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If you go home after dark, don`t whistle – you`ll attract ghosts, Bernards warns. If you see an owl or hear it screaming, it`s bad luck because they symbolize disaster or imminent death. However, if a cat crosses your path, you don`t have to worry – cats in China are generally considered lucky; Their association with wealth originally came from Japan, but was adopted into Chinese culture. The tradition of turkey bone tug-of-war goes back a long way. Legend has it that the romans of the first century fought for dried triangles – which they thought were lucky – and accidentally broke them, initiating the idea that whoever has the largest piece of bone gets his wish. Bird bones have also been used in divination throughout history, with a supposed fortune teller throwing away the bones and reading their models to predict the future. The roots of scale-based superstition may be due to the triangular shape that forms the ladder when placed against a wall and recalls the Holy Trinity. Passing this trinity is considered disrespectful to God or even a kind of homage to the devil and other evil spirits. Another explanation is based on the fact that the hanged victims were forced to climb a ladder to reach the noose, which made the ladder look unfortunate [source: Webster]. In other cultures, however, no one turns their hair when Friday the 13th rolls. In Chinese culture, it`s number four that causes concern when planning big events like celebrations or store openings, says Brian Bernards, associate professor of East Asian languages and cultures and comparative literature. Four (if) is a bad luck number because the sound of the word is very similar to the word for death in most Chinese dialects, including Mandarin and Cantonese, he explains. Spilling pepper, complimenting a baby, and cutting nails after dark are just some of the things that will bring you misfortune around the world.

In Thailand, it`s unfortunate to get your hair cut on a Wednesday, a holy day, because shaving your head is associated with grief, Bernards notes. “Also, don`t sleep with your head pointed west, because that`s where the sun sets and symbolizes the end,” he said of Thailand`s superstition. “Sleeping like this will bring bad dreams.” Coincidentally, there are even three types of superstition, as Thompson explains: sign interpretation (a black cat), magical superstition (actions you take to increase your happiness), and conversion superstition, such as placing the shards of a broken mirror under running water to wash away the seven years of misfortune. Who has never heard that it is bad luck to open an umbrella in the house? Legend has it that opening your umbrella inside rains bad luck on you, while placing an open umbrella on your head inside will result in your death within a year [source: Murrell]. If you don`t believe in superstition, the truth probably isn`t as drastic, but it`s still a bad idea to open your umbrella in the house. Not only is there a good chance that you`ll spill something or break up a valuable family legacy, but you could also bump into someone with one of the umbrella`s metal dots – which brings even more bad luck. According to the Turkish Ministry of Culture, those who drink water that reflects the moonlight will be unlucky. However, bathing in this water seems to be fine; According to the service, “people who bathe in the moonlight and shade will shine as brightly as the moon.” Or, as with many superstitions, a belief in beginner happiness may arise due to confirmation errors.

Confirmation bias is a psychological phenomenon in which people are more likely to remember events that match their worldview. If you think you`re going to win because you`re a beginner, remember all the times you were right – and forget the times you ended up in last place. At dinner, it`s considered unfortunate to have your chopsticks stick out of your rice bowl — they look like ash incense in the altar of a grave, Bernards advises. Instead, place them on top of the bowl. From cockroaches to geckos, numbers to colors, superstition varies greatly from culture to culture. For this Friday the 13th, the faculty of USC Dornsife traces what we share and how we differ in what we believe brings us happiness – and evil. [7 min read] In South Korea, people are told not to shake their legs, otherwise their wealth and happiness will fail. In Spain, it`s customary to eat 12 grapes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year`s Eve to bring good luck for the coming year, said Sarah Portnoy, associate professor (teaching) of Spanish. According to some common food superstitions, it`s bad luck to leave a plate of unfinished food outside overnight [source: Webster]. Legend has it that by doing this you are inviting the devil, but in reality, it is much more likely that you will invite mice, cockroaches and other unwanted parasites. In other news about food fables, it`s supposedly a bad omen to accidentally drop food on yourself while you`re eating. Do you think? Even if it doesn`t end up bringing you serious bad luck, you still wasted food, leaving you with an unpleasant mess to clean, or perhaps an ugly stain on your clothes, carpets or furniture.

Superstition follows us everywhere. We openly cross our fingers (and toes and . Well. anything else we can do) when we need a little more luck. While some of these rituals may seem a little strange, you won`t surprise us making big commitments on Friday the 13th. Sharing a match to light multiple cigarettes makes perfect sense, but if you`re a soldier on the battlefield, you can get killed quickly.

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