Most common superstitions in Brasil

A bird in the house is a sign of a death

Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.

If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.

If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.

To kill a cat brings seven years of bad luck

It’s bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one used to come into it.

A horseshoe brings good luck

If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin (metal), or your friendship will soon be broken.

Walking under a ladder has long been regarded a bad luck

If you broke a mirror, you would break your future.

Many Brazilians dress in white on Fridays

Comments

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  2. barbara says:

    In Poland the black cat brings bad luck also, horseshoe is a sign of good luck if you hang it open side up it lurs the luck in to the home (we ususally hang it above the door),never give someone a cross (everyone has their own cross to bear), broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck,don’t get out of bed with your left leg first because it will bring you a bad day,if we see a chimney sweeper we look for a button and hold on to it so it is said to bring good luck, lucky objects like elephent with it’s tusk up means luck, same with four leaf clover (which amazingly my son found last week and we are drying it in one of the books),number 13 is bad number (which I find funny because I was born on the 13th, I was 13 when I came to America, it was on Sept.13- my lucky number).

    Funny I read this blog,it reminded me of a week before my dad passes away we had birds pecking at our bedroom window, black birds, then after my father passed away and I don’t know how many days after but we found a lovebird on our porch and kept him (he must have escaped from someone) we named him Stanley after my dad, and few days later we put him on a porch and he found his way to escape from his cage. I really don’t know what to make of it, but there must be something there, some kind of meaning. I like to think when the bird escaped my father said his bye to me.

    Do you believe in superstistions Mr.Coelho? It is against my religion to believe it but it can’t be all just a coisidence.

    Blessings and love

    1. barbara says:

      Now I know you are:)

    2. barbara says:

      I meant now I know you do:)

  3. Franca says:

    Being a superstitious person that I am I would like someone to shed some light on something that happened to me today. At about ten at night as I went to my kitchen to serve myself some dinner (which was rice) I saw something flying at a glance which then ended up right in front of me on my kitchen stove, to my surprise it was a very small brownish feather and I have no idea where it came from. Let me point out that it’s winter where I live and all the doors, windows were closed. Does anybody know what this means??? I would be very grateful!!! Thank you.

  4. Pequeno says:

    Haha Nice :D
    I liked the reference to superstitions in 11 Minutes

    The “White on Fridays” bit, according to what i learned through Capoeira, is a Candomble tradition (african religion, similar to voodoo) where they wear totally white and fast
    ;)

  5. yvonne says:

    hmm… pretty much the same with the Filipinos

  6. Ganesh says:

    Sometimes superstitious beliefs looks funny and most times it makes us scary and remove our rejoice and confidence. people are so much confident in these beliefs than themselves. One fool pave the road and other fools commute in it. Never ending journey.

  7. veronica says:

    some are the same here in Sardinia…
    :)

  8. Barcelona_20_euros_en_un_café says:

    En España, hay muchas supersticiones parecidas. Pero hay algunas diferentes:
    Si un gato negro se te cruza, trae mala suerte.
    Si rompes un espejo tienes siete años de mala suerte
    Si te barren los pies no que querrá la suegra o no te casarás, segun en qué parte de España estés.
    ——————————-
    In Spain we have some similar superstitions, but some are a litle bit differents.
    If a black cat walk crossing your way you have a bad luck.
    If you broken a mirrow you have seven years of bad luck.
    If someone sweeps your feet do not love you your mother in law or you’ll not marry. Variand consequences depending on what part of Spain are you.

    Kisses from Barcelona,

    Miriam

  9. Empié says:

    La verdad es que una parte de mi vida vivía limitado por todas estas supersticiones, después descubrí que lo que te tenga que pasar, bueno o malo, te va a pasar; creo que he perdido el miedo a las supersticiones, la vida me ha hecho pasar por debajo de muchas escaleras y no ha pasado nada que no tuviera que pasar, sigo vivo y las supersticiones han perdido su poder sobre mi.

    Un saludo.

  10. Monika says:

    The horseshoe wants to be removed – the process is begining on the (now) right side at the top. What will you find thereunder?

