Last Updated on 15 September 2023

Different cultures have different superstitions about things that can bring “bad luck.” Here is a list of many of them.

General (Multiple, often USA and UK)

  • Walking under a ladder
  • Breaking a mirror
  • Friday the 13th
  • The number 666
  • Opening an umbrella indoors
  • Black cat crossing your path
  • Stepping on a crack
  • Spilling salt
  • Leaving your purse or wallet on the ground
  • Putting shoes on a table
  • Seeing a single magpie
  • Leaving a white tablecloth on the table overnight
  • Getting a knife as a gift without giving them a coin in return


  • Mentioning how much success you have
  • Sneezing before breakfast
  • Telling your dreams before taking a drink of water


  • Cleaning your house after a guest leaves but before they reach their destination


  • Sweeping dirt out your door
  • Throwing out a candle
  • Sewing white linen with black thread


  • Leaving the house through a different door than you entered
  • Eating mango then drinking milk
  • Leaving flip-flops upside-down
  • Pointing your finger at the stars
  • The month of August is bad luck


  • Returning a plate clean when someone gives you food
  • Picking blackberries after October 11
  • Giving shoes or a bag as a gift


  • The number 4
  • Giving a clock as a gift
  • Sticking your chopsticks straight up in your food
  • Wearing a mustache


  • Brushing your hair while in bed
  • Opening two windows across from each other (many superstitions about drafts & breezes)


  • Saying a drink is your “last drink”
  • Bringing home a bucket of seashells
  • Not waiting 3 hours after eating before swimming
  • Picking up a penny off the ground
  • Going out at night with wet hair, especially if the moon is full


  • Pouring a different beer into a mug when there’s still some of the old beer in it
  • Writing a love letter on Christmas Eve
  • Leaving the dinner table early


  • Leaving scissors open or opening-and-closing them without cutting anything
  • Hearing an owl hoot
  • Leaving flip-flops upside-down
  • Hanging pictures in your house of people or animals


  • Leaving an open book face down
  • An even number of sneezes (odd is good)
  • Killing a spider
  • After pouring a cup of coffee, if a bubble forms and it floats away from you (towards you is good)


  • Putting a baguette on a table upside-down
  • Having 13 people at the dinner table
  • Wearing new clothes on a Friday
  • Lighting 3 candles with the same match
  • Giving carnations or chrysanthemums as a gift
  • Sweeping at night
  • Passing someone on the stairs
  • Crossing a stream while holding a cat


  • Toasting someone with a glass of water
  • Wishing “happy birthday” before the actual day
  • Giving a knife as a gift
  • Walking between two old ladies on the road


  • Toasting someone with beer
  • Cutting a baby’s nails before they are 12 months old
  • Kissing a baby’s foot
  • Visiting a baby but not sitting down


  • Knitting on your front porch


  • Trimming your nails at night
  • Getting a haircut on a Saturday
  • Shaking your leg


  • Sweeping at night
  • Sitting or standing in a doorway
  • Sitting on a pillow


  • Finding a comb on the floor
  • Seeing a single magpie or crow
  • An itchy nose
  • Handing someone a knife
  • Entering one door of your home and exiting another
  • Knocking over your chair when you stand up
  • Coming across a crowing hen


  • An owl getting into your house
  • Friday the 17th


  • Whistling at night
  • Children uncovering their bellybuttons during a thunderstorm
  • Sticking your chopsticks straight up in your food
  • Sleeping with your head pointing north


  • Geese honking at you
  • Seeing an owl
  • Scratching your right palm


  • Scratching your right palm if it itches
  • Stepping over someone
  • Opening and closing scissors without cutting anything
  • Laughing too much on a Thursday
  • Showering at night


  • Whistling indoors
  • Lighting a cigarette from a candle
  • Introducing yourself or shaking hands across a threshold
  • Looking into a broken mirror
  • Walking on manholes


  • Putting two mirrors facing each other
  • Making tamales when you’re angry
  • A large black moth entering your house
  • Sweeping over your own feet
  • Sweeping your house at night


  • Singing at the dinner table
  • Lending salt or fire
  • Having a light-haired person be the first to enter your home on New Year’s Day


  • Fetching water at night
  • Kissing a baby on the lips
  • Eating in the dark
  • Stepping over someone’s crossed legs
  • Eating food that fell on the ground
  • Whistling at night


  • Knitting a sweater for your boyfriend
  • Whistling while facing the sun


  • Wearing red during a storm
  • Going right home after a funeral
  • Taking home food from a wake
  • Siblings getting married the same year
  • Steps on a home staircase that are multiple of 3
  • Starting to clear a table while people are still eating


  • Having a wedding in May
  • Counting pierogi while they’re still boiling
  • Sitting down while a cake is baking in the oven
  • A squirrel on your roof
  • The play ‘Mazepa’
  • The number 7


  • Walking backwards
  • Leaving a hat on a bed
  • Crossing knives


  • Blowing out a candle (use your hand instead)
  • Cutting your nails on a Sunday
  • Washing your hair on a Tuesday


  • Giving yellow flowers as a gift
  • Sitting at the corner of a dinner table


  • Women eating goat meat
  • Lending or receiving money on New Year’s Day


  • Hearing hammering on New Year’s Day
  • It’s bad luck to meet a woman on New Year’s Day
  • Eating poultry on New Year’s Day

South Korea

  • Sleeping with a fan running
  • Giving shoes to your “significant other”
  • Eating “slippery” foods before taking an exam
  • Pregnant women eating “unshapely” or asymmetrical foods
  • Seeing a single crow

Spain (and most of South America)

  • Putting a hat on a bed
  • The color yellow, especially yellow clothing given as a gift
  • Entering or leaving a room with the left foot first
  • Tuesday the 13th
  • Bringing an old broom with you when moving into a new house
  • Touching a single person’s foot with a broom
  • Passing the salt shaker directly from hand to hand
  • Sharing a lighter among more than 3 people


  • Leaving your keys on the table
  • Bringing heather into your house
  • Stepping on a crack on Friday the 13th
  • Being served a slice of cake and it falls over on the plate


  • Playing with a yo-yo
  • Sitting on the ground behind a door
  • Leaving the scissors open


  • Telling parents their baby is cute
  • Getting a haircut on a Wednesday


  • Washing clothes on a Tuesday
  • Chewing gum at night
  • Jumping over a child
  • Cracking your knuckles
  • Handing a knife or scissors directly to another person
  • Seeing a rabbit pass in front of your car


  • Preparing a room for a baby before it is born
  • Throwing bread crumbs in the trash
  • Coming across a strange dog first thing in the morning
  • Speaking to a priest as you pass them, or an elderly woman with a pail


  • Spilling water while doing laundry
  • Talking while passing under a railway bridge
  • Taking holly into a friend’s house
  • Two blackbirds sitting on a windowsill
  • Parting from a friend by a bridge