What superstitions did your Gran or Mum hand down to you?

With my writing and research for Folklore Thursday, books I’m reading and ideas for a new story knocking round my head, I’m in a real folklorish and superstition-filled place at the moment.

My mum passed a few superstitions down to me. No shoes on the table, no open umbrellas inside and cutting crosses in brussel sprouts. So now, I’m curious what superstitions and folklore traditions other people inherited and still follow today.

I put a question out to the Folklore Thursday community

Here’s a summary of the responses…

At the dinner table and in the kitchen

  • No singing at the dinner table or you’ll sing hunger into the home
  • Turn egg shells upside down and put a hole in them to stop witches using them as boats. Broomsticks don’t work across water
  • No shoes on the table
  • Stir pasta nine times clockwise when cooking & always with a wooden spoon
  • Never mix water with a knife. This avoids fights and disagreements
  • Don’t pass the salt directly to another person. Put on the table next to them
  • Don’t cross knives
  • Hot water and lemon juice cures everything

In the home

  • If you accidentally put on a piece of clothing inside out, you can’t put right and put back on. You need to put on another item on first
  • No open umbrellas in the house
  • Don’t stitch a piece of clothing while you’re wearing it (like a dropped hem or shirt-button) or you’ll sew trouble onto yourself.
  • Turn mirrors during a thunderstorm but open all the doors and windows
  • If you drop a knife, purse or jewellery, put it on wood to ‘make it good’.


  • Blue and green should never be seen, same with red and white flowers.
  • Never wear green


  • White rabbits are good luck
  • Saluting or saying ‘good morning’ to magpies. “Hello Mr Magpie, how’s your wife?”

Finding objects

  • “See a pin, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.”
  • “Button, button. Bring me luck for I have stopped to pick you up.”

Calendars and Dates

  • Bad luck to hang a new calendar before New Year or turn the calendar before the month changes
  • Friday 13th is a lucky day
  • A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month


  • Never buy a purse for yourself
  • Silver coins as presents for babies, or accompanying any gift of a blade or purse
  • Pin a nazar (eye) above a newborn’s pillow to protect them from evil

An interesting mix of traditions and some I’d never heard of before.

Now it’s your turn, do you have any other superstitions to add?