  11. ANWAR says:

    IT’S NOT ONLY IN BRAZIL , MOST OF ABOVE SAID SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEVES YOU CAN FOUND IN INDIA , AND MIDDLE EAST TOO..

  12. vivian says:

    Olá!!Bom Dia!!

    Eu não sou supersticiosa!! Não acredito que tais coisas funcionem…Mas cada um, cada um…
    Muito interessante seu blog!
    O livro Maktub, é um antigo companheiro e tenho colocado seguido, algumas das mensagens que ele contém(com o devido crédito), no meu blog!!!
    Obrigada!!
    Os livros ajudam muito a refletir, e a buscar nossa verdade interior!
    Tenha um ótimo final de semana!

  13. Annie says:

    What if the black cat that looks at you is still like examining you, and you keep your eyes on her too?
    I m in such good mood today :o),I had the most amazing dream today, and anyway i woke up very uplifted… :o)

    some other superstitions:
    The evil repelling powers of garlic is not just for vampires! Greeks believe very much in its power to keep evil away.
    Never hand some one a knife. Set it down and let them pick it up, or else you will get into a fight with that person.
    It is considered good luck that when you give a gift of a wallet or a purse, that you put a coin or two in it before giving it to the recipient, so that is attracts good luck
    Also aside from garlic,throwing salt over our left shoulder to repel evil or a demon is common

    Love and Gratitude
    Annie

  14. katie says:

    I think this one is the only one I inherited from my mother. it is a heavy load …

    before the new year starts ….
    clean your house & wash away all your laundry, otherwise you will have to do this all next year & will be overloaded with work.

    it’s true!
    consequently, my mother used to be always exhausted on the last day of the year.
    me, too :o)

  15. huma arshad says:

    Here are few superstitions in PAKISTAN
    If a cat crosses you it bring bad luck
    If you comb your hair at the time of sunset evil bodies can attack you easily usually its for females.
    If you are going outside and someone call you from the back it is not a good sign
    unmarried girls should not wear black

    The similar superstitions of Brazilians and Pakistanis :

    A horseshoe brings good luck

    If you broke a mirror, you would break your future.
    Many Brazilians dress in white on Fridays,so as pakistanis as they wear for offering friday prayers of afternoon

  16. Cora says:

    Haha! It’s more interesting to read all the comments/thread then the original post! I’m American, but my grandmother is Korean and she used to tell me not to whistle at night or the devil would take my breath away. That scared me so bad, that I still don’t whistle at night, and I’m 30 years old.

  17. “If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year”

    .A few weeks ago I was meditating and something told me to open my eyes. I looked outside of my bedroom window and I was watching in awe as so many white butterfly’s flew past. I was thinking to myself at the time “I haven’t seen a white butterfly in years”.I sat and watched them for ages and I was wondering “what does that mean?” later I went and googled “totem butterfly’s” and it confirmed to me what I had felt (that it was a good sign) and you post is further confirmation of this..:)
    “If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year”……I am blessed indeed :D

  18. JUNO says:

    Thank you Paulo.

    I’m superstitious too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it because you don’t lose anything by adhering to these beliefs.

    Everything in moderation though as some people may tend to be so cautious they end up not enjoying life anymore. (In your case, I am most certain that you are enjoying every second of it).

    The Philippines culture is a myriad of other cultures so we have adapted and generated many superstitions. (Chinese/Spanish/Malay). Some of the interesting ones:

    1. It is bad luck to have doors parallel or facing each other, so if you have them in your home place a divider or a curtain at to cover one door at least.

    2. Never sleep in front of a mirror. You will become prone to sickness.

    3. Never leave your wallet empty. keep at least one bill or you will experience financial difficulties.

    4. It is bad luck to cut your nails at night and sweep stuff/trash out of the house at night.

    3. Always have a mirror in the dining area. It will bring abundance.

    4. When a family member dies, babies and toddlers must be carried over the casket before burial so they will not encounter ‘visits’ from the dead.

