Friday is the Friday. Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious? If so it’s probably a day you dread. I, however, am a die-hard Taylor Swift fan and 13 is her lucky number so I tend to like it. And also hold out hope for some kind of announcement or surprise album drop. If you know you know. Still, I just knocked on wood after that statement, so there is some superstition in my body. I mean if I can get some good luck why not? And everyone wants to avoid unnecessary bad luck. What are the most popular superstitions? Well in honor of Friday the 13th we are taking a look at 13 of the most common superstitions and their origins. Do you believe in any of these? Which ones?

  • Black Cats Walking In Front Of You

    Black Cat

    Black cats are synonymous with Halloween and witches. But why? Many people also believe that if a black cat crosses your path it’s bad luck or a bad omen. Though some see it as good luck. The mystery surrounding the animals dates back to the middle ages and the time of witches. Black cats were thought be “assistants” to witchcraft. But not everyone believes a black cat is a bad luck sign, though it typically does take longer on average for them to be adopted.

    In Europe, in countries such as Britain and Ireland, it is considered lucky to see a black cat. Germany also believes this under one condition it crosses your path from left to right.

  • Knock On Wood

    Knock On Wood

    Clearly, this is one I do. And honestly, I have no idea why or how long I’ve done it. According to, the phrase dates back to 18th-century Britain. But its exact origins are disagreed upon.

    Ancient pagan cultures such as the Celts believed trees housed spirits and gods, which may explain the phenomenon. Knocking on tree trunks may have roused spirits and invited protection, but it could have also been a way to express gratitude for a stroke of luck. Some believe that knocking on wood chased away evil spirits or prevented them from listening in on their boasts about their luck, thus preventing their fortune from turning. Christians, on the other hand, link the practice to the wood from Christ’s cross.  Bad Luck In Threes

  • Bad luck comes in threes

    Bad Luck In Threes

    You’ve probably heard that things happen in threes or “bad luck comes in threes”. In fact, I can think of a couple of instances in my life where this seems to be true. Is it really a thing or just confirmation bias when it does happen? If you ask psychologists they would tell you that this is just reassurance to people who crave certainty. When something bad happens being able to put a limit on it is comforting.

    In a lot of cultures, 3 is actually considered a lucky number. In fact, the pattern of three surrounds life whether religious  (the Holy Trinity, the Trimurti in Hinduism, the three jewels of Buddhism), folklore (the three bears, three wishes), or simply counting to three to begin a competition. So why this connotation?

    Some things in threes are also considered bad luck three candles or matches burning in a room, knocking three times can symbolize death, and three butterflies on a leaf. But ultimately the number three is familiar and represents a pattern. By believing something bad will only happen in threes we regain control.

  • A rabbit's foot will brink you luck

    Rabbits Foot

    There are a couple of theories behind this one as well. One is that Celtic tribes believed rabbits spent so much time underground they could communicate with the gods. And this translated to the idea that carrying a rabbit’s foot would bring luck.

    Others believe this was a custom appropriated from African American culture, according to Another account has the rabbit’s foot linked to “the hand of glory”

  • Breaking A Mirror Is 7 Years Of Bad Luck

    Broken Mirror

    This one we actually know the exact origins of. According to the University of South Carolina, mirrors were first made by Roman craftsmen from polished metal surfaces, and they believed their gods observed their souls through these devices. There was a belief that damaging a mirror compelled the gods to rain bad luck on anyone so careless.

    From the third century onwards, mirrors were made from glass, and breakage became more common. The Romans, however, did not believe that bad luck would last forever. According to them, the body renews itself every seven years. Hence seven years of bad luck for breaking a mirror.

  • Find a penny, pick it up

    find A Penny Pick It Up

    You’ve probably heard the rhyme “find a penny pick it up…”. Some people think finding a penny in any situation is lucky. Some swear it’s only good luck to pick up a penny if heads up. And if you come across a penny that is tails side up you should flip it over for another person to find. But many people believe any penny you find is good luck. This tends to stem from the idea in early cultures that metal was a gift from the gods and that it would protect you and bring you good luck.

  • 666


    666 of “the mark of the beast”. This dates back to The Bible and the book of Revelations. Revelation 13:18, reads, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is 666.” Christians and others believe it is a sign to represent the Devil and/or the coming of the Antichrist. It also could represent a name. In Greek, each letter has a numeral equivalent. If you add up the letters you get the number of the name. That being said it’s much harder to go in the reverse which is why the name 666 potentially stands for is unproven.  Though many scholars believe it to be in reference to the Roman Emperor Nero.

    Regardless it has a negative connotation to many today, understandably!

  • Make a wish on a wishbone


    Like most superstions this one dates far back. This time to the Ancient Romans. They believed that chicken bones held the power of good fortune. Thus, when two people pulled apart a wishbone, the person left with the larger piece got the good luck, or a “wish” granted.

  • Cross Your Fingers

    Fingers Crossed

    Crossing the fingers is one of our most well-understood gestures. According to Oxford Reference one popular explanation for the gesture’s origin is that it dates from classical times when Christians were persecuted for their religion.  It is believed that crossing the fingers was a secret way of invoking the cross.

  • Throw salt over your shoulder


    Another superstition with a religious basis. This dates back to the Last Supper, the idea that spilling salt is unlucky. And throwing it over your shoulder supposedly wards off the devil who is behind you bringing the bad.

  • Walking Under A Ladder

    walk under a ladder

    walk under a ladder

    Regardless of superstition, it’s probably just not a good idea to walk under a ladder. Especially one that someone is one. This superstition originated 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Ladders leaning against walls form triangles, and Egyptians considered this shape sacred (as shown by their pyramids). Triangles symbolized the trinity of the gods, and if you passed through one you were sinning.

    This belief persisted throughout history. “Centuries later, followers of Jesus Christ developed an interpretation of the superstition based on the death of Christ. Due to its placement against the crucifix, the ladder became symbolic of wickedness, betrayal, and death. Walking under the ladder caused misfortune.

  • Opening an Umbrella Indoors

    Umbrella Inside

    I went to enough dance competitions with girls dancing to “It’s Raining Men” with umbrellas as props to buy into this one. But its roots are pretty simple. Umbrellas have actually been around for centuries. In ancient Egypt, umbrellas were used as a shield from the sun. If you opened one indoors it was considered disrespectful to the sun god. It is also believed that he would seek vengeance on the residence in which the umbrella was opened.

  • Stepping on a Crack

    Step On Crack

    Step on a crack break your mother’s back. We all heard this in elementary school. Though if there was any truth to it there would be a whole lot more instances of broken backs in the world. But why do we say this?  Early American and European folklore talks about the notion that the empty space in cracks (such as sidewalks, floors, walls) were actually connections from earth to the spirit world. Thus disrespecting them in any way would cause trouble and misfortune.