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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Iowa chapter.

Spooky season is here, and what’s spookier than superstitions?! A wildly debated topic, I personally am a huge believer in all things supernatural, including the idea that you should always be on the look out for possible superstitions. Superstitions have ties to cultural traditions and beliefs dating back to the 15th century. Not sure if you would consider yourself superstitious? I gathered a list of superstitions from around the world, some more common than others, so that you can find out how superstitious you are! Count how many of these superstitions you believe in- results will be at the end! 

20 Superstitions from around the world: 
  1. Always enter the room with your right foot (Spain)

    Watch where you’re walking, as walking into a room with your left foot is a sign of bad luck. I guess I can understand this one a little bit, who wouldn’t want to start their day off on the right foot? 

  2. Breaking a wishbone (United States): A Thanksgiving tradition in my household, two people make a wish, grab their end of the wishbone, and pull. Whoever gets the bigger half of the wishbone will have their wish come true! 

  3. Never stick your chopsticks straight up (Japan):
    sushi nigiri black background
    Photo by Kelvin Zyteng from Unsplash
    Placing chop sticks vertically straight into your food can make them look like the number 4, or the symbol of death in Japan. Who knew eating a bowl of rice could turn into a life or death situation?
  4. Stepping in Poop is good luck (France): If you step on a crack, you’ll break your moms back. But step in some dog poo with your left foot and you’ll gain some good luck! 
  5. Acorns allow everlasting youth (Britain): Forget the expensive anti-aging serums and creams, all you need is a few acorns in your pocket to ensure a young complexion according to the British. 
  6. Don’t go home right after a funeral (Philippines):
    sad girl in blue sweater near window
    Anthony Tran
    If mourning a loss isn’t enough to deal with, Filipinos believe that you should never go straight home after a funeral because a bad spirit might follow you home. Maybe grab a nice lunch or take a quick trip to the store just to be safe. 
  7. Walking under a ladder (Egypt): The triangle is a sacred formation in Egypt (hence the pyramids) and when you lean a ladder against a wall it creates a triangular shape. While you shouldn’t walk under a ladder for safety reasons in general, you also might want to avoid the bad luck that comes with it. 
  8. Breaking a mirror is 7 years bad luck (Romans and Greeks):
    woman looking at her reflection in mirror
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
    According to the Greeks, our souls live in reflective surfaces. Therefore, breaking a mirror is in essence, destroying the connection between body and soul, leaving you no more room for protection from all things evil. 7 years is a pretty big chuck of time to have no soul, so maybe be a little extra careful the next time your checking yourself out in the mirror. 
  9. Don’t jump over a child (Turkey): Under no circumstance should you jump over a child (though I don’t know many instances when you would need to), as this will cause them to be short forever.  
  10. A black cat is bad luck (Europe): 
    Unsplash/Sašo Tušar
    Your neighborhood black cat might not be as friendly as you think. While you can enjoy a black kitty from afar, you don’t want to let it cross your path, as that is an omen of misfortune and death. 
  11. Friday the 13th (Universal): Supposedly on Friday the 13th unlucky occurrences are very common, and some believe it to be a supernatural phenomenon. I didn’t think I believed in Friday the 13th but considering the last Friday the 13th was one of the last days before our world changed as we know it (March 13th- right before COVID-19 hit) I might just be a believer. 
  12. Giving Yellow Flowers (Universal):
    sandals sidewalk flowers
    Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus
    You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to be surprised by some flowers from your significant other! Just make sure that whether you are giving/receiving the flowers they are not yellow, as that is a sign of bad luck and an end to the relationship! Maybe stick to some pretty roses or carnations instead. 
  13. Don’t own a yoyo (Syria): Find a new toy because in 1933, Syria banned yoyos in fear it would cause a drought (syriaously?!) 
  14. Don’t say happy birthday too early (Russia): 
    Girl blowing out candles
    Sergei Solo
    Think twice before you celebrate your birth week instead of just your birthday. According to Russians, if someone wishes you a happy birthday too early it will bring bad luck.
  15. Don’t say the same word at the same time (Italy): A variation on jinx, if you say the same word at the same time as your friend, it means you will never get married. Don’t worry, if you touch your nose right after you say the word, you will be allowed to wed again. 
  16. Finding a heads-up penny (Universal):
    pile of American coins
    Photo by Tim Sullivan from Stocksnap
    Keep your head down for a head up, as finding a heads-up penny on the ground is a sign of good luck. Now if the penny is tail side up…… you might want to look away and pretend you didn’t see anything. 
  17. Bad luck comes in three (Universal): While this could apply to a lot, it originated from the idea that you should never light three candles with just one match or you are wishing death upon all witnesses. Unfortunately, a lot of things come in threes these days, so I don’t know if I believe that all trios will bring you misfortune (You’re going to tell me the powerpuff girls or the iconic trios of Mamma Mia are unlucky? I don’t think so.) 
  18. Wearing wedding bells on your wedding day (Ireland):
    Warner Bros. Television
    Here comes the (noisy) bride! Many Irish brides wear wedding bells on their wedding day to ward off evil spirits that are said to curse your marriage. 
  19. Rubbing Nile Kinnick’s helmet (Iowa City): With football season just a few weeks away, now is the perfect time to inform you all of the Nile Kinnick superstition. Players and fans rub the helmet of the Nile Kinnick statue in front of the stadium to give the team good luck and (hopefully) secure that W! 
  20. Knocking on wood (Universal): With all of the possible ways to get bad luck mentioned thus far, I think that it is good to inform readers of this positive superstition. Knocking on wood twice will reverse any bad luck that you may have!
How many of these superstitions do you believe in?


If you believe in 0-3 

You are not superstitious! You are probably a pretty practical and rational person, known for making decisions driven by logic rather than emotion. Sure, you may have heard of 1 or 2 before, but you choose to believe what you know to be true rather than believe in unknown “hocus pocus”. You probably don’t believe in many other arbitrary ideas like aliens or zodiac signs either. May you enjoy your spooky season without as much fear as the rest of us!

If you believe in 4-9

20th Century Fox Television / Giphy

You are probably more superstitious then you think! You play it cool as if superstitions are just a silly game for kids to let their imagination run wild, but deep down you constantly ask yourself “ok but like what if its true?” You may not be the first to call yourself superstitious, but let’s just say you get a little paranoid when Friday the 13th rolls around and you always make sure to knock on wood in fear of cursing yourself. 

If you believe in 10 or more

Shocker- You are in fact Superstitious! You probably already knew this and most likely clicked on this article because you love all things superstitious (hopefully you learned of some new ones from around the world). While I think there is no harm in believing in all things superstitious, just make sure you aren’t living your life in fear of stepping into a room with your left foot or avoiding the black cat in your neighborhood. Superstitions are supposed to be fun, not put a hindrance on your life! Like most superstitious folk, Halloween is your favorite time of the year, so I know you will have the best spooky season ever! Dare I say better than the non-believers…


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