    5. Rain (in birthdays and weddings) is a blessing.

    6. Wear something read when you want your mind to work at its best. (Examinations, etc) Red stimulates the mind.

    7. Do no go straight home after going to a wake or funeral to drop off unwanted spirits that may have followed you.

    8. Do not pluck your white hair. Let it grow. It is a sign of wisdom.

    9. To dream of a snake is good luck, it means money and success. To dream of decaying or falling teeth is the worst. It means death in the family.

    10. Break a mirror and that’s 7 years of bad luck.

    11. If someone leaves the house while people are having dinner. Each plate should be turned clockwise, otherwise the people who remain will either never marry or be widowed.

    Love,
    Juno

  19. Shogo Onoe says:

    They are very new to me. We have different superstations in Japan. Each country has different views apparently. Very interesting.

  20. Olta Ana says:

    hmmmm as a half skeptic that I am I get a little irritated when I hear people talk about superstitions. That brings bad luck, that good luck bla bla bla.
    Many things are just kind of untrue legends that we got from our ancestors. Here some others from Albania:

    Don’t sew your clothes when you got them on because you will sew your luck with them.

    Don’t cut your nails when it gets dark because it is bad luck.

    If you saw a bad dream don’t tell it so it won’t become true.
    or
    Don’t tell the dream you saw before you have washed your face. etc.
    There are so many more that doesn’t come to me right now, but maybe latter they will.

    OMG I get crazy when I hear such things and the worst thing is that sometimes I start believing that it might be true. That’s the most funniest and saddest part of this.
    So this is what I do. Since I get scared I dare to challenge these beliefs. I might risk sometimes, but I can’t stand fearing for too long something that I don’t really believe in.
    What I believe it is signs, which show something that it might be but lets not turn it into a superstition.
    Sometimes a sign might be the same as something related to a superstition because it talks to you, but not because it is really true for every one.
    There is this other thing, that some superstitions might have something true because of the way the energy is altered through those object, but it is not easy to know which is which.

    I am telling you that unwilling, I wouldn’t dear to risk on that, I’ve broken a few mirrors lately but I don’t feel bad luck around me anyway.
    At those moments I didn’t had any bad feeling and I thought that maximum that was a SIGN of a new bad thing but not 7 years of bad luck.

    I think that the word superstition and superstitious should be removed from the vocabulary, it is just another reason for have some other senseless fears.

    Maybe I am just to crazy for challenging these two words but I can’t help it. I feel so, and fear or not, I deeply dislike them.

    Love :D
    Olta

    1. Alexandra says:

      Dear Olta, many of these are to be found in our folklore too…We are in the same area, and I found out we have close roots for our languages…substrata…something like that…Best wishes
      Love
      Alexandra

    2. megha says:

      even i don’t feel like believing in them Olta. but i do get scared when encountered by them. these superstitions are so deeply there in our traditions that its difficult ignoring them. but the fact is the more close we go to science or logic, the more far we are from nature. and these superstitions are derived from the concepts of nature.
      love
      megha

    3. katie says:

      “these superstitions are derived from the concepts of nature.”

      derived by what?
      the mind … that observes … falsely interprets, enhances what it likes, eliminates what it does not like …

      nature itself is neutral … when looking through the right filter :o)
      the deeper you go into biology-science, the bigger the picture of nature becomes if (!) you do not get lost in the rules for science designed by the society in which you live.

      traditions need to be re-evaluated … they can have wisdom … but they may also not cover new development of today.
      example: the pope’s comment about condom use & hiv – finally

  21. THELMA says:

    “Vaskania is simply a phenomenon that was accepted by primitive people as fact. They believed that certain people have such powerful feelings of jealousy and envy, that when they looked on some beautiful object or individual it brought destruction. Vaskania is recognized by the Church as the jealousy and envy of some people for things they do not possess, such as beauty, youth, courage or any other blessing. The Church essentially rejected Vaskania as contradicting the concept of divine providence. The prayers of the Church to avert the evil eye are, however, a silent recognition of this phenomenon as a morbid feeling of envy.”

