How Well Do You Know the Superstitions of the World?


By: Allie T.

4 Min Quiz

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

Do you shy away from events held on Friday the 13th? If so, you are one of thousands that has an icky feeling about that date. Take this quiz and find out what other superstitions you might follow - without even knowing it!

What is a superstition?

Superstition is the unproven belief that one event is the catalyst for another event, without any logical process connecting the two events. These beliefs are sometimes related to religion, as in omens and prophecies, which contradict natural science.


In Turkey, chewing a piece of gum means ______?

There are places in Turkey where you might want to think twice befoe popping a piece of chewing gum into your mouth, as you may be chewing on rotting dead flesh.


If you hang a ___________ in your bedroom or over your front door, it is said to bring good luck and to keep away nightmares?

This superstition found its roots in the fact that a horseshoe has a lucky number of holes - seven - and is constructed from iron, so it can ward off evil spirits.


What date strikes fear in people because they worry it will bring ill fortune?

From the Greek words paraskeví (meaning Friday) and dekatreís (meaning thirteen) comes paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th. This ominous date shows up at least once a year.


In Medieval England, what cheese did expectant mothers make to ensure their baby would have a long and prosperous life?

Groaning Cheese was a pretty big lump of cheese that aged for nine months as the unborn baby grew in the mother's womb. When the time came to give birth, then called "groaning time," the family celebrated by eating this cheese. When the baby was Christened, the parents passed the baby through the cheese rind, to ensure a long, blessed, and prosperous life.


What type of stone, if worn, is said to bring bad luck?

This superstition stemmed from the best-selling 1829 novel, "Anne of Geierstein," by Sir Walter Scott. In the book, Lady Hermione was falsely accused of being a demon because she died right after a drop of holy water dripped onto her opal jewelry and changed its color.


What frightens evil spirits away during special occasions?

This superstition came about for two reasons: to ask for prayers for the departed soul and to drive away any evil spirits who might be lurking at the foot of the bed. The practice of bell-ringing started when Queen Elizabeth I took the throne.


In Italy and Russia, it is considered good luck when a bird does what?

This superstition states that if a bird defecates on you, your car, or your property, good fortune is on the way. The more birds that poop, the more money that's coming your way, right?


In many cultures, people believe that receiving ______will cause misfortune or injury.

Belief in the evil eye dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. People around the globe believe that the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury.


According to a popular wedding superstition, the bride needs something old, something new, something borrowed, and what else?

This superstition is said to have originated during the Victorian era. The first gift is something old, representing continuity; another gift is new, representing hope and the future; the third gift is borrowed, symbolizing borrowed happiness; and the last gift is blue, bringing purity, love, and fidelity.


Bad luck comes when what crosses your path?

This superstition started in the Middle Ages, based on the unfounded belief that single women with many cats were actually witches and could become cats themselves. Therefore, a black cat crossing someone's path could actually be a witch.


It is considered unlucky among soldiers to light how many cigarettes with one match?

Soldiers believed that, by the time a third cigarette was lit from one match, a sniper would have had time to target a soldier in his sight and make the kill. However, some believe that the superstition was created by match tycoon Ivar Krueger to stir up more business.


Walking under what is unlucky?

This superstition dates backs to the beginning of Christianity. When a person leans a ladder against the wall, it forms the shape of a triangle. Walking through the triangle is seen as scattering the Trinity, a crime seen as blasphemous, potentially attracting the devil.


A woman on what form of transportation brings bad luck?

This superstition stems from women not being allowed on military or merchant ships. Mariners believed that a woman on board a ship at sea would anger the sea gods, inviting horrible weather and rough water.


Counting what creatures can bring a person good or bad luck, depending on how many are counted?

The superstition is explained by this popular phrase: "One’s bad - Two’s luck - Three’s health - Four’s wealth - Five’s sickness - Six is death.” Perhaps anything beyond six is up to the person who's counting.


It's considered bad luck to spill what?

To prevent the bad luck from settling on the person who spilled the salt spiller, they must toss some salt over their left shoulder. This needs to be done immediately!


What may steal your soul if you gaze into it?

According to this superstition, most people must be soulless, since the majority of people have looked into a mirror at some point in their lives. However, this superstition helps explain why the evil queen used a mirror to harm Snow White, why Narcissus was ensnared by his own reflection, and why soulless vampires have no reflection.


What finger gesture brings good luck or wards off bad luck?

