Whether you’re a millennial, a baby boomer or you belong to Generation X, superstitions are fairly ubiquitous. While knocking on wood for good luck, have you ever wondered where these strange theories come from? They mostly exist without any backing in science, like the friendly renter in our head – conspiracy theories. For example, the popular superstition of knocking on wood for good luck comes from a beautiful past when homo sapiens were naturally environmentally conscious. The belief was that touching a tree would wake the guardian spirit residing within and protect us from any harm that might come in our way.
Similarly, fear of the number 13, also known as triskaidekaphobia, originated from the last supper – the night when 13 people sat on the supper table that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. And you can blame Hollywood for perpetuating the fear in our modern world with its many horror movies.
Although most superstitions are silly, we’ve absorbed them through our cultural learning, and if nothing else, these popular superstitions do give us a sense of control in the grander scheme of things.
And whether you like it or not, we all believe some popular superstitions – whether that’s knocking on wood, fearing the number 13, itchy palm superstitions, and more!
Here are some popular superstitions about money and their interesting origin stories.
“Find a penny, pick it up, and all that day, you’ll have good luck.”
In ancient cultures, it was believed that any form of metal was a gift from the gods given to protect man against evil. Another belief in the superstition of picking an abandoned or forgotten penny for good luck is that pennies were worth way more in the past – as opposed to now, which is why it was believed that finding a penny on the street would make you rich.
While this theory has followed us into the modern world with pennies that don’t offer much in value, there is no harm in picking one up and wishing for good luck. Give that penny to a friend, and your luck will never end! (So the story goes…)
Itchy right palm is alright, itchy left palm – not so much
Most people believe an itchy right palm means you’ll receive money and an itchy left one means you’ll lose some. While an itchy right palm the day you get paid at work could be a coincidence, it sure helps to reinforce this age-old itchy palm superstition when it happens.
The itchy palm superstition’s origin story is usually attributed to the Saxons and Celts in Europe during the pre-Christian era. The Saxons believed that rubbing one’s skin with silver was a cure for most diseases. So they would rub their itchy palms on silver. Eventually, this belief turned into the itchy palm superstition, that said an itch in your palm meant silver was coming your way. So itch away, but if it’s persistent, go see a doctor!
Forget loose change, keep spiders in your pocket
If you have arachnophobia, we’re sorry, you might have to turn down the chance of getting super-rich. Why you may ask? This absurd superstition says: “If you catch and keep a spider in your pocket, you’ll be getting tons of money. Time to make this pest your spider bro!
Your money will invite some more money to have a party
We’re sure this popular superstition has been passed down to you. The one that says never keep your wallet or bank account empty, and to never gift an empty wallet. Just placing a small dime inside does the trick.
This popular superstition most likely originated in ancient Greece, and the logic says that money attracts money. So keeping a lonely penny in your wallet at all times won’t do you any harm. Even when you’re super broke.
A great figure 8 or a tiny infinity!
Sing along to John Mayer’s Edge of desire while you hang number 8s throughout your home. The reason behind this popular superstition? In many Asian cultures, the number 8 is believed to represent wholeness and prosperity!
And, it’s a pretty number. So why not add it to your festive decor!
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