Monday, 15 August 2011

Black cats, magpies and ladders

Having had my path crossed twice this weekend by black cats it got me thinking about superstitions across the world and how they differ. Could walking under a ladder be a sign of good luck in some cultures whereas in others it’s a premonition of bad? Do continents have roughly the same superstitious beliefs, or can they vary from town to town?!

We look at superstitions from across the world, do you adhere to any of these?!

(Source: Flickr Creative Commons)

In China, the broom is given specially attention as they believe that they each have a spirit in side which needs to be handled carefully. Hitting someone with a broom means a curse will be placed upon you.

In the UK, if a black cat crosses your path, it is believed it is good luck. However if you cross the Atlantic to our American counterparts, it is believed to be bad luck. The Italians believe that if you hear a cat sneezing, then it will bring you good luck, and the Chinese believe that cats can see ghosts.

Mirrors, and in particular broken mirrors can yield all sorts of beliefs across different cultures. In many countries, breaking a mirror is supposed to bring bad luck. It is said that the superstition originated as mirrors were seen as tools of the gods. In Russia, if you look into a broken mirror than you will have bad luck, and if you eat and look in a mirror at the same time, you will ‘gorge’ your luck.

In India it is believed that if a lizard falls on one’s head it is a sign of good luck, and will bring happiness to that person, however in Sri Lanka, if you hear a Lizard’s cry when someone leaves the house it is thought to be a warning.

In Pakistan there is a belief that one should never open and close a pair of scissors without reason as it is seen as bad luck and can cause problems for you and your family.

In Thailand, people will try and avoid building or buying a house with the front door and back door lined up. This is considered bad luck as you won’t be able to keep money in the house, it will come through the front door and go straight out the back.

With this in mind it’s not surprising that sometimes expats can find integrating into different communities and cultures a little bit daunting. The 2010 Expat Explorer data provides some really interesting insights into which countries expats found it easier to settle into. Do you have any tips to share or interesting stories about finding your feet in a new country? We love to hear your thoughts so do get in touch!

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