10 Strange Superstitions in Latin America
Superstitions in Latin America? We must admit that in Latin America, there are all kinds of superstitions, with origins that vary according to historical and cultural aspects. These superstitions often suppose that many things have a magical explanation or can alter one’s destiny, either positively or negatively.
The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) defines superstition as “excessive faith or excessive value placed on something.” Many of the strangest superstitions are passed down from our parents or family members and don’t really have a logical explanation. Nevertheless, they are still very common. If you are learning Spanish, the list below will be of great help.
Here are 10 strange superstitions in Latin America:
➡️ Sweeping someone’s feet:
This superstition has variations in different Latin American countries and mainly refers to women. It’s believed that if you sweep a woman’s feet, she will marry an older man, a widower, or may never get married. It’s said to have its origins related to brooms and witches. Just in case, don’t sweep my feet!
➡️ Walking under a ladder:
If you do this, it’s considered bad luck according to this superstition. It comes from Christianity, where the ladder against the wall forms a triangle representing the Holy Trinity. Passing underneath challenges the sacred.
➡️ Leaving your wallet on the ground:
If you don’t want to lose your money, don’t leave your wallet on the floor. This belief is related to a Chinese proverb that says, “A bag on the floor is money going out the door.” – This explains a lot in my life!
➡️ Breaking a mirror:
If this happens, according to superstition, it’s synonymous with bad luck. This belief comes from the Romans and their idea that life occurs in cycles of seven years, creating the myth of bad luck for that same period.
➡️ Seeing a black cat:
Another superstition related to bad luck? Yes, my friends. The truth is that many are, but this one, in particular, is well-known, and its origin is related to witches during the time of the Inquisition.
➡️ The groom can’t see the bride before the wedding:
There are many superstitions related to marriage, and this one refers to bad luck in their new married life or the wedding not taking place at all.
➡️ The number 13:
This is not exactly the favorite number of many Hispanics. In fact, there are hotels and hospitals that don’t have a specified 13th floor because it’s associated with negativity. It’s believed to have religious origins, like the Last Supper when Jesus gathered with the 12 apostles. From there, other superstitions emerged, suggesting that nothing important should be done on the 13th as it’s considered bad luck.
➡️ Knocking on wood:
When there’s a possibility that something might go wrong, you knock on wood to protect yourself from it. The origin of this is associated with the Christian belief that touching wood is a sign of touching the cross of Jesus Christ.
➡️ Crossing your fingers:
I admit I’ve done this! You can do this superstition to either call for good luck in something you’re about to do or to avoid fulfilling a promise. Oh my, oh my!
➡️ Spilling salt:
If this happens, it’s considered a bad omen. There are many theories about its origin, but one says that in ancient times, salt was linked to friendship because it preserved food. So, if you spill it, it means you’re ending a friendship.
We could write thousands of articles about strange superstitions in Latin America, and we’d never finish, as they exist in many areas such as weddings, Christmas, objects… Another curiosity is that their origins can vary depending on popular beliefs. They even influence the decisions of many people.
Remember that at WorldsAcross, you have the opportunity to learn about these and other strange superstitions thanks to its cultural approach to the language and its Living the Language method. We look forward to seeing you!”