Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Superstition Ain't The Way

San Geraldo came upon an interesting article on Spanish superstitions. The first one he read to me explained that it's bad luck to put a hat on a bed. Mine is not to reason why. Here's a short list; there are many more.

Don't buy knives or scissors as a gift. Tradition says this means that the relationship will be broken. I know a couple that just gave another couple a set of knives as a wedding gift. Uh oh!

Don't Break a Leg
In many countries,"break a leg" is the standard way to wish good luck before a theatre performance. In Spain you're supposed to wish someone "mucha mierda" or "loads of shit."

Cats' Lives
We've always been told cats have nine lives. Here in Spain, the poor things have only seven.

Don't Sweep Him Off His Feet
If, while sweeping with a broom, you accidentally brush the feet of someone who's single, they'll never get married. (My sister was always told the same thing would result if she ate the last of anything. So, for example, she always left me one Oreo — but never more than one.)

Yellow Clothing
Never give yellow clothing as a gift, especially to a baby (something about yellow representing sulphur and the Devil). Also, don't wear yellow on the day of something important — or to someone's wedding.

Drinking Again
When toasting, always look each person in the eye. And, it's bad luck to toast with a glass of water. Fortunately, beer and wine here are cheaper than bottled water.

Grapes in Red Underwear
You may remember that at midnight on New Year's Eve in Spain we eat 12 grapes for luck and prosperity — one for each clock chime (click here for that blog post). I've learned that wearing red underwear will also help. (I'll have photos to share New Year's Day.)

Right Foot First
You should always enter a room right foot first. Apparently, misfortune enters a room with the left foot. However, if you accidentally enter a room left foot first, you can counter the bad luck by making the sign of the cross three times. (I'll take my chances.)

It's Not About the Leather
Spaniards believe that leaving your handbag on the floor will result in you losing all your money. And that would explain why our friends and neighbours get so upset when San Geraldo places his bag at his feet in cafes. I always thought they were concerned about the expensive leather.

Tuesday the 13th
Tuesday and not Friday is the unlucky day here. Don't get married or start a trip on that day.

Fortunately, I'm not at all superstitious. So, I'll continue to do all of the above without suffering any ill consequences.

(I've got my fingers crossed. Knock on wood. And poo poo poo away all you evil spirits!)

When you believe in things that you don't understand...


  1. I don't consider myself superstitious, but I have been known to pick up a penny for luck.

    1. Stephen:
      Same here. And I don't pick up a penny if it shows tails.

  2. If you want knives as a gift, you have to pay the person who is giving them to you, the smallest denomination coin you have.

    1. Andrew:
      I love it. I wonder if that's the case here, too.

  3. I am not superstitious either but I will 'knock on wood; whenever I have too!!

  4. I've heard about hats on beds being bad. And, as a housewarming gift when we bought our home in Smallville, Carlos' boss at that time gave us a set of knives ... he lost that job a couple of months later. Uh huh.
    And poor cats in Spain! Seven lives!! That's animal cruelty!

    1. Bob:
      Fortunately, our cats don't seem to have used any of their limited supply.

  5. in Poland there is the same superstition

  6. Wow, that was a great little list :)
    My students (none of whom are from Spain) have mentioned this thing about not putting a purse on the floor... I always look at them like they're nuts, because I never heard of this being a problem before (except for the nice leather getting dirty, which is reason enough). I'll have to let them know that they can drop French and pick up Spanish and move to Spain now, and fit right in ;)

    1. Judy:
      That's all it takes. Everyone would assume they were Spanish.

  7. In France, "merde" is also said for good luck. And if you step in some, be sure it's with your left foot, as that also brings good luck. :)

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I had always been told that stepping in some was good luck, but I didn't know there was a particular foot involved. (That explains a lot in my life!)

  8. My Mom told me about the knives superstition - never heard of it before then. Poor Spanish kitties - but they do get to live in a beautiful part of the world. You have to love Spain, anyplace where beer and wine is cheaper than bottled water rocks!

    1. Cheapchick:
      That knife superstition was news to me. And, for better or worse, my nephew and niece-in-law just gave my other niece a set of knives as a wedding present. But it was on her gift registry... Beer and wine is so cheap here that one feels obligated to drink!

    2. That is part of the reason we are traveling there in the Spring - I don't call myself Cheapchick for nothing!

  9. This was a fascinating read.
    Does it 'count' if one is not from that ethos? I like yellow, and give it often (so far no dire consequences). Is it marred now that I know this?


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