Astrology : Do you avoid ladders, pavement cracks and black cats? Or are you far too rational to believe in old wives' tales? Whatever your stances on superstitions, their origins are fascinating – so in honour of Friday the 13th, here are some of the more bizarre beliefs from around the world.
People in Spain believe that Tuesday the 13th and not Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. Tuesday, which is "Martes" in Spanish, is derived from mars, which in the middle Ages was called "little evil"
In China, the number four is considered incredibly unlucky because it sounds very close to the word for "death." Some buildings even refuse to have a fourth floor.
Owls are said to be unlucky in Egypt, as they bring bad news for the one who happens to see or hear the bird.
They say carrying an empty bucket or even seeing someone carrying an empty bucket is a bad omen. This probably stemmed from the fact that Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by a man with an empty bucket.
In Finland (and some other parts of the world), killing a spider means it will rain the next day.
A common belief in Malaysia is that if you sit on a pillow, it will cause your bottom and backside to be covered in boils, blisters, and other sores.
In France, it's believed to be good luck to step in dog poop with your left foot, but bad luck to step in it with your right.
In some parts of Turkey, it is believed that if you are chewing gum at night, it's actually rotting dead flesh. So you might want to think twice about popping a piece of Dubble Bubble.
In Germany, it is bad luck to cheers with water because it is said you are literally wishing death to everyone you are drinking with.
In South Korea
In South Korea, it is believed that running a fan in a closed room while sleeping will kill you. People in South Korea are said to only use fans in rooms with a cracked window.
In Brazil, it is bad luck to let your wallet or purse touch the floor. If it happens, the belief is that you will become a poor man.
In Denmark, they save broken dishes all year long to throw at the houses of friends and family on New Year's Eve. It's believed that the larger the amount of porcelain, the more good luck bestowed upon friends and family.
In Egypt, it's seen as very bad luck to open and close a pair of scissors without cutting anything. What's even worse is leaving them open! It's said that you're cutting evil spirits that linger in the air, and they'll get mad.
Some people in Italy are said to fear Friday the 17th because the Roman numeral XVII can be arranged to make the word "VIXI" which means "my life is over" in Latin.