Snake
Is another sign of good fortune. Whether in your garden, inside the home, or out trekking, if you meet up with a snake, it means something or someone important is coming into your life. Never ever try to harm or kill a snake when confronted with one. The more poisonous the snake, the better is the good fortune. The king cobra is described as a snake of extreme good fortune. Whatever you do, never kill a snake as they are also associated with some spiritual presence. They usually slither away themselves when they sense human presence.

When Your Hands Tingle
It is a sure sign that money is either coming to you or leaving you! The general consensus is that when it is your left hand that tingles, money is coming to you – the 4-digit kind or winning a lottery. When it is the right hand, it means money is leaving you. The same interpretation is also placed on hands that suddenly start to itch. If your left palm starts to itch, mercilessly rejoice. It means you are about to come into a windfall!

When You See A Shooting Star
And immediately make a wish, whatever you wish for will manifest within the next thirty days. If you are sick, you will get well; if your luck has been bad, it will take a turn for the better; and if you have just had a quarrel, you will make up. If you have lost something, you will regain it e.g. if you have just broken up with your boyfriend, you will make up with him or find a new boyfriend. Seeing a shooting star can be quite a common occurrence, so always have a wish handy. Close your eyes and wish fervently!

When Your Date Of Birth Adds Up To 8
(without any remainder) such as in 9/6/65 (9 + 6 + 65 = 80) you will be lucky all through the period of 8 which does not end until 4th February 2024. 8 is already a magically powerful number, so when one’s birth day adds up to 8, it is an indication of good luck. Those with kua 8 will also enjoy good fortune all through the period of 8.

When Your Ears Start To Itch
Many believe this means that someone is talking about you. If it is the left ear that itches, it means that whoever is talking about you is saying nice things, while if it is the right ear, then whoever is talking about you is saying uncomplimentary things. Next time your ear starts to itch, you know you are being talked or gossiped about. Some say, “right for spite, left for love.” Others reverse this omen. If you think of the person, friend or acquaintance who is likely to be talking of you and mention the name aloud, the tingling will cease if you guess correctly!

When A Butterfly Flies Into Your House
This is commonly interpreted to mean that you are about to receive some important guests. If the butterfly has bright colours, it means the visitor will bring good news relating to your love life. If the butterfly is dark – almost black – the visitor is bringing you good news related to your career or business. Never chase a fluttering butterfly out of your house. They almost always bring good tidings. Do not try to catch it, as inadvertently killing a butterfly causes your good luck to change into bad luck.


When A Cat Comes Into Your House
It usually means some kind of bad luck. Usually black cats signify treachery and betrayal, so it is better to chase them away. White cats signify death, but some say that golden cats signify good luck hidden in bad luck. In the old days cats were often associated with witchcraft and bad omens.

If You Put On Your Clothes The Wrong Way Round
This is said to be a sign of extreme good fortune. It doesn’t count if you do this on purpose, but if for some reason you wear your clothes the wrong way round, it indicates that you will shortly receive some windfall or some very favourable news. This is a particularly good omen for those who have been suffering a spate of bad luck, as it suggests that your luck is about to change for the better.

Finding A Good Luck Symbol
Such as an acorn, a four-leaf clover, a horseshoe, a coin all spell good luck of some kind coming your way. You should not throw away the lucky symbol, as signs of prosperity often possess some excellent energy. It is also believed that if you bury them in a metal box in your garden, the good luck multiplies.

Meeting Up With A Cow
Is said to be a most auspicious sign as the cow is a symbol of prosperity and fertility. Of course this is not something likely to happen in big cities except perhaps in India where the cow is so highly revered it is allowed to roam freely on roads and highways and motorists are required by law not to run them down. But if you do take a drive to the countryside one day and are confronted by a cow, rejoice, because it suggests great good fortune coming your way!