    As you see the Greek Orthodox Church recognises the Evil eye. Superstitions are intertwined with tradition and I think that there are similar in every part of the World. They are the Signs, Magic and Symbols belonging to the spirituals Worlds. As you say, dearest Paulo Coelho: READ and FOLLOW the SIGNS!
    LOVE,
    Thelma xxx

    1. Olta Ana says:

      Ah the Evil Eye! This is one of the most terrible and dangerous, but I wouldn’t classify it as a superstition.
      This phenomena is very curious, very very inetresting indeed.
      I have been victim of it so many times that I don’t even remember and I am sure that many people in the world are even when they don’t realize it.
      At least I now am able to recognize the symptoms. hahahhah
      It is curious, very curious in fact…
      But the person that causes you problems because of evil eye doesn’t necessary need to envy you, an excess of love, admiration can cause you those kind of troubles too.
      I think that these little tics they use to protect themselves are mostly powerless, but what can one do?…

      Love
      Olta

    2. The Evil eye is a very popular concept in cultures in the middle east. The Kabbalah has the same in Klipah, the dark forces which prevent light, as would be jealousy envy and such.

      It’s just energy, although not necessarily a person has to be bad to have the evil eye….

      We all have the klipah energy, the goal of enlightenment is doing away with klipah. Klipah is attributed to the feminine forces and said to have originated from Lilith, Adam’s first wife.

      Superstition… it’s a matter of energy and belief, as is everything else…

      Interesting post indeed. Thank you my beloved Paulo Coelho.

    3. Olta Ana says:

      You are so right Carolena, a person doesn’t have to be bad to have the evil eye. I have many friends who have it. Yes I think it is most common in woman but man have it too.

  22. Alexandra says:

    Here few superstitions in Romania, some might be old:
    Shoes on bed is bad luck, peril to be hanged…
    To dream a crow definitely bad luck,disappointment.
    If you have a blue ribbon you are protected, so is good luck.
    If you dream you are running, is a unique chance…
    If you dream a vase, cup broken during a party, is good luck in marriage
    A swan feather put in the lover pillow brings his fidelity…!!!
    If you kill a raven, you kill the spirit of a great ancestor, who came as raven to visit that world…

  23. margherita says:

    Ho sorriso leggendo che tutto mondo è paese, seppur con piccole differenze. Anche in Italia valgono le stesse credenze. Te ne aggiungo alcune che mi vengono in mente di primo acchito:
    – Se versi il sale accidentalmente porta male ma puoi rimediare prendendone un pizico e gettartelo dietro le spalle.
    – La civetta che canta di notte vicino ad una casa è presagio di una morte.(vicino a casa mia da anni ormai nidifica una civetta che grida per tutta la notte quando deve far volare via dal nido i suoi piccoli, così a questo detto non credo più, altrimenti sarei già morta venti volte)
    – Se tocchi la pancia di una donna incinta porta bene.
    – Se passa una bara o un funerale, prima ci si fa il segno della croce, poi si tocca un oggetto di ferro. (ma gli uomini si toccano anche altro)
    – Quando ci si saluta, e si è almeno in tre, mai incrociare le mani perchè porta disgrazia.
    Sono solo alcuni gesti scaramantici. Io non ci credo veramente ma talvolta mi dico: -Fallo, non si sa mai!
    Ciao Paulo!

  24. Big Zen says:

    I believe the horseshoe must be ends up to catch the luck and ends down to let it flow out. I guess that means it should be periodically turned :).

    Brazilians also wear white on New Years eve to bring luck which I think is a nice tradition which in some way brings everyone together.

    1. elaine says:

      In the Western USA we hang a horseshoe open-end up to keep in the good luck. Never hang it open-end down or all of the good luck will run out.

      I was also told never to mend (sew) clothing on Sunday– if you do you will have to unpick the stitches with your nose when you get to heaven.

  25. Joël says:

    It’s normal if you walk under a ladder that you are looking for problems,safety first

  26. Jane Stewart says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Interesting discussion!

    One grandmother was slightly superstitious; spilling salt (bad luck associated) – the antidote was to to toss a pinch of salt backwards over the shoulder.

