Being half-Italian, superstition has always been a huge part of my life and still lives on today! I thought that would be interesting and even fun to explore together the magical, mysterious world of bad omens!
So let’s see what bad omens we can encounter in our daily life are! Some of these bad omens have origins dating back to the beginning of civilization while others have simply been conveyed from old generations. How fascinating is that?
- Here’s a list of 27 bad omens!
- The owl
- Black cat
- The ladder
- Breaking a mirror
- Don’t look into each other’s eyes during a toast
- Sweeping the feet of a single woman
- Saying a word at the same time
- Wedding band
- The same towel curse
- A hairy kiss
- Candle’s wax
- Wooden matches
- Crossing (someone or something)
- The infamous superstition of the number 13
- Other important omens
- Getting rid of bad omens: The Italian way!
Here’s a list of 27 bad omens!
An owl, like many other nocturnal animals, is considered by popular tradition to be an animal that brings bad luck, and many hope that it never starts singing on their roof because according to popular superstitions, it announces misfortunes or even the death of an inhabitant of the house.
This is undoubtedly one of the most widespread beliefs throughout Italy and beyond, but why should the crossing of a black cat be a bad omen? To discover the origin of this superstition, one must go back to the Middle Ages.
In that period, in fact, horses were frightened at night by the reflection of the eyes of cats and for this reason, it was thought that they were a sort of reflection of the devil’s eyes.
From this belief, it was then always thought that black cats brought misfortune. However, we want to point out that this is not the case all over the world, because there are some countries, like Japan and Scotland, where owning a black cat is instead a good habit as a sign of prosperity.
This superstition is also widespread throughout the country and strongly connects with religion. A ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, which as we know for Christians represents the Trinity, a practically sacred symbol.
Crossing a supported ladder would therefore be a lack of respect for God and religion in its totality, hence the aura of bad luck that would strike those who dare to cross a ladder.
Breaking a mirror
Breaking a mirror brings seven years of trouble. However, if you put a piece of a mirror under the ground, the curse will disappear. The ancient Romans decided that a broken mirror would cause seven years of trouble; in fact, at the time there was a belief that life would renew itself every seven years.
Because a broken mirror meant that health had been broken, it was concluded that it would take seven years to return as healthy as before. Furthermore, the mirror was a very precious object, therefore its breakage would have involved a great expense to be able to replace it.
Don’t look into each other’s eyes during a toast
How many times have you been told that looking at the ground during a toast is not polite, or even that it is bad? The reality is different; more than bringing bad luck in the Middle Ages, people looked into each other’s eyes to prevent others from trying to poison the drinks.
Sweeping the feet of a single woman
How many times have you swept over your feet by mistake? You must know that in ancient times if this happened, you were considered not very skilled in housework, and therefore not to be married. That’s why when your mom passes the broom by, she always tells you to put your feet up.
Saying a word at the same time
Here marriage is also involved: the next time you say a word at the same time as a friend of yours, remember to touch your nose, ear, and nose again. If you don’t, you may never get married!
If a wedding ring is lost, to avoid unhappiness falling on the couple, another ring must be immediately bought and put on the ring finger by the partner, as during the wedding ceremony.
The same towel curse
For couples: do not use the same towel, you will surely fight.
A hairy kiss
In England, it is believed that a girl will never marry if there is hair on her lips after kissing a man with a mustache.
It is said that a drop of wax that falls along the side of a candle brings a lot of bad luck. Moreover, the spouses of Crana (Novara), after the wedding ceremony, blow together to blow out two candles. If they extinguish them at the same time, they will live long and happily together, otherwise, it is a sign of widowhood.
Its howl is believed to herald death.
Placing a hat on a person’s bed is an omen of bad news and therefore this practice can bring bad luck to the owner of the unfortunate bed, but why? It derives from the habit of doctors; in the early twentieth century, once they arrived at the home of the sick man at the end of his life, they put their hat on the bed of the dying person.
This Italian superstition is not linked to a particular region but is widespread throughout the country as it is a habit for doctors.
A fairly widespread belief in some countries says that it is bad luck to hold a spoon with the left hand.
It is bad luck to use the same match three times.
If they fall to the ground, place your foot on them before picking them up to cancel the bad omen. If one of the blades falls into the ground, it is an omen of death they bring. The omen is good if they are kept hanging on the wall.
It’s bad luck to kill one. This belief was widespread among sailors as seagulls indicated the mainland, the presence of fish, and even the direction of the wind. In the navy, blue is also considered unfortunate, as is inviting a woman to board a ship.
On the other hand, the whole world linked to the sea is generally considered very superstitious; this is a legacy of the past when before making a trip there was even a tendency to make a will, due to the great dangers associated with navigation.
If he sings before midnight, it is a forecast of bad weather.
Crossing (someone or something)
Crossing shoes, cutlery, or other objects brings bad luck, because, in medieval times, it was considered an offense to the Cross of Christ.
Ancient beliefs say that it is bad luck to get off the left side of the bed since it is considered the side of Satan. In Sicily, it is said that if three people make a bed together (in the sense that they arrange the sheets), the younger one dies (so never make your bed, and justify yourself to your mom with this belief).
Placed upside down, it leads to famine; according to tradition, it has two faces: the upper one is God’s and the lower one is the devil.