When A Dog Comes To Stay
When someone brings you a dog as a gift or if a stray puppy decides to adopt you, welcome him or her into your home. A dog entering your home is a very favourable sign, as it means you will have faithful and sincere friends come into your life, helping you overcome obstacles of all kinds. Black dogs bring wealth and protection. Golden dogs bring prosperity and happiness and white dogs bring love and romance.

When You Hang A Flag
You should make very sure that it is hung up securely and that even with the daily wind and sun causing it to flutter, it should not fall. When any flag you hang up falls from the staff, it implies danger is coming OR that your success takes a tumble. A flag coming down sometimes also means a car accident or some tragic accident. On the other hand, when the flag flies proudly and flutters in the wind, it brings plenty of good fortune. Usually flags flying indicate victory.

Garden Creatures That Bring Good Fortune
Include insects and grasshoppers. If a grasshopper were to hop into your house, it means a very distinguished person is about to visit you. It can also mean that you are about to receive a great honour. Ladybirds suggest visitors, while frogs jumping into your home suggest money is coming to you.

When It Rains And The Sun Is Shining
The simultaneous appearance of the sun and the rain is a very good sign indeed. This is when it is most likely for you to see rainbows in the sky. Indeed when the sun is shining brightly and there is also a shower of rain, it means that everything you are working on will be successful. You will receive the support of some very important people. If a son or daughter is born on such a day, it is a wonderful sign of a great life. If you happen to be getting married on such a day, you will enjoy a very auspicious life together.

Good luck superstitions in feng shui are based on the Chinese culture and philosophical belief systems. This is similar to lucky superstition beliefs in other cultures and covers a variety of areas.

General Chinese Superstitions for Good and Bad Luck

Like any culture, the Chinese have certain superstitions that are related to good and bad luck. These superstitions come in a variety of forms and can relate to specific kinds of luck, like energy or love, rather than general good or bad luck.

  • The Chinese believe that good luck can be found in pairs. Love/marriage can be enhanced with a pair of mandarin ducks on the nightstand.
  • Never point at the moon or you’ll pay the price by having your ear fall off.
  • You don’t want to build a home that faces north. This will bring financial ruin and other chaos in your life.
  • Staircases should have an even number of steps with no open risers since they symbolize loss of energy and also money.
  • A moustache is considered bad luck for the man.
  • The word is caution for marriage and numbers when it comes to the age difference between you and your spouse. If you want to ensure a happy marriage, you shouldn’t marry anyone who is 3 or 6 years younger or older than you.
  • The Chinese culture considers used or second-hand clothes, furniture, and other items is inauspicious. This superstition is believed to be founded in ideologies of honor, reputations, and pride.
  • Never beat a person with a broom. This will bring bad luck to the person for many years.
  • When traveling, always knock on the door before entering. This alerts any spirits of your presence so they won’t be startled by your presence and encourages them to leave.

What You Say Is Important

One of the things you don’t want to do is talk about the dead. The Chinese don’t talk about the dead or about anyone who is dying. This is considered very bad luck. Make sure your luck remains intact by not telling any ghost stories.

House Cleaning

How you sweep your home is very important. You can hold on to the good luck that enters your door by proper sweeping. When you sweep your home, you should sweep inwardly. You need to sweep all the dirt and dust into the center of your home and then physically carry it out of the house through the back door, never the front door. This keeps the good luck in your home.

Gift Giving

Whenever the Chinese give a gift, it’s done in pairs or multiples of pairs. If you wish to give a gift, then you’ll want to give two gifts. The more gifts, the more luck, such as giving four, eight, sixteen gifts, and so on.

  • Gifts are given for various occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and New Year.
  • Don’t give pointy items as gives, such as a knife set or cacti. These are symbols for severing a relationship.
  • A lucky bamboo arrangement is often given for house warming gifts, birthdays, anniversaries and other events.
  • Never gift with miniature objects or plants, such as bonsai. This type of gift bestows stunted growth in all areas of life to the recipient.
  • Don’t give a clock, hourglass, or other timepiece since this is a symbol of stealing time from the person and shortening their life.
  • Always insert money when giving a purse or wallet. If left empty, you’re bestowing a lack of wealth to the person. Never give empty decorative boxes, always put something of value inside.
  • Gift wrap is very important. Use only bright colored papers and wrap with either a gold or red ribbon. Traditionally, a gift is wrapped in silk fabric to signify your best wishes for prosperity and wealth to the recipient.