    Many high rise apartment buildings in my city had no 13th floor. (the first high rise was built in the late 1960’s)

    Horseshoe hung as Heart mentioned, brings good luck (many pioneers did this in the west of Canada, early 1900’s)

    Breaking a mirror or glass meant 7 years bad luck.

    Black cats are bad luck.

    If you give a friend a wallet as a gift, you must put a coin inside so he/she will never be broke.

    Walking under a ladder brings bad luck.

    Finding a 4-leaf clover brings good luck.

    There is one for sailors: Red sky at night, a sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.

    Dreamcatcher amulet hung above the bed of infants for good dreams (not to be bought commercially. Traditionally handmade and could be given as gifts so as to retain the energy of love from the giver). (Also represents unity; often wear a very small dreamcatcher amulet around my neck on a leather thong).

    Hadn’t heard of dressing white on Fridays.

    I am not superstitious. Yet wear a dreamcatcher because it is full of great energy (can feel energy as well as vibrations). Contradictory in a way. But do have personal signs that are favorable or non-favorable.

    Love to All,
    Jane xo

  27. katie says:

    Paulo,
    the way the horse shoe is oriented, it brings bad luck in germany :o).

    my attitude towards superstition is a kind of unusual ….
    but I stay for it :o)
    I do not believe in all the cultural laws of superstition. but I think I have some beliefs that others would call superstitions.
    and I cannot talk about those, because otherwise they are not working any more.
    giggle.

  28. Neeha says:

    I thought to post on the same topic.Some thing is not going well in my life,my mom started pointing on each and everything including my ‘nails’.And now my grandma suggested to go near palmist..
    When will this world be free from these superstitious??

  29. Alexandra says:

    Interesting…only few are in Europe too…

  30. Dr Pooja says:

    in India
    1)change ur path when a black cat crosses
    2)good to see a funeral early mrng
    3)breaking glass brings bad luck
    4)take curd n sugar before exams(i never fail to follow this one.ha ha ha)

  31. Michèle says:

    Is there any reason why Brazilians wear white on Fridays?

    In Germany we have the superstition, that if a cat crosses the street from left to right, it’s bad luck, otherwise it’s okay. A chimney sweeper is good luck.

  32. Hooi Chuen says:

    These superstitions are so similar to those we have in this part of the world. I am in Malaysia.

  33. We have lots of them us Armenians and even Persians, I don’t know which is who’s so I’ll just list them.

    A bird in the house for us is a very good sign, a blessing.

    If you leave the scissors open there will be a fight in the house.

    You don’t hand the table salt directly to someone, you place it near them on the table, if you do hand it to them directly, you will fight with that person.

    If a fork or spoon falls on the floor, someone is going to come by to visit. Fork for male, spoon for female.

    If you hear a sudden buzz in the ear, it means someone is talking about you.

    You don’t cut nails at night it’s bad luck.

    Don’t read coffee cups at night, (not sure guess it’s bad luck).

    If someone goes away on a trip, we pour a glass of water after them as they leave, so they will return safely.

    When pregnant, you don’t tell anyone until 3 months into the pregnancy. To keep away all energy while the fetus is still fragile.

    If a cat passes your path, you wait a couple of minutes before proceeding.

    If a man gets a haircut, you step on his shoe.

    When you get a compliment, either you or the person doing the compliment will knock on wood to ward off the evil eye. Also, you pinch your own butt, to ward off the evil eye.

  34. coolkat_ka says:

    some of this superstitions are used also in greece or czech republic
    and what i do? each time a black cat cross me way i change it or i childishly pass that spot walking backwards,cheating the bad luck ;) Its always fun, most when Im with company

  35. HECTOR says:

    LA MAYORIA DE ESAS SUPERTICIONES SE MANIFIESTAN EN GUATEMALA PERO LA MAS USADA EN LA MAYORIA DE HOGARES ES “LA HERRADURA” PRINCIPALMENTE EN LOS PEQUENOS NEGOCIOS. PARA ATRAER LA BUENA SUERTE.

