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Good Luck Superstitions – A List from Around the World

As humans, we tend to subscribe to superstitious thinking, regarding certain things as signs, whether good or bad. When our brains are incapable of explaining something, we have the tendency to make up stuff.

Even so, sometimes superstitions seem to work. People carry their lucky pennies, wear a horseshoe pendant, or keep a talisman close – and swear by them. More often than not, however, it’s simply a placebo effect and by believing that things will go a certain way, they end up acting in ways that make this possible.

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This behavior is common even among athletes, who engage in some fascinating superstitious rituals. Tennis superstar Serena Williams bounces her tennis ball five times before her first serve. She also ties her shoelaces the exact same way before every match. Basketball legend Michael Jordan reportedly wore the same pair of shorts under his NBA uniform for every game.

Good luck superstitions range from tiny, inconspicuous actions to elaborate and even strange rituals. And this broadly exists in almost every culture across the world.

Sweeping Dirt Away from the Front Door

Sweeping dirt

It is popularly believed in China that good fortune can only enter your life through the front door. So, just before the New Year rings in, Chinese people thoroughly clean their homes to bid farewell to the bygone year. But there’s a twist! Instead of sweeping outwards, they sweep inwards, to avoid sweeping out all the good luck.

The waste is collected in a pile and carried out through the back door. Surprisingly they don’t even engage in any type of cleaning during the first two days of the New Year. This superstition is followed by Chinese people even today so that no good luck is swept away.

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Throwing Broken Dishes at Houses

In Denmark, people have a widespread practice of saving broken dishes throughout the year. This is primarily done in anticipation of throwing them on New Year’s Eve. The Danes basically chuck the broken plates at their friends and family’s houses. This is nothing but a typical gesture of wishing good luck to the recipients in the upcoming year.

Some Danish and German children also choose to leave piles of broken dishes at the doorsteps of neighbors and friends. This is probably considered a less aggressive technique of wishing prosperity to one another.

Bird Droppings Suggests That Great Things Will Happen

According to Russians, if bird droppings fall on you or your car, then you should consider yourself lucky. This good luck ritual goes hand in hand with the phrase, “Better an oops than a what if!” So, birds defecating on people is not a disgusting surprise. Instead, it is gladly welcomed as a sign of good luck and fortune.

It is because this signifies that money is coming your way and will be arriving soon. And what if numerous birds bless you with their droppings? Well, you are supposedly going to acquire more money!

Wear a Red Underwear and Eat a Dozen Grapes While Ringing in the New Year

Bewildering as it sounds, almost every Spaniard respectfully follows this superstition just when midnight strikes and brings a New Year. They eat twelve green grapes one after another to bring twelve months of good luck. Basically, they practice the ritual of eating a grape at every bell toll, so they chew and swallow quickly.

Weirdly they even wear red underwear while doing this task. This superstition involving grapes dates back centuries back, during the time of grape surplus. In fact, the ritual of red underwear typically originated during the Middle Ages. Back then, Spaniards could not wear red clothes outward since it was considered a devilish color.

Hanging Upside-Down and Kissing a Rock

blarney castle

The renowned and legendary Blarney Stone at the Blarney Castle of Ireland attracts significant numbers of visitors. While there, these visitors kiss the stone to obtain gifts of eloquence and good luck.

Visitors who wish to have a share of good luck should walk up to the top of the castle. Then, you need to lean backward and hold onto a railing. This will help you slowly reach the stone where you can plant your kisses.

As the stone is located inconveniently, kissing it is actually a risky procedure. This is why there are numerous castle employees who help people by holding their bodies while they lean back to kiss the stone.

Spilling Water Behind Someone

Siberian folk stories suggest that spilling water behind someone passes good luck onto them. Basically, smooth and clear water confers good luck to the person you spill it behind. So, naturally, Siberians are typically found spilling water behind their loved ones and dear ones.

This practice of spilling water is performed primarily when someone is preparing to take a test. It is believed to pass on good luck to someone in dire need of it.

Brides Must Put a Bell on Their Wedding Dress

Irish brides often wear tiny bells on their wedding dresses and ornamental accessories. Sometimes you will also find out that brides have bells in their bouquets. The primary reason for tying and wearing bells is a typical symbol of good luck.

This is because the ringing of the bells can allegedly discourage the evil spirits that intend to destroy the union. The bells brought by guests are either rung during the ceremony or gifted to the newlywed couples.

Wearing a Surrogate Penis

Men and boys in Thailand believe that wearing a palad khik or a surrogate penis amulet will bring them luck. It is typically carved from wood or bone and is usually 2 inches long or smaller. These are basically worn as it is thought to lessen the severity of any potential injuries.

There are some men who even wear multiple penis amulets. While one is for good luck with women, others are for good luck with all other activities.

Enveloping in an incense smoke bath

There is an enormous incense burner in the frontal area of the Sensoji Temple in east Tokyo. This place is often filled with visitors to obtain good luck by engaging in a ‘smoke bath’. The idea is that if the incense smoke envelopes your body, you will be attracting good luck. This popular Japanese superstition has been around since the early 1900.

Whispering “Rabbit” soon after waking up


Originating in the United Kingdom, this good-luck superstition involves whispering “rabbit” right after waking up. This is specifically followed on the first day of every month.

The ritual is supposedly meant to provide good luck for the remaining month that will follow. Surprisingly, this superstition has continued to prevail since the early 1900s.

But what happens if you forget to say it in the morning? Well, you can simply whisper “tibbar, tibbar” or “black rabbit” before going to sleep the same night.

Savoring beans on New Year’s Eve

Argentinians prepare themselves in a unique way before welcoming a New Year.  They do this by eating beans, as beans are believed to bring good luck. In other words, the beans will grant them good luck strategies along with job security. This is probably the cheapest and healthiest way of gaining job security and complete peace of mind for the entire year.

Number eight is considered lucky

The word for the number eight in Chinese sounds very similar to the word for prosperity and fortune.

So Chinese people love to conduct anything and everything on the eighth day of the month or even the eighth hour! Houses with the number 8 on them are coveted and considered more valuable – to the point where a house with the number 88 will highlight this fact. 

Keeping this superstition in mind, the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing started at 8:00 pm on 08-08-2008.

Planting a Tree to Celebrate Every Wedding

In both the Netherlands and Switzerland, some newlyweds plant pine trees outside their homes. This is solely practiced for bringing good luck and fertility to the newly established marriage relationship. Further, it is believed that trees are meant to bring in good luck while blessing the union.

Breaking Alcohol Bottles Accidentally

Breaking bottles is really a scary thing to do and in normal circumstances, makes us feel bad. But breaking glass bottles of alcohol in Japan is considered to be a highly cheerful thing. Most importantly, breaking an alcohol bottle is meant to bring good luck.

Wrapping Up

By now, these bewildering good luck superstitions have probably overwhelmed you. You can either consider believing them or taking each of them with a pinch of salt. Who knows, any one of them might probably fetch you good luck.

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.