Flowers for Good Luck

Even flowers have specific superstitions tied to them and their use in everyday life.

  • Lotus: This is the most prominent flower and symbolism is powerful. The lotus flower lifts out of the mud and blooms in great beauty. Long life.
  • Peach blossom: The peach tree is a symbol of immortality producing the gods’ divine fruit. Love symbols.
  • Lilies: Lilies are used for weddings and even have a specific meaning that reads, “happy union for a hundred years.”
  • Narcissus: White narcissus placed in the north sector of your home will boost career ambition luck.
  • Hydrangea: This good luck symbol restores balance in home life.
  • Orchids: For a couple, orchids mean happiness and also presents wealth and great luck in fortunes.
  • Chrysanthemum: This flower is used for religious offerings on altars. When looking for a gift for an older person, chrysanthemums are an ideal choice since they symbolize longevity.
  • Peonies: The peony is a powerful symbol of love and marriage.

Auspicious Colors

While colors are used in feng shui for compass sectors, there are also various superstitions that drive other uses of specific colors. These include:

  • Red: This is an auspicious color and considered a symbol of good luck. Weddings feature red lanterns, wedding invitation envelopes, money envelopes, wedding decorations and even the bride’s dress.
  • Gold: This color represents wealth and is often used with red. It’s found in all monetary and wealth symbols.
  • Black: This color represents water and is used for career luck. It’s often used in a combination with red to create a powerful duo.
  • White: A mourning color, white is associated with funerals and a mourning period. It is never worn at a wedding.

Lucky Numbers

Numbers play an important role in feng shui and life is often ruled by the use of numbers. Some are auspicious and others are considered inauspicious.

  • Number 4: Four sounds like the Chinese word, death and should be avoided.
  • Number 8: Eight is lucky because it sounds like the word prosper.
  • Number 9: Nine sounds similar to the word sufficient.
  • Dates: Each Chinese zodiac sign has two most auspicious lunar months. These are used to select important dates such as weddings.
  • Address: The number 8 is associated with wealth while number 9 is associated with a long life. These are considered very auspicious numbers for a home address while 4 is inauspicious and homeowners avoid addresses with a 4.
  • Lucky numbers: The Kua number is your personal map to your four auspicious directions. You can take advantage of these directions and avoid your four inauspicious ones.

Food and Drink

Some foods and drinks are considered auspicious, and some are believed to be powerful aspects of important days and events.

  • Noodles: Long noodles are auspicious of a long life, and you should never cut noodles or risk shortening your life.
  • Oranges: The round golden shape of an orange is considered a symbol of gold and represents blessings and prosperity.
  • Whole chicken and fish: A chicken and fish should be cooked whole and served whole. Both are a symbol of family unity.
  • Spring rolls: The golden fried spring rolls are symbols of gold ingots.
  • Tea: Serving a visitor tea is the social sign that the visit is coming to an end.

Superstitions Surrounding New Year’s Day

One of the most auspicious times for the Chinese is New Year’s Day. The Chinese believe that the things you do on this day will determine your luck for the following year.

New Year Good Luck Tips

A few important tips can help you increase your luck for the upcoming year.

  • Don’t argue or cry on New Year’s Day unless you wish to cry and argue throughout the upcoming year.
  • Don’t use sharp objects, like knives, on this important day since pointed objects are considered inauspicious. Knives on New Year’s Day will slice and destroy your good luck.
  • Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and avoid rough patches by not buying any shoes on New Yea’s Day. The word shoes sounds like the word rough, so if you need new shoes, purchase a pair before the holiday.
  • You need to start the New Year off debt-free, otherwise, the you’ll be plagued with bills and more bills throughout the entire year.
  • Serve noodles for the New Year’s meal. The longer the noodle the longer and happier the luck will be.
  • The color red is considered to most auspicious color and brings the biggest and best luck. You’ll want to wear red on New Year’s Day.
  • To ensure you have a sweeter New Year, be sure to eat deserts, candy and other sweets.
  • Don’t get your hair cut during the week of the New Year. If you cut your hair, you’re cutting off good luck. Don’t wash your hair on the first day of the New Year unless you want to wash away all of your good luck.

