Superstitions have permeated our lives and culture to such an extent that we don't even notice them. We don't even realize that some of the accepted rules of behavior that we've been taught as children are actually founded on these. Here are the 13 most common superstitions that you run into every day and probably don't even notice:
1. Don't walk under a ladder. Some believe that walking under a ladder disrupts the Holy Trinity. Others avoid it because it looks like a Medieval gallows. Yet still others are convinced that the ladder blocks the energy that enters our body from space. Whatever the reason, when it snows you can see the footprints of people who have walked around it.
2. Beginner's luck. The superstition that anyone who takes up something new will have luck with it is one we've all heard. A lot of people can confirm that it's true. But in reality it's based on a preconceived notion in our very nature - we only remember the things that confirm certain rules and not those that refute them. So it's best not to blindly rely on this superstition.
3. 666. In the Book of Revelation, the number 666 is called the "Number of the Beast." But according to researchers, the 3 sixes are the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew letters used to write the name of the hated Roman Emperor Nero. So there's really no reason to panic.
4. Knock on wood. Benign spirits live in trees. Additionally, trees are associated with the Christian cross. That is why the phrase is used as a way to expel evil and ask for prosperity and protection.
5. A black cat crosses your path. The superstition originates from an ancient belief that witches could turn into black cats. When a black cat crosses our way, we tend to either cross our fingers (to prevent curses) or spin around and spit over our shoulder. Some people even turn back and take a different route. And all because a cat decided to go somewhere.
6. A broken mirror brings 7 years bad luck. To prevent bad karma you'll have to grind all the pieces of the mirror to dust or touch a piece of the broken mirror. All superstitions related to mirrors stem from an old belief that the mirror carries a part of our soul. That is why in many countries across Europe the deceased is covered in mirrors - so that their soul remains with them, while others say it's a ritual against turning into a vampire.
7. Finding a coin in the street. Pick it up, it brings luck. In ancient times it was very lucky indeed to find a coin in the street. They had quite a high value and even one small coin was enough to buy something. Today things just aren't the same.
8. Rabbit's foot brings luck. Amulets and talismans keep evil spirits away. A cross or garlic in your pocket will protect you against vampires, while a rabbit's foot will bring you luck - this is what the ancient Celtic tribes believed. Certain magic spells in those days were used for the homeopathic treatment of a number of ailments. For example, teenagers who wanted to get rid of their acne had to keep an eye out for a shooting star. While it was still streaking across sky, they were supposed to rub their face with a piece of cloth.
9. Cross your fingers. The superstition comes from early Christianity, when it was believed that if 2 people were to cross their index fingers their mutual wish would come true. Again, this is related to the Christian cross. Today, you no longer need 2 people, while crossed fingers can protect you from curses.
10. Opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck. This story originates from a Roman woman who opened her umbrella inside the home. Several seconds later the entire building collapsed. Another story goes that while having audience with the king, the British princess opened her umbrella twice. Several months later the king died.
11. Bad things come in threes. A variation of this superstition is often paraphrased as: If you've failed to do something twice, it won't happen the 3rd time either. But in truth, success has nothing to do with any kind of magical or external forces.
12. Wishbone. Breaking apart the wishbone shows whether the wish will come true. The superstition is most widespread in England. After a husband and wife pull at the wishbone, whoever gets the larger piece will not only be the boss in the family but will also outlive the other.
13. Friday the 13th. The fear of this day is called paraskavedekatriaphobia. The superstition is relatively new and is in essence the combination of 2 beliefs. Jesus died on a Friday, while the number 13 has gained a bad reputation over the course of thousands of years. According to some, this combination brings bad luck.