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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Superstition--The Traditional Belief

Superstition--The Traditional Belief

Superstition is a traditional belief that a certain action or event can cause or foretell an apparently unrelated event. For example, some superstitious people believe that carrying a rabbit's foot will bring them good luck. Others believe that if a black cat crosses their path, they will have bad luck. To yet other superstitious people, dropping a knife or fork on the floor means company is coming. Such beliefs are superstitions because in each case the action and the event it foretells are traditionally thought to be connected. For instance, the rabbit's foot is associated with fertility.
Superstitions have existed in every human society throughout history.
Common superstitions from around the world
* In Afghanistan it is said that if you see a magpie sitting on a wall, a message will be coming for you.
* In India it is considered bad luck if someone sneezes while you are leaving your house. The remedy is to come back into the house and wait for a few hours before leaving.
* In China people say that one should not sweep or dust on New Year's Day lest good fortune also be swept away.
* An accidental burn on the left ring finger means one is soon to be engaged.
* Brides on their wedding day often do not see their groom until the ceremony, believing that to do so causes bad luck.
* Among African Americans it is considered unlucky to sweep someone with a broom while cleaning the house.
* Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, is common among those of European descent.
* It is also a common belief that breaking a mirror will bring seven years of ill fortune.
* Seeing a ladybug brings good luck, but killing it brings misfortune. If you catch a ladybug in your home, count the number of dots on the beetle's back, and you'll soon receive as many dollars as there are dots. And if a man and a woman together notice a ladybug, they are bound for romance.
* Some believe that walking under a ladder will bring bad luck.
* Opening an umbrella inside the house is purported to bring bad luck.
* Entering a house left leg first is sometimes thought to bring bad luck.
* In Western America it is supposed that if one holds one's breath from the start of a tunnel to the end of it, one may make a silent wish.
* In some countries an owl is a bad omen; in others it is a good sign because owls make their sounds when a dangerous animal is near.
* Some people believe that if you give someone a handbag as a gift, you must place a coin in the handbag, otherwise the handbag will bring the recipient bad luck.
* In theatre and drama it is considered bad luck to say "Good luck" on opening night. "Break a leg" is substituted.
* When producing the play Macbeth, it is considered bad luck to say the title and main character's name. Whenever one needs to mention the play's title it is appropriate to refer to it as "The Scottish Play" instead.
* In the Middle East (notably Egypt), some people believe that cutting the air with scissors brings about animosity.
* In many parts of Europe, "Break a leg" is substituted with the regional colloquialism for excrement. This is a tradition that dates back to times when horses were the primary means of travel, either directly or by carriage. When a spectacle had been well reviewed or advertised, there would be many horses in front of the theatre, and thus copious amounts of horse excrement.
* It is a common superstition that using a red lighter is bad luck.
Superstitions will probably have a part in life as long as people fear each other and have uncertainties about the future.

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