Wedding Superstitions

You’ll find several superstitions surrounding wedding ceremonies.

  • A rainy wedding is auspicious and means a fertile and prosperous life together.
  • Don’t try on your wedding dress before the wedding or you won’t get married. There’s no answer for how a bride gets fitted for her wedding dress.
  • If the groom stands or sits in front of his wife during the ceremony, he’s doomed to life a married life constantly being henpecked.
  • It’s bad luck if the groom arrives at the ceremony after the bride.
  • Never give the bride and groom knifes or other pointed and sharp objects as a gift. Sharp objects are considered inauspicious.
  • Rice tossed at the couple ensures prosperity.
  • The bride should never wear pearls on her wedding day or suffer a sad and tearful marriage.
  • Wedding clothes are red, white or yellow to ensure a lucky wedding and marriage.

Babies and Birthday Superstitions

There are also superstitions surrounding births.

  • A baby shower before the baby is born is bad luck. These are held after the birth.
  • You can ensure the gender of your baby by eating certain foods.
  • Be careful what you think and do because this will affect who your child becomes.
  • Refrain from rubbing your abdomen too often, or suffer a spoiled child.
  • There can be no construction or work done in the home of a pregnant woman without risking the health of her unborn child.
  • Your baby’s destiny is determined by the very first object she or he picks up.

Feng Shui and Chinese Good and Bad Luck Superstitions

Most of these Chinese superstitions are observed in feng shui. Be sure to use the auspicious ones to increase your good luck in specified areas of your life.

Ideas of luck and superstition vary among cultures around the world

This Friday, some people will be so paralyzed with fear, they won’t even get out of bed. That’s because it’s Friday the 13th, and that has a lot of people, especially in Western cultures, feeling anxious.

Things get so bad for some people that there’s even a recognized psychological disorder: triskaidekaphobia — fear of the number 13, said USC Dornsife’s Tok Thompson, associate professor (teaching) of anthropology.

The fear of the number 13 is so pervasive in Western culture that many hotels and offices omit the 13th floor, he noted, while airports in Western cities don’t have a 13th gate.

Lucky days, unlucky days

However, in other cultures, no one turns a hair when Friday the 13th rolls around. In Chinese culture, it’s the number four that causes worry when scheduling big events like celebrations or business openings, says Brian Bernards, associate professor of East Asian languages and cultures and comparative literature. Four (si) is a bad luck number because the sound of the word is very similar to the word for death in most Chinese dialects, including Mandarin and Cantonese, he explains.

As in Mexico and much of Latin America, Cubans follow Spanish tradition when it comes to superstitions. There, it isn’t Friday the 13th that’s unlucky, says Ivette Gomez, assistant professor (teaching) of Spanish, but Tuesday the 13th.

“For example, no one in their right mind will pick such a date to get married,” said Gomez, who was born and raised in Havana.

But where does our anxiety about Friday the 13th originate? Thompson says that while it’s an unlucky number in Biblical tradition because it’s connected with the Last Supper, it’s also connected to women’s magic, witchcraft and time.

“We find a lot of resonances in cultures that had lunar-solar calendars,” he said.

“We know that Friday was associated with witchcraft in medieval Europe. The number 13 has been associated with the moon and the fact that we have 12.41lunations per solar year. So this 13th month became overlaid with negative attributes — it wasn’t complete, regular; it was mysterious.”

This is in sharp contrast with Thailand, where Bernards pointed out, every Friday (Wan Suk) is generally auspicious because it sounds like “day of happiness” or “enjoyment.”

