Published On: Jul 12 2012 12:30:37 PM EDTUpdated On: Nov 13 2015 02:00:00 AM EST
Today is Friday the 13th -- considered an unlucky day by the superstitious dating back to the 19th century. Check out some other common (but silly) superstitions:
Beginner's Luck -- The belief that newbies are unusually likely to win when they try out a sport, game or activity for the first time.
Find A Penny, Pick It Up -- And all day long, you'll have good luck, according to this ditty that's a spinoff of another old rhyme.
Walking Under Ladders -- This superstition is said to arise from early Christian teachings that an object with three points represents the Holy Trinity. A ladder against a wall is seen as a triangle, and walking underneath it a sign of breaking the Holy Trinity.
Bad Luck Comes In 3s -- The common belief that if two things go wrong, a third is sure to follow.
Black Cats -- It's bad luck if a black cat crosses your path, most likely stemming from medieval beliefs that witches took the form of these dark felines.
Breaking A Mirror -- This superstition dictates that breaking a mirror will give you bad luck for seven years. The generally accepted explanation is that the reflection in a mirror represents a soul, so damaging a mirror corrupts the soul of the one that broke it, according to The Independent.
No Umbrellas Indoors -- Opening an umbrella indoors is supposed to bring bad luck, though the origins of this belief are murky and date back as far as the Egyptians.
666 -- Three sixes in a row give some people the chills. The superstition stems from the Bible, in which 666 is associated with Satan and seen as a sign of the end times.
Wishing On A Wishbone -- Legend has it that Romans were among the first to fight over dried wishbones. Whomever breaks off the larger bit of bone gets their wish.
Cross Your Fingers -- This gesture of good luck is said to date back to early Christianity, when two people used to cross their index fingers (to look like a cross) when making a wish.
Magpies -- To see a single Magpie is considered bad luck. The birds are often seen as sneaky because of their penchant for shiny objects, their lack of a singing voice and habit of eating eggs from other nests.
Spilling Salt -- For many years, salt was a rare commodity, so spilling it being unlucky had mainly to do with the cost. It's also linked with health and longevity, so spilling salt is said to cut short both. The most common contemporary remedy for spilt salt requires tossing a pinch of the salt over your left shoulder, into the face of the Devil who supposedly lurks there.
Stepping On Cracks -- The fear of stepping on pavement cracks is said to originate from an ancient fear of letting the soul out of the Square. The four corners are an ancient symbol of balance and perfection.
Full Moon -- Full moons have long been linked to crazy behavior due to the folklore that madness can occur in cycles with the moon. From it sprang the terms lunatic and lunacy.
Knock On Wood -- The saying that knocking on wood wards off bad luck may come from old myths about good spirits in trees or from an association with the Christian cross. Similar phrases abound in multiple languages.
Lucky Rabbit's Foot -- Rabbit feet as good luck symbols may hark back to early Celtic tribes in Britain or hoodoo, a form of black magic and superstition that blends American Indian, European and African traditions.
Friday The 13th -- The fear of Friday the 13th appears fairly new, dating back to the late 1800s. However, Friday has long been considered an unlucky day, and 13 has a long history as an unlucky number.