Watch out for the wild washing of clothes in Wales if you don’t want a drunk husband.
Superstitions are culturally transmitted beliefs that run deep and sometimes stay part of the zeitgeist for centuries. For instance, knocking on wood to avoid jinxing yourself dates back to medieval times when churchgoers touched wood that was believed to be from the cross and thus divine. These fascinating theories often have little to no evidence to support them, instead revealing plenty about our collective hopes, desires, and fears.
In Nigeria, it is believed that heavy rains will besiege your wedding day if you eat food in the cooking pot. An English old wives’ tale states that throwing water out of your house at night weakens your protection from demons. Water is life-giving, essential for wellbeing, and abundant, and it plays a prominent role in many myths and legends. Here are 11 water-based superstitions for fun facts fanatics to look out for during your travels around the world.
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Toasting With Water
You can toast with beer, gluhwein, or any drink besides water in Germany. Stemming from Greek mythology, Germans believe that if you make a toast with water, you’re wishing death upon those you’re drinking with. This practice is almost as frowned upon as saying “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag” (happy birthday) too early. A poorly-timed birthday wish before the clock strikes midnight is said to usher in bad luck for the celebrant.
The Curse of a Drunken Husband
Be careful how you wash your clothes in Wales. Apparently, women who splashed water around while doing laundry would be doomed to end up with a husband who splashed his cash on too much alcohol. In another version of the same tale from many years ago, it is only if a woman’s apron got very wet while she washed that her hubby would be destined for drunkenness.
No Washing on Tuesdays
Another laundry-related superstition, in Turkey, it is said that clothes should never be washed on Tuesdays. Those who wear clean clothes washed on this day of the week will soon pass away. Tuesdays are seemingly ominous in Turkey as it is also thought that wedding ceremonies should not be held then, and babies born on Tuesdays are predicted to become killers.
Jumping Over Seven Waves on New Year’s Eve
Rio de Janeiro residents ring in the new year by heading into the ocean and jumping over seven waves for good luck. Each time they jump, they make a wish bound to come true, except if they turn their back to the sea while doing so. It is also customary to offer flowers to the goddess of the oceans and wear white clothes. In parts of Brazil without beaches, revelers hold champagne while jumping three times on their right foot. Purportedly, you will have a better year than the last one if you throw the champagne over your shoulder after the trio of jumps.
Wearing Red Clothes During a Storm
Every year, several tropical storms strike the Philippines. For this reason, inhabitants are advised against wearing red when it pours. In this Southeast Asian nation, the color red is believed to attract lightning, so it’s best to do as the Filipinos do and save your bold burgundy and berry outfits for storm-free days.
Egg Water Protection
From Turkey to Mexico, many cultures hold superstitious beliefs about the “evil eye,” a harm-inducing stare or gaze. In Bolivia, mal de ojo can reportedly be counteracted by rubbing an egg all over the body of the person that received the malevolent gaze. Then, that egg is broken into a glass of water and kept under their bed to rid them of their ailment.
Opening Umbrellas Indoors
The belief that opening umbrellas indoors will cause bad luck to “rain” on you stems from 18th-century London when wide waterproof umbrellas were popularized. These large objects with metal spokes could break things or injure people if opened inside a house or a confined space. Notably, it is not bad luck to open an umbrella outside and bring it inside to dry.
Fetching Water at Night
Under no circumstances should you fetch water from a well at night in Nigeria. Particularly among Yoruba people, it is believed that an evil spirit will slap you if you do. Stories of these supernatural blows may have been concocted to prevent young people from visiting wells after dark.
Spilling Water Behind Someone
It may catch you as a surprise if you leave and someone pours water on you in Serbia, but they have the very best intentions. Spilling water behind someone who is leaving on a journey is a kind gesture that will bring them good luck. Pouring water on people to make lady luck smile is also practiced in Turkey, Iran, and Bulgaria.
The Legend of the Topless Sea Woman
Mamparia Kutu is a topless golden-haired creature that was either a saint or sinner, depending on who you ask in Bonaire. The Caribbean Island has a legend of a half-fish, half-woman figure with a bright green parrotfish-like tail that sat on a black rock and warned sailors away from the dangerous coast. Others cite that she lured sailors to shipwreck so the villagers could plunder their vessels. When in Bonaire, you can visit a monument commemorating her on the south of the island.
The Loch Ness Monster
No amount of evidence to the contrary seems to convince staunch believers that the Loch Ness Monster doesn’t exist. This loch in the Scottish Highlands near Inverness was made world-famous by reports of the existence of a large beast lurking beneath. “Nessie,” as the mythical creature is known, has reportedly been “seen” by thousands of people and is described as being large and long-necked with one or two humps.