In similar fashion, in China the 8th (ba) of the month, is highly favorable because eight sounds similar to fa, the word meaning to generate or create, as in create wealth or amass a fortune. Associated with progress and development, it’s a day to try to conclude deals and hold meetings, while during the lunar new year it’s a tradition to give money in red envelopes in quantities of eight, or to hold weddings.

“In Western cultures, three is the magic number — everything, from the Holy Trinity to three little pigs, tends to be organized in threes,” said Thompson.

Coincidentally, there are even three kinds of superstitions, as Thompson explains — interpreting signs (a black cat), magic superstitions (actions you take to try to increase your luck) and conversion superstitions, such as placing the shards of a broken mirror under running water to wash the seven years of bad luck away.

Even though global structures and motifs of superstitions can be very similar, cultural meanings and resonances can be very different, Thompson said.

Navigating a Chinese dinner party

While some superstitions are pervasive in many traditions — think black cats and walking under ladders —— others are more rooted in particular cultures.

If invited to someone’s home for dinner in China, there are a number of important symbols that are key to understand in order to navigate the occasion successfully and avoid offence.

To get off on the right foot, don’t offer your host a clock or an umbrella as a gift.

“The word for “clock” (zhong) sounds like ‘end,’ like you are giving someone, or sending someone to, their end or death (song zhong),” Bernards explains. “This is similar to giving an “umbrella” (san), which sounds like “parting” (san), so you are essentially suggesting that you will never see them again.”

Also — very important — do not use white wrapping paper for a gift or offer white flowers, as it’s generally associated with mourning.

When considering what to wear for a celebration, avoid sporting all white for the same reason, as well as all an black outfit — considered malevolent and associated with death — and opt for red, the most auspicious of colors, as blood symbolizes life.

At dinner, it’s considered unlucky to leave your chopsticks sticking out of your rice bowl — they look like incense in ashes in the altar at a tomb, Bernards advises. Lay them across the top of the bowl instead.

If it’s New Year, your host may well serve fish, which are considered auspicious for their association with bounty and surplus. If you spill some rice at dinner, don’t expect your host to sweep it up in case he sweeps away all his good fortune.

As you walk home after dark, don’t whistle — you will attract ghosts, Bernards warns. If you spot an owl or hear it hoot, that’s bad luck because they symbolize imminent disaster or death. However, if a cat crosses your path, you needn’t worry — cats in China are generally considered to be good luck; their association with wealth originated in Japan but has been adopted in Chinese culture.

New Year’s grapes, haircuts and the evil eye

If you’re walking in Havana on New Year’s Eve, you’d better be careful, warns Gomez. When midnight strikes, the custom is to throw a bucket of water out of the doorway or from the balcony to get rid of all the bad things from the previous year.

In Spain, it’s the custom to eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck for the coming year, said Sarah Portnoy, associate professor (teaching) of Spanish.

Whenever Cubans open a bottle of rum, they purposefully spill the first few drops on the floor to obtain the blessing of “the gone ones” (good spirits), Gomez noted.

“We also consider it unlucky to rock an empty chair — beware, death is close if you do. Opening an umbrella under the roof of your house is also considered unlucky, as is placing your purse on the floor, you’ll run out of money as a result,” she said.

To protect babies from mal de ojo (evil eye), Gomez said, many Cubans hang an azabache — a piece of the mineral jet attached to a ribbon.

Indeed, using an amulet to ward off the evil eye occurs in many cultures, including Jewish and Mexican traditions, throughout the Arab world and into Central Asia, Portnoy said.

In Thailand, it’s unlucky to get your hair cut on a Wednesday, a holy day, as shaving your head is associated with mourning, Bernards notes. “Also, don’t sleep with your head pointing west, as that’s where the sun sets, symbolizing ending,” he said of Thai superstition. “Sleeping like this will bring bad dreams.”

Each day of the week in Thailand has an associated auspicious and inauspicious color: For example, red is lucky on Sunday but unlucky on Monday, whereas green is lucky on Wednesday but unlucky on Saturday, Bernards said. Though these associations are associated with Theravada Buddhism, they are derived from Hindu cosmology.

