Top 10 Superstitions

Believe them or not, these old wives’ tales are enduring. Whether it’s a good luck charm, a refusal to walk near black cats or a fear of Friday the 13th, it’s a superstition. Some think they’re silly, while others swear by them; either way, some have been around for centuries so they’re not going anywhere. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 superstitions. For this list, we’re sticking to more general superstitions, and staying away from more specifically themed ones like sports, wedding, or theatre-based stories. Special thanks to our users viliguns and simeon anderson for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Superstitions


Believe them or not, these old wives' tales are enduring. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 superstitions.

For this list, we’re sticking to more general superstitions, and staying away from more specifically themed ones like sports, wedding, or theatre-based stories.

#10: Champagne Showers

Perhaps the most common sailing superstition is the christening ceremony. Before any boat sails on its maiden voyage, it’s officially named, blessed and baptized with a “christening fluid,” like champagne. Greeks, Romans and Egyptians held similar rituals where they implored the gods to protect their sailors; but the rite as we know it today began in the 1800s. But beware bad luck if it doesn’t go according to plan…

#9: Are You on Crack?

This more recent superstition was born out of racism rather than concern for mothers. Started in the late-19th and early-20th century, the rhyme was once, “Step on a crack, turn your mother black.” However, that evolved into “step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” There’s also a belief that cracks in the pavement lead to the underworld, and that stepping on them releases evil spirits into the world.

#8: A Superstition Worth Its Salt

To spill salt is bad luck, according to a superstition that either traces back to the Last Supper when Judas did the same, or to a time when salt was expensive. To counteract your bad luck, throw a pinch of the salt over your left shoulder and you’re good to go. Why? Because the Devil is always skulking behind you, and throwing salt in his eyes will distract him.

#7: My Lucky Charms

Everyone has a charm that brings them good luck or wards off bad, like a horseshoe, a rabbit’s foot or a four-leaf clover. Or you may just find a penny; pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck. Knocking on wood is another good luck superstition that comes from the belief that good spirits reside within the trees, and knocking on something wooden is a request for their protection.

#6: A Numbers Game

Different cultures revere or fear different numbers: 666 is the number-of-the-beast, bad luck comes in threes, Friday the 13th is unlucky – y’know the drill. Thirteen is unlucky because 12 is thought to be the divine and complete number. But Italians actually hate Friday the 17th. In China, the word for #4 is similar to the word for death, so it’s avoided; same deal goes for Japan and the #9. Go figure.

#5: Under the Umbrella

Open an umbrella inside and you’re asking for bad luck to rain down on you. Why? Cause you’d be angering the sun gods, duh. Umbrellas were once commonly used to protect against the sun, so opening one indoors was considered an insult to the sun gods, and they’d be so mad they’d curse you. And here we thought it was ‘cause you’ll almost definitely knock something over.

#4: Nothing to Sneeze At

Whether it’s “bless you,” “Gesundheit,” or another message, you’ve almost definitely been wished good health after sneezing. Not only a gesture of good manners, this centuries-old custom may’ve started as a reaction to the bubonic plague. Since a sneeze was an early sign of infection, a blessing was said to ward off the disease. However, another theory suggests that a sneeze is something else entirely.

#3: Black Cat in Your Tracks

Black cats hold different meanings to different cultures: western tradition associates them with witches, demons and death. Devout Christian pilgrims even went so far as to murder black cats or those caught with them. But ironically, this meant the rat population exploded and spread the Bubonic Plague. On the other hand, sailors and those who live in Japan or Great Britain believe black cats bring good luck.

#2: Ladder Matters

Not only could something fall on you if you walk under a ladder; you could also be tempting fate altogether. Because an open ladder forms a triangle, and that shape used to symbolize both life and Christianity’s Holy Trinity, it was considered bad luck to break it walking through. Another theory holds that since people were once hung from ladders, their spirits would haunt the space beneath.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Itchy palms mean money
- Keep your shoes off the bed
- New house, new broom
- Full moon triggers odd behavior

#1: Smoke & Mirrors

The superstitious think mirrors have a more sinister role than simply showing our reflections: some ancient cultures think anyone who gazes in a mirror has no soul, as it’s been trapped within the looking glass. But that’s not all: break one, and you’re in for seven-years of bad luck because you’re letting trapped souls out to play. And don’t even get us started on Bloody Mary…

Do you agree with our list? Which superstitions freak you out? For more spooky top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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