Millions of Americans shirk work on Friday the 13th -- possibly because they're superstitious, or possibly just because they want a long weekend -- but America isn't the only country with completely unfounded beliefs about what might bring bad luck...or good luck, for that matter
Superstitions in America, like the belief that a rabbit's foot may be lucky, are often deeply rooted in cultural beliefs from countries from which Americans immigrated. However, many other countries have their own traditions and beliefs that aren't shared over here.
Here are just a couple (which, of course, may not be true for every single person in every single part of each country -- but, you know, not every American crosses the street to get away from a black cat, either):
- In Spain, kissing at midnight isn't the tradition -- instead, they eat 12 grapes to ensure a year of good luck.
- Getting bombed by a passing bird is a miserable experience...unless you're in Russia, where bird droppings are considering an omen of wealth.
- In many Greek households, a cactus near the front door is a staple; it's believed to ward off evil.
- Mexican families often don't pass salt directly to each other -- instead, they set it down on the table in front of the person who's asked for it. In Spanish, "La mal sal" is sometimes used as slang for "bad luck."
- Don't even think about saying "Prost" with water in Germany. Just don't do it. It means you want your friends to die.
- While in Japan, be sure to get up a few minutes early to clip your fingernails or toenails. Doing it at night is believed to be bad luck -- and, specifically, will mean you won't be with your parents on their deathbeds.
- Did you dream of a pig last night? In Korea, some believe that that bodes well for your financial future.
- Going berry-picking in Alberta, Canada? Don't bother booking the trip after October 11 -- at that point, the berries are believed to have been claimed by the devil. But, you know, this is probably just rooted in old-timey food safety traditions.
- The French have a lot of superstitions revolving around bread, but one of the biggest is that putting a loaf of bread on the kitchen table upside-down is just asking for bad luck.