1. Originally, the practice of covering our mouths while yawning started because our ancestors believed the devil could sneak and steal our souls if we did not.
2. The practice of blowing out candles on your birthday originated from an old tradition where our ancestors paid respect to the Greek goddess Artemis. This is considered to be an auspicious practice.
3. Wind chimes were mainly used to ward off evil spirits and to prevent them from coming inside the house or possessing the residents.
4. Modern Halloween is all about parties, costumes and trick or treats. But the concept of dressing up for Halloween originally came from the notion to ward off evil spirits, ghosts and ghouls by deceiving them.
5. Putting carved pumpkins outside on Halloween are derived from traditions related to the Celtic festival of the dead. Our ancestors left treats and carved turnips outside for departed loved ones and to scare away tricksters from beyond the grave.
“Superstition, then, is engendered, preserved, and fostered by fear.” – Baruch Spinoza
6. People had middle names as it prevented others from putting a curse on them. People kept their middle names hidden as a full name is required for spells and curses. So if someone didn’t know about your legal middle name, they won’t be able to curse you.
7. In many cultures it is believed that leaving your shoes facing upside down on the ground can lead to your mother’s death.
8. We celebrate and make loud noises at midnight on New Year’s Eve in order to ward off and scare away ghouls and evil spirits.
9. On New Year’s Eve, we kiss exactly at midnight to send love and positive energy to each other and to purify one another of negative energies in the new year.
“There is superstition in avoiding superstition.” – Francis Bacon
10. Clinking your glasses and saying cheers right before drinking is a way to make peace. In Feudal England, opposing forces clinked their glasses and mugs filled with beer or ale and made peace with each other. It was done to spill a little bit of your drink into the glass of the other person to make sure the drink was not poisoned.
11. At a funeral, church bells are rung to ward off evil spirits as they may carry the soul of the deceased person to hell.
12. In a wedding, bridesmaids are traditionally young women of marriageable age who are unwed. Originally, bridesmaids wore the same dress as the bride and heavily veiled their faces to protect the bride and to confuse evil spirits and jealous suitors.
13. Wedding rings are worn on the left hand ring finger as it is believed that a vein goes directly from that finger to your heart. It helps to keep the symbol of love and commitment close to your heart and makes your marriage blissful.
14. Fireworks were invented by the Chinese. Originally, fireworks were set off by the Chinese on the new year to ward off evil spirits.
“So strong is the power of superstition that even though we know that we have been reverencing a sham, yet still we hesitate to admit the validity of our new-found convictions.” – Edgar Rice Burroughs
15. We hold our breath while driving by a cemetery as it is believed that each breath may wake a resting spirit or your breath may make the spirits jealous as you’re still alive and they’re not.
16. Knocking on wood is one of the most popular superstitions practiced in many cultures around the world. It is believed that you can bring good luck and ward off misfortune by knocking on wood. In paganism, it is believed that knocking on the tree trunks can help to wake up and and release spirits for good fortune.
17. In Japan, the number 4 is considered unlucky as it sounds like the pronunciation of the word “death”. Four is pronounced as “shi”, which is the same as death. Similarly, number 9 is also considered unlucky as it is spoken as “ku” in Japanese. The word “ku” also means torture, agony and suffering.