During times of Christian persecution, believersc overtly crossed their fingers to identify other followers. Nowadays it's used mostly to excuse the telling of white lies.


You may be cursed if you steal rocks from which US state?

This superstition iinvolves the Hawaiian volcano god, Pele, who is jealous and very protective of her children. Because Pele is a volcanic god, the rocks that come from molten magma cooling off are her children, and she wants them to stay on the islands. Those who take the stones say they are cursed with misery and ill-fortune. They often send the rocks back!


When a person's _________ is taken, it is believed that the _______ steals the person's soul.

When photography first arrived on the scene in the early 19th century, people all over the world held the superstition that taking someone’s picture was equivalent to taking his or her soul. Therefore, if an enemy was able to obtain a photograph of you, he or she held your soul and had power over you.


What number is still considered unlucky, to the point that many tall buildings skip it when numbering floors?

Those who suffer from this superstition have an official diagnosis - triskaidekaphobia. The term is from the Greek. Tris means three, kai means and, deka means ten, and phobos means fear or morbid fear.


Your wishes may come true when you wish upon what?

This superstition may have begun with Europeans who believed that the gods would occasionally look down at the earth when they moved the sky - and sometimes a star would escape and fall. The Greeks also believed the stars were the souls of humans, and it was lucky to make a wish on them.


Opening what item indoors invites bad luck?

According to superstition, if you open an umbrella indoors you are asking for bad luck to “rain on you.” This superstition may have come from a time when umbrellas were used to protect a person from the sun.


What kind of letter offers a reward and makes a threat?

This superstition, often tied into a scam, works like this - you open a letter and find a promise, and often a threat, in one neat package. This letter promises you love, money, luck, friendship, or some other reward, then asks you to do one simple thing- pass it on to your friends. If you don’t, you will wind up with the opposite of what you seek. Bad luck will befall you because you dared to break the chain! The scam comes in when the letter sender asks for money to help bring you something good or to keep something bad away.


If you use a new broom in a new home, it could bring what?

The superstition states that you cannot sweep dirt out of a new residence with a new broom unless you sweep something from the outside in first. If you don’t sweep something in first, then you will be sweeping out your good luck.


You should carry the foot of what animal for good luck?

According to superstition, the rabbit’s luck could be transfered by taking the left hind foot of a rabbit that was shot or captured in a cemetery during a full moon. This superstition dates back to the 7th century B.C.


What three numbers in a row give some people the chills?

This superstition goes back to the Old Testament. In the Book of Revelation, the number of the beast is 666. It is often interpreted as the mark of Satan and a sign of the end times.


Popular at Thanksgiving, what item do people use to make a wish?

This superstition has roots in first-century Rome. People fought over dried wishbones, which they believed were good luck and would accidentally break them. This ushered in the idea that whoever has the largest bit of bone gets their wish.


Break what will bring seven years of bad luck?

According to superstition, breaking a mirror is a surefire way to get seven years of bad luck. This fear might stem from the belief that a mirror holds bits of a person's soul. Some believed that all mirrors in a house must be covered when someone died, so that the soul would not get trapped behind glass.


After making a hopeful statement, a person might want to do what?

This custom comes from an old belief that good spirits lived in trees. By knocking on something wooden, a person was calling on the spirits for protection.


After a person sneezes, someone nearby should say what?

The superstitious part of this polite gesture may find its origin with Pope Gregory the Great, who said it to people who sneezed during the plague. There is a belief that the soul escapes the body during a sneeze and the heart briefly stops. Saying “God bless you” is a way of welcoming the person back to life.


Finding what small item is a lucky omen?

According to superstition, the four leaves represent hope, faith, love, and luck. The Christian legend says that Eve carried a four-leaf clover with her when she left the Garden of Eden. Therefore, anyone who has one can claim to hold a bit of Paradise.


You could gain or lose money, if what body part itches?

This superstition states that if the right palm itches, you will lose money, while an itchy left palm means that money is coming your way. If both palms itch, you might want to see a doctor!


If you see a Wryneck or Jinxtorquilla bird, hope that they do not perform what action?

According to superstition, a Wryneck or Jinxtorquilla are jinxed birds who can turn their heads around with ease. If this bird twists its head in your direction, death is on the horizon.


What number is associated with good luck?

The superstition started with the ancient Greeks, who found the number seven to be incredibly lucky. Gamblers also feel that number seven is lucky. Three sevens make a blackjack, and the opposite sides on dice add up to seven.


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