All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

Max Abroad : The Best of Spain

Quite simply writing about the best things Spain has to offer and anything that might crop up along the way. Spain is a lot more than just sun, sand and sea...

2013? Popular Superstitions in Spain
Friday, January 11, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

Nothing worse than being superstitious and working in a mirror factory, an umbrella shop ... or at Deloitte Touche. The 11-S attacks destroyed the Twin Towers and with them, the company’s New York headquarters. On 12 February 05, an inferno consumed, with the rest of the Windsor building, its headquarters in Madrid too. Was it coincidence or was the giant auditor jinxed for a while?. Now we have just entered 2013 talks of superstitions are on the daily agenda. Experts agree that in today's Spain, and especially this year, superstitions are on the rise. So I thought I would detail, along with their origins, some of the most popular superstitions in Spain (even though many are common in other countries) to stand you all in good stead for 2013. Good Luck to everyone!

Tuesday and the Number 13
BAD LUCK: The Curse of the number thirteen is rooted in the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the twelve Apostles, when he was betrayed. It is believed that if thirteen people sit down to eat at the same table, one of them will die within a year.
The day of the week varies: in Spain, Mexico and Greece it is Tuesday and thirteen,In the UK and other countries it is Friday the thirteenth, because Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

Starting the day on your left foot
BAD LUCK: Petronius  in the 'Satyricon' alluded that “misfortune” entered a room or a place with its left foot. In Spain, it may have originated from a  Celtic tradition and the solar motion, which always moved towards the right. To counter-act it one must do  the sign of the cross three times.

Throwing rice at a wedding 
GOOD LUCK: Before, everyone threw pieces of sweets at the bride and groom, symbolizing happiness and fertility. But in lean times they threw wheat or rice, as it was much cheaper, to this day in Spain, they throw rice.

Feeling a buzz in your ear
GOOD LUCK: When you hear or feel a whistle like buzz in your ear ask someone to give you a number. The letter of the alphabet that corresponds to that number will be the first letter of the name of the person you expect to marry. "The Left ear is for love and right for spite." If you pinch the right ear immediately when you hear the whistle, the person who is criticizing you will bite their tongue!

Somebody casts an “evil eye” (spell - mal de ojo)
BAD LUCK: It is traditionally believed that if we are completely reflected in the pupil of an eye, we could be trapped by it. Therefore, from ancient Rome to the Middle Ages, those who had cataracts or other visual defects were often sacrificed at the stake. In Greece, Turkey and Egypt is widely believed that there are people with evil powers in their eyes, even unconsciously, one with these powers could cause harm just by casting their eyes over something. For protection one needs to carry garlic, gold and silver, blue glass eyes and horseshoes.

Spilling salt

BAD LUCK: Its origin dates back to 3500 B.C. Then, they believed that salt was incorruptible, which is why it became a symbol of friendship. Hence the belief that if you spill it, the friendship would break. To counteract this effect, one would take a pinch of the spilt salt and throw it over one’s left shoulder.

Saying "Jesus" or "bless you" when someone sneezes

GOOD LUCK: It was because sneezing was the beginning of many different diseases and so one asked God to drive away the danger of infection.
 It is also said that it was to keep the devil from entering through the mouth.

Spilling wine

BAD LUCK: When you spill wine on the table, you should immediately put a little of it on your forehead for good luck and if it was champagne then you have to touch it with the tip of your fingers and put it on the earlobe to achieve eternal happiness. The origin of this belief is thought to be related to the fetus as it begins life with the earlobe. For this reason, when you soak it in champagne you’re wishing that your life will be surrounded by all kinds of happiness and joy. 

Bringing a used broom to a new house
BAD LUCK: You mustn’t take a used broom with you when you move house, as doing so, will bring bad luck and all the misfortune from the previous home.

Breaking a mirror
BAD LUCK:It is said to curse you with seven years bad luck. The mirror was a magical element of divination, so if it broke, it was so that it couldn’t show the frightening future ahead. Seven years is due to the belief that the body renews itself every seven years.

Placing bread upside down on the table or dropping it on the ground
BAD LUCK: Bread is a staple food. Therefore there have been several superstitions that have arisen related to making it, cutting it, eating it and offering it to others. Placing it upside down is supposed to bring bad luck because it's treated as an insult to the body of Christ, also, when it falls to the ground it is custom to kiss it  and do the sign of the cross three times  to ward off misfortune.

