Superstitions have been a part of our lives for thousands of years, shaping the way we act. Some casino players have their lucky charms for gambling, pedestrians believe that a black cat crossing the road is bad luck, and a lot of people are careful not to break any mirrors.
Although most superstitions are irrational, they are widely common and appear in many forms. Superstitious people believe in supernatural influences in their everyday lives. The most popular form is most likely superstitions that predict good or bad luck.
Although the exact origin isn’t common to all superstitions, we can assume this origin is a result of historical and cultural circumstances. Some even stem from religious beliefs or from certain regions.
However, with the popularization of the internet, superstitions are no longer bound to certain regions and countries. They’re slowly becoming more global and reaching different areas. Of course, this also depends on whether or not people choose to believe them.
There are a number of reasons why superstitions still hold their power over believers even today. Most, if not all, of these reasons are psychological. Although we rationally know that these superstitions have no control over our lives, we still put our faith in them.
One particular reason why people believe in superstitions is effectance motivation. This term explains a desire to exert control over our environment. This control then allows us to predict what will happen around us in the future. Of course, this reason is only plausible when no natural causes can explain a certain situation. Naturally, people are more prone to attributing surprising and unlikely events to superstitions than to those that are likely.
There are a few more reasons why people believe in superstitions. However, let’s take a look at the explanation for certain superstitions.
Blowing on dice in gambling
In casinos and other gambling institutions you will often notice that players blow on the dice in their hand before throwing them. The belief is that blowing on the dice will make a positive outcome more likely for the player.
However, the possible origins of this superstition are surprising. One of the stories is that in the early days of gambling, cheaters would coat the dice with a sticky substance that activated with heat, hence the blowing. As a result, they would get a positive outcome and win the game.
The second story is less extravagant. Quite simply, gamblers would blow on their dice as a method of cleaning before throwing them. This method supposedly came to gambling through street games that involved dice.
An itchy palm means good luck
You’ve probably had an itchy palm at one point or another in your life. You also may or may not have heard someone telling you this means good luck and fortune is coming your way. Others think this means the person getting the itchy palm is greedy.
There are even different variations of the superstition depending on the side where you are getting the itch. Getting an itch on the left side means you’ll get money soon, while an itch on the right side signifies that you will meet someone new soon.
In another version, an itchy left palm means you’ll lose money, while an itchy right palm means you’ll gain money.
While there is no clear origin, we must take note of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, where Brutus remarks, “Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself are much condemned to have an itching palm.” This line means to outline Cassius’s greed.
Breaking a mirror brings bad luck
Many people are particularly careful around mirrors as there is a superstition that states that breaking a mirror will bring you 7 years of bad luck.
Funnily enough, this isn’t the only superstition that mentions mirrors. They also have an important role in the feng shui of a room!
This is a superstition that has a pretty clear origin. In the past, mirrors were thought to be a reflection of the soul. Breaking a mirror would essentially mean causing harm to your own soul.
A common belief is that there is a way to beat this superstition. This is possible by burying the broken mirror outside in the moonlight.