Halloween is here, and many of us are looking forward to horror movie marathons, cold wintry nights, and consuming enough sugar to keep us up for two days straight. However, for the 38% of the British public who identify as actively superstitious, it can also be a time of vigilance against the many unlucky omens that plague this particular holiday.
Black cat coming your way? Avoid it! It may be a witch in disguise. Going out for the evening? Make sure you wear a costume to fool the evil spirits wandering abroad.
Superstition is defined as a “belief or practice that is considered irrational or supernatural”. Generally speaking, superstitions vary from country to country and have roots in practices and common beliefs that have prevailed from times before modern science could provide rational answers. Superstitions about money, especially, tend to linger as habits passed down from one generation to the next.
Italy: Spiders mean money
No one’s sure why, but in Italy there’s a superstition that says if you see a spider you shouldn’t kill it, as having it in your house will bring a financial windfall in the future.
This belief can be traced as far back as ancient Rome, where citizens believed spiders would bring good luck in business and personal wealth. Indeed, the spider symbol that can be found on many coins and items of jewellery from this time.
China: Don’t put your purse on the floor
This particular belief can be attributed to the practice of Feng Shui. In many Asian countries, bars and restaurants provide their patrons with bag holders, allowing them to place their bags safely under the table without having to put them directly on the floor.
Not only is this cleaner, but it can also be linked to the common superstition in China and other Asian countries that putting your purse on the floor means you will lose money in the future.
India: No money after sunset
This superstition says that you will bring financial misfortune on yourself and your home if you lend money after sunset. It is directly related to Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth, beauty, love and fortune. The original version of this superstition says to not exchange salt after sunset; going back to when salt was used as currency.
Because the Goddess enters the house in the evening (especially during the religious festival Diwali), by lending salt, or in modern day, money, you will offend her by giving away her gifts and so cause her to abandon you.
Argentina: Put money in your shoes
In Argentina, if you want to make sure you start the year right and guarantee yourself financial success then before the clock strikes 12 on the last day of the year you need to put coins or notes in your favourite pair of shoes. This is actually a practice that’s followed across Latin America.
Ireland: An itchy palm means good luck
If the palm of your left hand itches it means money is coming your way soon. Conversely, if your right palm itches it means you’ll soon be parting with your cash one way or another.
Although the origins of this superstition are not completely clear, there is a theory that it goes right back to the Saxon invasion of the British isles, who bought the tradition over with them from Saxony (modern day Germany).
Greece: Money attracts money
In Greece they believe that money attracts money, so you should always have at least a few coins in your pocket or your wallet.
Along the same lines, having a completely empty wallet means that there will be no money coming your way. That’s why, if you ever give anyone a wallet as a gift, you need to make sure there are a few coins in it otherwise you’re bringing bad financial luck upon the recipient!