Weird Superstitions in Kaplan Destinations

Does Friday 13th make you feel a bit anxious? Well, you’re not alone – people have feared this particular combination for centuries and there’s even a special name for the Friday 13th phobia – paraskevidekatriaphobia (a very scary word in itself!).

But even if you consider yourself a very rational person and don’t believe in superstitions, it might be a good idea to know more about the popular beliefs of a country you’re planning to visit, as they can be a significant part of that country’s culture and history. Knowledge of the local superstitions will also help you understand some of the English expressions, such as touch wood or fingers crossed.

Since today is the first Friday 13th of the year, we thought we would explore some of the most widespread yet bizarre superstitions in Kaplan destinations. Some of them exist in many English-speaking locations, while others are specific to a particular country.


1. Opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck

If you’re visiting a friend’s house in the UK, USA, or Canada on a rainy day, never try opening an umbrella while indoors. It’s also a poor idea to leave it open to dry off, as an open umbrella indoors is believed to bring bad luck. While the origins of this superstition are not entirely known, one theory is that it stems from the times when umbrellas were so big, sturdy, and difficult to open that doing so indoors could damage something in the house or even hurt a person standing close to you.

umbrella superstitions
It's probably a good idea to keep your umbrellas closed indoors


2. Putting shoes on the table

Never put shoes on a table, especially if they’re new. In the UK, USA, and Ireland it is considered extremely unlucky and even symbolizes the death of a family member. The history of this belief is thought to do with the old tradition of putting miners’ shoes on a table following his death in an accident. It is also not very hygienic to keep you shoes where you eat, so let’s admit it, this superstition has a point.

shoes superstitions
A table probably isn't the best place for your shoes anyways


3. Walking under a ladder

If you see a ladder resting peacefully against the wall in the UK, USA, or Canada, chances are you won’t notice anyone passing under it. It is a very common belief in these countries that walking under a ladder brings you bad luck. Where does this originate from? We won’t be able to tell you, however it totally minimizes the risk of somebody on the ladder dropping somebody on you. And who said superstitions weren’t rational?

ladders superstitions
Who knows what might happen if you step under a ladder


4. Rabbit’s foot as a lucky charm

But how do you actually attract good luck? Well, if you ask a person from the UK or Ireland, their advice may be like this: just carry a rabbit’s foot with you.  Why rabbit? Let’s assume it’s light and small, so you can hide it in your pocket to avoid less superstitious people around giving you weird looks. Now you know what to take you with to that difficult English exam!

rabbits superstitions
These guys probably wouldn't want you taking their feet!


5. Neighbors and dirty plates

Imagine a situation – your kind neighbor has brought you some food on a plate as an act of good will. Would only seem natural to wash the plate before returning it, right? Not if you’re in Canada! According to the local superstition, you should return your plate dirty, as washing it will bring bad luck to the household.

dishes superstitions
I may seem rude, but washing a neighbor's dishes in Canada may offend


6. Burning sage

According to an old belief, if you’re moving into a new house in Canada and would like to eliminate any evil spirits which may have inhabited it before you, you should bless the place by carrying a burning sage from room to room. Better check with the accommodation manager first if you fancy following this tradition when moving into student halls in Canada!

sage superstitions
Burning sage cleanses a new house, and makes it smell nice too!


7. Itchy nose means a fight

Finally, if you’re experiencing a tickling sensation in your nose, make sure to ask somebody to slap you on the hand and slap them back. Otherwise you’re risking getting into a much more serious trouble, as Irish people believe an itchy nose is a sign of an upcoming fight.  


Are there any strange superstitions in your country? Share with us! And good luck on this Friday 13th

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