Things You Didn’t Know Were Considered Bad Luck

CARRYING BANANAS ON A SHIP — In the 1700s, many ships that were lost or shipwrecked while traveling between Spain and the Caribbean happened to be carrying bananas at the time, so having one on board came to mean bad news.

WHISTLING ON A SHIP — Letting loose a whistle is supposed to present a “challenge” to the wind.

WISHING SOMEONE A HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEFORE THEIR ACTUAL BIRTHDAY — Many Germans believe that wishing someone a happy birthday before the day itself will cause misfortune to befall everyone involved.

CHANGING YOUR BED ON A FRIDAY — According to an old wives’ tale, if you turn a mattress on a Friday, you’ll be cursed with bad dreams. Another variation says that changing your bed on a Sunday is bad news too.

TUESDAY THE 13th — Maybe Friday the 13th is a bringer of bad luck; maybe it’s just a matter of perspective. While Anglo-Saxon cultures see Friday the 13th as bad news, in Spain, the 13th day of the month is more unlucky when it falls on a Tuesday. In Spanish, the word for Tuesday is “Martes,” which comes from Mars, the Roman god of war, so Tuesday spells trouble.

MIXING BEERS — The Czech Republic is the country that consumes the largest quantity of beer per capita, so it makes sense that there would be some unwritten rules and superstitions associated with having a brew. Supposedly, if you pour one type of beer into a mug containing another type, you’re in for some misfortune.

COMPLIMENTING A BABY — In Serbia, if you say a baby is cute or sweet, you risk dooming the baby to a lifetime of bad luck.

TURNING OVER A COOKED FISH — When eating fish in some regions of China, it’s bad luck to turn over your dinner. Flipping over the fish is said to correspond to the motion of a boat capsizing.

POINTING AT A RAINBOW — In some cultures, including the Navajo tradition, pointing at a rainbow would incur the wrath of the gods.