GOOD LUCK: In Ancient Greece parsley was considered a sacred plant that symbolized  triumph and resurrection. Driven by this belief, the Greeks adorned graves with wreaths of parsley.

Putting a hat on the bed
BAD LUCK: Putting a hat on the bed is an omen, in Spain and Italy, that means something bad will happen. This superstition has another meaning: that your mind will go blank. This belief probably comes from the symbolism of the hat, which represents the head and thoughts and is a symbol of identity.

An off-centered picture hanging on the wall or falling from the wall where it was hung.
BAD LUCK: This idea has its origins in ancient Greece, where it was believed that if the portrait of a monarch or a celebrity fell to the ground suffering serious damage it meant that they would soon die.

Putting a cactus on the windowsill
GOOD LUCK: A popular belief says that this plant wards away the evil of the house. It’s great ability to absorb moisture from the atmosphere makes it a powerful protector against evil spirits, that need moisture to grow. The custom of placing a cactus by doors and windows, observed in all the Mediterranean comes from the belief that if spirits find water along the way, they could drown crossing it and be trapped there forever.

Sweeping the feet of a single women or a widow
BAD LUCK: This meant that they would never marry. Related to witches.

A falling eyelash
GOOD LUCK: The Devil collects eyelashes and, according to tradition, losing one meant running all kinds of dangers. So if one falls, put it on the back of your hand and throw it over your shoulder or place it on the tip of your nose, blow it upwards and make a wish.

Throwing coins into a well or fountain
GOOD LUCK: It comes from ancient divination, the ritual of throwing stones or hair pins down a well, in order to know whether a fact would be fulfilled or not. If bubbles rose to the water surface it meant that they would be fulfilled.

A black cat walking towards you or which crosses your path 
BAD LUCK: Although in Egypt it was believed that the cats were the reincarnation of the gods, centuries later, the Catholic Church regarded them  as the reincarnation of the devil, so they were burned. Black was identified with the devil being the color of night. In most of Europe and North America it is believed that a black cat brings bad luck if it move away from you, but good luck if it walks towards you. In Spain it pretty much in any direction, but its always bad luck!

Like 0


Earlieo said:
Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 5:19 AM

On the mirror breaking, I heard that it took about 7 years to earn enough money to replace it...hence, 7 years bad luck!

max said:
Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 9:18 AM

I've never heard that before, it is a very very old tradition so I don't think it has anything to do with money / purchasing a mirror, that may be a newer understanding or explanation for the seven years. Seven years to buy a mirror seems a bit much don't you think?:)

Pete Osborn said:
Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 10:24 AM

We are buying a town house in Costa Blanca with #13 in 2013, well they do say lucky for some!

max said:
Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 10:41 AM

Wish you all the best with your new home! I'm not at all superstitious but I am sure it will bring good luck and make sure you don't bring an old broom to your new house!! :)

Marc said:
Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 4:03 PM

I had a haircut in Spain in September and unfortunately the hairdresser dropped and broke his mirror as he showed me the back of my head. The shop had recently opened.
When I returned to Spain from England in December the shop had closed! I did wonder if breaking the mirror whilst he attended to my hair was the cause and therefore he had seven years of bad luck!

Roy Leon said:
Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 5:54 PM

Hmmn... superstition we should have grown out of it by now but it lingers on.
Friday 13th... Look it up in Wikipedia...
On Friday, 13 October 1307 (a date sometimes spuriously linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition and October surprise)[25][26] Philip ordered de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested.
The Templars were eventually burned at the stake of course.
Have often sat at a table with 13 guests, all have survived 40 years on.
The Thirteen Club was set up in the 1880's to debunk this superstition.
Alas they failed.

Bernie said:
Sunday, January 13, 2013 @ 12:34 AM

If you spit on your hands and rub them together every time you see a white taxi it will bring you money. Try it , once you start you wont be able to stop. I have always been unlucky, like the time I joined a marching band and they gave me a grand piano! And then there was the time I joined 'uniform dating website and wound up with the girl who plays the trombone for the sally army! Hows your luck aye! Bernie

Leave a comment

You don't have to be registered to leave a comment but it's quicker and easier if you are (and you also can get notified by email when others comment on the post). Please Sign In or Register now.

Name *
Spam protection: 
Your comment * (HTML not allowed)
(Items marked * are required)


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x