The VARIETY File

The VARIETY File

The VARIETY File

Superstitions are beliefs in supernatural forces and the idea that we can influence unpredictable events. Some people hold onto these beliefs, even when they don’t make logical sense. According to Manchester Metropolitan University, psychologists have studied superstitions and found that people often believe actions or objects can influence outcomes, even when there’s no logical reason to think so.

They say that superstitions come from our desire to find patterns and meaning in the world. For example, when we knock on wood to avoid bad luck, we’re making a connection between our actions and unrelated events. Superstitions also provide comfort and a sense of control in uncertain or stressful situations. They act like mental crutches, helping people feel more secure when life is unpredictable.

Why do superstitions exist?

Superstitions continue to exist because they fulfill our basic human needs and behaviors, according to Newswise, a research news website. Even though they might not make sense scientifically, superstitions remain a powerful force in human behavior, showing how our beliefs and thoughts shape our actions in our quest to make sense of the mysterious world around us.

What are some common superstitions?

Some common superstitions can be found in many cultures. For instance, knocking on wood is thought to bring good luck or prevent bad luck. People avoid walking under ladders because it’s considered unlucky. In some cultures, the number 13 is seen as unlucky, leading to the avoidance of the 13th floor. Some buildings don’t have a 13th floor; they simply label the 13th floor as the 14th floor. On the other hand, some superstitions are believed to bring good fortune, like finding a four-leaf clover or carrying a horseshoe. Another common superstition involves tossing a bit of salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck.

Interestingly, some people took to Reddit to share their unusual superstitions. Check out a few of them below.

  • Shoes on Furniture Equals Bad Luck!

    Someone on Reddit shared this quirky belief that putting shoes on furniture is a surefire way to invite bad luck. They added, “I’m sure it started as a thing parents told their children to avoid getting the furniture dirty, but I’m still afraid to do it, just in case.” But really, who would even think of putting their shoes, which have been all over town, on any piece of furniture?

    Young female lying in new beige sneaker son cozy comfortable living room sofa putting feet on pillows and resting and relaxing. Comfortable clothing and footwear concept

    Solovyova/ Getty Images

  • No Congratulations For You

    Someone with a performing arts background jumped into the conversation and said they have this thing about not congratulating anyone on their performance or achievements until it’s all done. They explained, “Saying ‘congratulations on your big show’ the day before the show opens is basically asking for like, a lighting fixture to fall on stage and kill a performer or something.” They even added that saying a simple “good luck” can feel a bit iffy.

    Ballet, depression and sad ballerina girl after theatre practice, dance rehearsal or performance in a dancing hall or studio. Tired, bullying and stress of professional dancer sitting crying on floor

    PeopleImages/ Getty Images

  • Fingernail Cutting on Sundays

    Someone mentioned that if you trim your fingernails on a Sunday, you might somehow end up turning into a thief. We’re not exactly sure how this superstition got started, but there’s definitely at least one person out there who’s sticking to it.

    Woman cutting nails using nail clipper

    comzeal/ Getty Images

  • Super-Specific Routines

    Some people shared their very specific routines. One person chimed in, saying, “If my right hand itches, I must rub it on wood; scratching it with my hand will signal bad luck and I’ll lose money soon.” They added that they heard this old wives’ tale as a kid and never really bothered to question it.

    Young african american woman drinking green juice with reusable bamboo straw in loft apartment. Copy space

    Daniel de la Hoz/ Getty Images

  • Cautious of Souls

    Someone in the thread shared a funeral-related superstition. They said, “When you visit a funeral, don’t go home directly, go somewhere else before heading home so that the soul of that dead person won’t follow you home.” they wrote. They also mentioned that if you get sick after attending a funeral, it’s seen as a sign that the spirit of the departed has made contact with you.

    Flower, funeral and hand holding rose in mourning at death ceremony with grief for loss burial. Floral, church or cemetary with person holding plant for sad bereavement or cemetary event in a chapel

    PeopleImages/ Getty Images

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