Eggs and oranges are auspicious foods to have on hand in Thailand. But if you hear a gecko during the day — that’s a bad omen.

Why do we believe?

In rural Russia, Thompson says, cockroaches were traditionally considered a good omen, while black is a lucky color in Ethiopia, where it is associated with rich soil.

Thompson, who comes from a long line of fishermen, grew up with the idea that it’s unlucky to whistle at sea in case you “whistle up a storm.”

Lisa Bitel, Dean’s Professor of Religion and professor of religion and history, notes the age-old links that have existed between superstition and the major religions.

“Today’s popular culture tends to blame the European Middle Ages for whatever superstitions we still suffer,” she said. “It wasn’t so long ago that spells, curses or the use of ritual words and objects to defend against demonic forces were common and integral to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.”

But why do we continue to believe in superstition and the idea of good and bad luck?

“Because it’s fun, there’s an aesthetic and a social quality to them and we think, ‘What’s the harm?’” Thompson said. “And finally, people think they might just be true.”

You might be surprised to learn that around a quarter of Americans are superstitious. When we think about it rationally, the idea of luck may seem silly, but there are a lot of people throughout history who made significant decisions based on superstitious beliefs.

The world’s largest car manufacturer, Toyota, changed its name from “Toyoda” in the 1930s because the number of brush strokes was more auspicious in Japanese culture. Donald Trump, who has been unwavering in his belief in his own ability, describes himself as a “very superstitious person”. He is known to throw a few grains of salt over his shoulder after eating.

It’s hard to understand why large numbers of people would choose to believe in an invisible, unmeasurable force over their own agency. And we know that belief in luck has little basis in reality. So why are so many successful people believers?

“Luck is a slippery subject,” says Maia Young, associate professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. It’s a hard thing to prove or disprove.

Prosperity is not always merit-based, which leads many to search for answers as to why some deserving people fail while some undeserving succeed. While there is nothing objectively special about a lucky penny, lucky charms really do seem to work.

“There is no real tangible thing we can call luck,” says Joseph Mazur, mathematician and author of What’s Luck Got to Do with It? “But we create that tangible thing by transferring it to an object.”

And those lucky objects afford us the feeling of a security blanket. Lucky charms create an illusion of control for the person who believes in them, says Stuart Vyse, psychologist and author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition.

In studies of lucky charms, people perform better on tasks when they have a lucky charm with them. In one study in 2010, researchers had students putt a golf ball. Half the students were told that the golf ball they were using was lucky. The students who thought they were putting with a lucky ball were better at it than students told they were using a regular ball.

As part of the same study, a group of students who had lucky charms were recruited for a series of memory tasks. Half the students were allowed to keep their lucky charms with them, and the other half had their charms taken away. The students who were allowed to keep their charms performed better.

In a skilled activity, lucky charms boost confidence for people who believe in them, explains Vyse. Even though many people might not know how their lucky charms actually work, it is not a bad idea to carry a charm for added confidence, says Young. It is a “low cost” belief, she explains.

Personality and attitude play into luck as well. In her research, Young finds that optimism is positively associated with luck. If someone believes that they are lucky, and believes that good things will happen, they will try harder at a task, she says.

“When people view themselves as lucky, they are more likely to choose and persist at challenging tasks,” explains Young.

That persistence can have a self-reinforcing effect. The more challenging tasks people take on, the more chance there is they will succeed at some of them, giving them a sense that they are indeed lucky.

A generally positive attitude towards life also makes it seem like more happy events occur for a person, says Vyse. When someone has a sense that things are going their way in general, it makes for better interactions with other people. Those improved relationships can lead to more opportunities down the line if one of those friends becomes a useful connection for work or a romantic partner.

While it is not rational to put stock in luck, studying the psychology behind the belief can begin to explain one of the reasons why some people end up at the top while others end up at the bottom.

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