European Superstitions

When it comes to superstitions, there are many different beliefs hailing from all across the globe. Americans are not the only ones to fear the number 13. There are other countries that tiptoe around the strength of this digit, as well as believe in various things that cause bad luck, as well as other superstitions.


Superstitions dealing with the freaky number 13 can be seen in countries, such as Italy and France. In Italy, the country’s national lottery even takes heed. You will not find the number 13 as one of the winning numbers on the ticket. It is not used within this country. When it comes to housing throughout the streets of Florence, Italy, you will not find any homes numbered between 12 and 14. Instead, this numbering is replaced with 12 ½. Have you ever heard that it is unlucky to have 13 guests at a dinner table? It was so important to those living in France that people were set aside to dine with a dinner party to make sure that bad luck would not fall upon the shoulders of those present. These individuals were socialites, who were referred to as quatorziens, which are also known as fourteeners.


Some countries hold various objects or other living things as holding or causing good or bad luck. Throughout history, many different tales involve the importance of a cat. For example, Egypt has been known for placing the cat on a high pedestal. These finicky felines were given special privileges. A cat, as well as the head of a cat represented an important goddess during ancient Egypt. Cat that lived within the temples were adorned with expensive collars displaying grand jewels and were respected as if they were royalty.


The cat stands for many different things for various countries. The cat is regarded as a symbol of fertility in the country of Scandinavia. Another symbol that the cat is seen as includes childbirth, which is associated with the Hindu culture. Ireland takes the black cat crossing superstition to the next level. They believe that if a black cat crosses your path when moonlight is showing, there will be death in the future. The tortoiseshell variety of cats is seen as a sign that an accidental death will occur. This is a belief that is connected to Normandy.


In England, schoolchildren are wary of meeting up with a white cat on their way to school. It is thought that this would bring trouble to them throughout the day. If this occurs, one of the things to do in this case is to spit or turn around in a complete circle and make the sign of the cross. Black cats are not always regarded as bad luck. Some parts of England believe that it is quite lucky to own a black cat. Even though this is true, in Yorkshire, it is still considered unlucky to have one cross your path on accident. Cats are the main subjects of an array of superstitions around the world.


In England:


“If a cat washes behind its ears, it will rain.”


“A cat sleeping with all four paws tucked under means cold weather ahead.” 


In Scotland:

“A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity.”


In France:

“It is bad luck to cross a stream carrying a cat.”


In Italy:

“A cat sneezing is a good omen for everyone who hears it”