Superstitions are prevalent everywhere, appearing in diverse cultures and societies – Spain is no exception.
Basically, they come from our knack for spotting patterns and linking cause and effect, even when there’s no real connection.
Although superstitions lack scientific support, they can nonetheless provide a comforting sense of control in uncertain times. Moreover, some studies suggest that belief in superstitions can enhance confidence and improve performance.
Here is a list of the most popular superstitions in Spain. Believe it or not, you will find many of them similar to those in your own country. 🙂
Table of Contents
Common Spanish Superstitions
You can’t pour a drink into a glass if someone is holding it in their hand. The glass must first be placed on the table.
You should never clink glasses when drinking in memory of a deceased person, as opposed to wishing them death.
If your ear rings it is believed that someone is gossiping about you. But most of the time it is tinnitus.
If you hiccup, it’s believed that someone is speaking about you at that moment.
If one of your teeth falls out as a child, the “Ratoncito Pérez” (Little Mouse Pérez) will trade it for money.
“Oranges in the morning are gold, in the afternoon they’re silver and at night they kill you”.
“Wet bride, lucky bride,” thus rain on your wedding day isn’t considered unlucky, even though it may still be disappointing. In Spanish, this saying goes “Esposa mojada, esposa afortunada.”
Staying in line for the lotería. Waiting in line to buy lottery tickets is a superstition in itself. Some people believe that purchasing tickets from a specific store will bring them good luck or increase their chances of winning. This belief likely stems from the fact that this store has sold winning tickets in the past. However, it’s entirely logical that your chances are the same no matter what number you choose or where you buy the ticket. Hence, this practice seems to be a blend of tradition and superstition.
A classic one: If a bird poops on you, it’s good luck.
Stepping in feces.
Rubbing a lottery ticket on a pregnant woman’s belly or on a humpback’s hump.
Placing something made of gold in your glass for the New Year’s Eve toast is a common practice.
Wearing a red garment on New Year’s Eve, especially underwear, is believed to bring good luck.
It is said that if you steal from a thief, you’ll have 100 years of good luck.
On the night of San Juan (June 23rd), it’s traditional to celebrate at the beach, and part of the tradition involves jumping over three waves.
Things Considered Bad Luck
If a black cat crosses the street in front of you.
Much like the rest of the world, people here believe the number 13 brings bad luck. However, a survey I read a few years ago indicated that more people consider it good luck rather than bad.
Uniquely in Spain, the unlucky day is Tuesday the 13th, not Friday the 13th.
To prevent something unfortunate from happening that you’ve just mentioned, it’s customary to touch wood, any type will do.
If you sweep a broom over someone’s feet, it is said they will never get married. I suspect this superstition may simply be a way to tell someone not to obstruct the cleaning process, and I don’t think many people genuinely believe it.
If you’re a misbehaving Spanish child, the Three Wise Men, as mentioned in the Bible, will only bring you coal as a gift on the 6th of January.
If you break a mirror, it is said that the following seven years will bring you bad luck.
Going outside with wet hair, standing in a draft, or walking around barefoot.
Opening an umbrella inside the house.
Placing your handbag on the floor, it’s said your finances will suffer.
Walking under a ladder.
Spilling salt. If you happen to do that, throw a pinch of it over your shoulder.
Getting out of bed with your left foot first.
Receiving a knife as a gift (when someone gifts you a knife, you’re supposed to pay at least a few cents so it isn’t a true gift).
Pointing at a pumpkin is supposed to kill that pumpkin.
Wishing someone a happy birthday in advance.
Leaving open scissors on the table.
Wearing all yellow.
Whistling inside the house.
The Evil Eye (“Mal de Ojo”): This is a belief that certain individuals can cause harm or misfortune to others simply by looking at them with envy or malice. To ward off the evil eye, people often wear specific amulets or charms.
There you have it, my compendium of Spanish superstitions.
I also must confess, I am superstitious too. At least, I never wish someone a birthday in advance, and if I see a black cat crossing my way, I walk backwards (don’t ask 😂).
Now it’s your turn. How many of the superstitions listed above do you follow? Let me know in the comments below.
I usually write about traveling (there are so many places to fit all the lifestyles), relocation (finding a job overseas or moving without losing an income), and living in a foreign country (adapting to a different culture and mentality). Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn!
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