Most superstitions are hundreds of years old, stemming from the human instinct to attribute reasoning to the inexplicable. But even if it seems silly, these unfounded fears have positive side effects. Research has found that people who truly believe in superstitions can often perform better at certain tasks and experience less stress.
So for the superstitious (and “only-a-little-stitious”) out there, here are some superstitions to keep in mind.
The lucky horseshoe is a big part of Irish folklore and history (despite being typically associated with western cowboy culture) and a staple of most home decor. The story of Dunstan and the horseshoe varies greatly as most of these stories do; but the gist of the story is that in the 10th century, St. Dunstan (a blacksmith at the time) was visited by the devil himself. The hoofed devil asked for a horseshoe for himself. So then, Dunstan nailed a red hot horseshoe tightly on one of his hooves, and the devil howled in pain. The devil begged for Dunstan to remove it. Dunstan agreed under one condition — the devil must respect the horseshoe and never enter any place where one was hung above the door.
2. Critters in Your House
Doubtless, there will be abundant life on your new property, but what kind of creature inhabits your new digs can be a sign of things to come. Ants represent financial fortune, bees represent fire down the road, and a bird slamming into your window indicates bad luck to come.
On a more serious note, take heed to any signs of creatures before you close on your home and take the necessary measures to take care of unwanted pests.
3. Bread and Salt
Jewish tradition says that you should carry bread and salt with you upon entering your house for the first time. The bread represents the idea that the homeowners will never know hunger while salt keeps their lives full of flavor. Furthering this tradition, you should also sprinkle some of the salt at the threshold of the doorway to prevent evil spirits from entering – don’t forget to sweep!
4. Leave the Broom Behind
Speaking of sweeping, many Americans believe you should leave your old broom behind at your old place. The belief is that bringing an old broom into a new dwelling brings with it the old things that have been swept away: i.e. more bad vibes. If you’re already buying a new home, do yourself a favor and splurge on a new broom too!
5. The Overflow of Milk and Rice
Indian Tamils believe that you should boil a pot of milk and rice until it boils over – an act represents purity and a clean slate. If this sounds like a bit of a pain to clean up, you can instead bring your entire milk cow into the house and wrap a garland around its neck. Pick your poison.
6. Smudge Your HouseNative Americans traditionally “smudged” their dwellings by lighting dried sage and allowing it to smolder releasing an aromatic, cleansing smoke throughout the dwelling. This was thought to drive away evil spirits while cleansing the home for the new homeowner. It’ll certainly get rid of that dirty sock smell from the previous tenants – just make sure you know how to turn off your smoke detector.
7. Build Afresh
If you’re looking at building a home on a lot or plot of land, be very careful. One superstition says that you should never build on a site where a home once stood. Violating this could result in a premature death in the family! Probably best to walk a few hundred (thousand) paces away.
8. Don’t Walk Under a LadderAs a homeowner (or soon-to-be), you’re likely to embark on some sort of project requiring an ascent to heights otherwise unreachable by your sheer stature. Enter a ladder. Regardless of how tall (or short) it may be, avoid walking under it or bad luck will surely ensure.
9. Steer Clear of the 13th Floor
13 is the traditionally unlucky American number and while, as a homeowner, you’re unlikely to own a 13 story home, this still is relevant to those who live in apartments or condos like myself. if the 13th-floor button is missing on an elevator, does that mean the 14th floor is actually the 13th or do we skip the 13th floor altogether?
10. Spooky Disclosures
In Hawaii, sellers are “required” to disclose if their home has had any paranormal or ghostly activity in the past, but does not require a seller to disclose if there was a death, murder, or crime committed in the house as those facts are considered “material facts.” In either case, it’s probably best to leave the broom and smudge the house.
12. Coins in the Living Room
One widely-held superstition is that you should scatter coins in your new living room which allegedly leads to prosperity down the line. If you’re like most, you’ll probably throw an area rug over those coins, forget about them, and unearth them years later to reveal your accumulated wealth.