If there’s one day of the year when people are more cautious than ever, it’s Friday 13th. Some superstitions are present all year round though, and have been circulating for centuries!
1) Salt – great for seasoning, not for spilling
credit: Jason Tuinstra @wjtuinstra
Seasoning food makes the world of difference, but be wary about making a mess with salt as according to German superstition, it brings you bad luck. You can counteract it though; just throw the excess over your left shoulder using your right hand to keep the devil at a distance. Better check no one is standing behind you first though.
2) Garlic – Keeping vampires (and love interests) at a distance
credit: Anton Darius @theSollers
3) Holes in your bread means someone could drop dead
credit: Mankin Kim
If you’re a big fan of bread, look away now; according to English folklore, loaves of bread which have large holes in the middle mean someone will die soon. The hole is also viewed in some cultures as an open grave, but in most cases we reckon lack of bread triggers disappointment rather than fear.
4) Chewing gum after sundown turns you into a zombie
credit: Taylor Rooney @rooney
One of the more spine-chilling myths, in Turkey it’s believed that chewing gum after dark resembles gnawing on dead human flesh. There’s plenty more where that came from – other Turkish superstitions include girls who eat between two meals demolish their chances of finding a husband. Single snackers, beware!
5) Long noodles = A longer life
credit: Heloisa Nass @heloisanass
Rumor in China has it that the length of noodles reflects lifespan, so don’t worry about making a mess slurping up long strands – you’ll be laughing at 100! Don’t go splitting them before cooking either as this apparently cuts years off your life.
6) Double egg yolks? Twins are on the way!
Lianne Hill (@lianimal_22)
In Romani culture it’s thought that if you split an egg to reveal a double yolk, someone close to you will welcome twins. Either that or they’ll get married, so it’s a win-win situation! Not everyone looks at double yolks with such optimism though, as some areas in Britain view them as a sign of an early death.
7) Rice rice babies… The magic wedding grain
We’ve all seen it; newly-weds exiting a church, grinning while guests throw petals and confetti – and sometimes rice. But why rice? A belief originating from Rome, the grain supposedly represents the couple’s fertility and prosperity, and if there’s enough left over they can serve it as part of the reception buffet!
8) Fallen tortillas may bring you unwanted company
If you’re planning a Mexican night with friends, don’t go dropping tortillas on the floor as you may end up sharing the table with either someone you don’t want to or didn’t expect to see. There’s no telling which it will be either; this superstition from Mexico doesn’t delve any deeper!
9) Want to stay on your friend’s good side? Don’t hand them a hot pepper
credit: Calum Lewis @calumlewis
Chili peppers can not only do damage with their spice levels; they can apparently throw a spanner into the works with friendships too if you hand one to your pal. It’s not clear where this superstition stems from, but we prefer Italy’s stance on hot peppers, which is that wearing them around your neck can bring you good luck. No touching your eyes, though!
10) Birthday cake prevents party crashers
credit: Sergei Solo @snight
‘Blow out all the candles, or your wish won’t come true!’ That’s generally what we hear nowadays when presented a birthday cake. Back in ancient Greece, however, the phrase ‘Happy Birthday’ and lighting candles all began when celebrating the birth of the moon goddess Artemis, as they feared celebrations would attract evil spirits (aka. party crashers).
11) You’ll go bananas if you take the fruit on a fishing trip
Credit: Mike Dorner @dorner
Going fishing? Whatever you do, don’t take bananas as you’ll go home empty handed. Ever since crew died on a boat carrying bad bananas back in the 1700s it’s become a rule for many fishermen not to bring the yellow fruit on board. There is logic behind this; fishing boats back then also delivered bananas, which have a short shelf life, therefore the trip wasn’t long enough for catch.
12) The key to a happy year? Stuffing your face with grapes
credit: Maja Petric @majapetric
While most of us use New Year’s Eve as an excuse to glug down wine, Spaniards enjoy their grapes in a different way. Their December 31st tradition is to attempt to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds, which will supposedly bring happiness for every month in the coming year. There are worse foods to binge on!
13) Lettuce helps you feel the lurrrrve
No one would think to serve lettuce as part of a romantic meal, but in ancient Egypt it was considered an aphrodisiac and often dished up at weddings. That’s right oysters, you have competition! British ladies in the 1800s also relied on the plant to increase fertility and ease childbirth – who knew lettuce had so many positive effects?
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