It is said that a painting of birds should never be hung on the walls; it brings misfortune. It is also said that it is bad luck when a painting falls.
In ancient Rome, this object was used to shelter both from the rain and sun. In particular, at the time, it was thought that those who opened an umbrella at home did not demonstrate sufficient respect for the sun god.
However, the superstition of the open umbrella at home has two other possible interpretations closer to our time. According to the first, the idea of opening an umbrella in an intimate place, and where there is no need to do so, recalls the canopy held high over the head of the priest who brought extreme unction to the dead.
Then there are those who trace the superstition back to an expedient of the poor classes who struggled with umbrellas of all colors and sizes to repair leaks or broken windows. Therefore, opening them in the house would lead to financial waste for the tenants.
In ancient times, it was a symbol of friendship, so much so that a bowl of salt was placed in front of diners. One day, it seems that a guest inadvertently dropped the bowl on the table, arousing the anger of the house owner who unsheathed his sword and killed the poor fellow.
This episode apparently gave rise to the saying that pouring salt brings bad luck. If it is spilled on the table, take some and throw it behind your left shoulder.
Never throw away the shell, but break it to prevent the devil from lurking.
In Italy, superstitious people say, “Di Venere e di Marte non si sposa e non si parte!” Basically in English this means “Of Venus and Mars, we don’t get married, we don’t leave.”
Nowadays, everyone stays home because cars, trains, and planes are much more dangerous. Never leave the house on Friday night: witches and devils are lurking. But if you really have to do it, pluck a hair (possibly red) from a dog and keep it in your pocket.
The infamous superstition of the number 13
It goes without saying that in other parts of the world this number brings good! In America, for example, the number recalls the first thirteen founding colonies of the nation (for this reason, on the back of the one-dollar bill, the pyramid depicted has thirteen steps and the eagle, a symbol of the USA, holds thirteen arrows and the branch in its claws is an olive tree with thirteen small leaves).
Elsewhere, however, it is bad luck to sit at the table of thirteen—the idea behind which lies the Christian episode of the Last Supper, with the designation of Judas as the thirteenth diner—and especially when the 13th of the calendar month falls on Friday, the day on which Jesus Christ would be crucified.
But when people ask me why thirteen brings bad luck, I prefer to resort to a decidedly more profane explanation. According to an ancient Norse legend, Odin organized a banquet for twelve divinities in Valhalla.
Loki, the god of great cunning and deceptions, stumbled upon it as the thirteenth at the table, sowing discord among the diners and enjoying what he managed to unleash. A violent fight between the guests in fact caused the death of one of the gods.
Why is it a Bad Omen to Bring a Banana on a Boat? [Explained]
Is It a Bad Omen to See an Owl? [Superstitions Explained]
What’s a Dead Bird Omen About? (Good or Bad?)
Is it a Bad Omen to Wear Black to a Wedding? [Explained Why]
Other important omens
|Eclipse||A celestial event where the sun or moon is obscured|
|Comet||A bright celestial object with a long tail|
|Lightning striking a tree or building||Lightning hitting a tree or building can be seen as a bad omen|
|Howling of dogs||Dogs howling excessively or in an unusual manner|
|Dead or injured birds||Discovering dead or injured birds near your vicinity|
|Black cat crossing your path||Seeing a black cat crossing your path is often considered unlucky|
|Snake sighting||Encountering a snake, especially in a close vicinity|
|Crow or raven cawing||The cawing of crows or ravens, particularly in multiples|
|Owl hooting at daytime||Owls hooting during the daytime is seen as a bad omen|
|Spiders in the house||Frequent sightings of spiders inside your home|
|Broken mirror||Breaking a mirror is believed to bring seven years of bad luck|
|Unexplained footsteps||Hearing footsteps when no one else is around|
|Persistent bad dreams||Having recurring nightmares or disturbing dreams|
|Strange noises in the house||Unexplained sounds or noises coming from your home|
|Flickering or blown-out candles||Candles frequently flickering or extinguishing on their own|
Getting rid of bad omens: The Italian way!
Among the remedies against the evil eye we remember touching one’s genitals or “making horns” (an evocation of strength and virility necessary to fight bad luck), spitting on the ground (a purifying gesture), marking oneself three times with garlic (three being the number of the Holy Trinity, and garlic because it is considered a useful tool to fight the devil), and the famous ritual handed down from generation to generation which has oil as its protagonist.
The fear of the evil eye is widespread all over the world. Originally, according to scholars, it was the archaic amazement of the primitives who saw their own image reflected in the pupil of an interlocutor.
Let’s not forget that less than a century ago, the men of some African tribes transformed the astonishment of photography into the fear that the souls had been stolen from the subjects portrayed!
The use of Egyptian kajial (the ancestor of mascara) is interesting in this regard: men and women obtained from antimony, a metal, this substance with which they drew concentric circles around the eyes, as protection.
The principle is the same as when American football players use animal fat to dirty the eye area before playing a game. Fat, like kajial, absorbs light and diminishes its glare. According to the Egyptians, it was more difficult for the curses to reach the body through the eyes.
Do you think some bad omen brought negativity into your life? If you need some protection and some cleansing from negativity, don’t forget I can help you with my spell casting service!