  36. Heart says:

    The Brazilian superstitions are different from any I grew up with. Guess people are less and less superstitious these days. Where do we draw the line between being superstitious and having faith?

    I am not convinced about all aspects of my faith, but it certainly comforts and gives the soul rest to believe. One example is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is a proof of devotion to our Lady when wearing it, and which can deliver us from purgatory if wearing it at the right time;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapular

    BTW the Horseshoe over the door brings luck if it hangs the right way in our superstition (The U has to point upwards so the luck can run in. If it it turned down, like on this photo, the luck runs out)

    1. Paulo Coelho says:

      being a superstitious Brazilian, I changed the photo

    2. Orla O'Brien says:

      Hi, I think Ireland & Brazil share a few things????? M name is Orla which is a very typical Irish name, I met a Brazilian girl a few years ago in Ire & once telling her my name, proceded to spell it for her, she informed me that Orla is also a typical Brazilian name?????. Also, we Irish use a horseshoe hanging outside our homes to bring us goodluck! Any more ‘similars’ i ponder?????

    3. suquest says:

      HA-HA-HA Paulo…..laughed out loud at your
      smiling/laughing eyes and mouth……LOVELY…
      much nicer photo than the other one….GOOD CHANGE,
      Thanks and LOVE Sue

    4. Olta Ana says:

      The picture of the post seems just like a huge smile to me. :D

    5. THELMA says:

      When kept as a talisman, a horseshoe is said to bring good luck. Many believe that to hang it with the ends pointing upwards is good luck as it acts as a storage container of sorts for any good luck that happens to be floating by, whereas to hang it with the ends pointing down, is bad luck as all the good luck will fall out. Others believe that the shoe should be hung the other way, as it will then release its luck to the people around it. (from Google)
      We all are superstitious although some do not want to admit it. ;-)
      To ‘touch wood’ is the commonest way to ‘exorcise’ ‘evil eye’!
      LOVE,
      Thelma xxx

  37. Marie-Christine says:

    “Les supersitions les plus communes au Bresil”

    “Un oiseau dans la maison est un signe de mort.

    Ne prenez jamais un balai avec vous lorsque vous demenagez. Jetez-le et achetez-en un nouveau.

    Si le premier papillon que vous voyez de l’annee est blanc, vous aurez bonne chance durant toute l’annee.

    Si un chat noir se dirige vers vous, cela vous apportera de la chance, mais si il s’en va, il prend la chance avec lui.

    Tuer un chat apporte sept ans de malheur.

    C’est une malchance de quitter une maison par une porte differente que celle qu’on a utilise pour rentrer.

    Un fer a cheval porte bonheur.

    Si un ami vous donne un couteau, vous devez lui donner une piece de monnaie (en metal) ou votre amitie sera bientot interrompue.

    Marcher sous une echelle est toujours vu comme un mauvais sort.

    Si vous cassez un miroir, vous changerez votre avenir.

    Beaucoup de bresiliens s’habillent en blanc les vendredis.”

    1. Marie-Christine says:

      because a lot of the superstitions are of a similar nature, I can’t help thinking that somewhere the seeds must have been planted and reconstructed according to the beliefs.

  38. Joy says:

    In Persia, breaking a mirror supposedly brings seven years of bad luck!

  39. kealan says:

    In Ireland; a Robin Red Brest (bird) in the house is bad luck.

    I have had the same broom for 10 years I have changed the stick seven times and the head five times.

    Nothing on butterflies.

    If a black cat crosses you path it is good luck.

    You can kill cats it’s ok.

    Doors are ok too.

    A horseshoe brings good luck.

    If a friend gives you a knife you should stab him b4 he stabs you – if you live in Limerick or Dublin!

    Walking under a ladder has long been regarded a bad luck (but i do it all the time).

    Breaking a mirror is 7 years bad luck.

    Irish people wear whatever they can on Friday because the country is now bankrupt ;o

    1. that made me chuckle..and we need chuckles here in Rio now. Thanks Kealan.:)

    2. Big Zen says:

      Eu sente pra voces ai no Rio agora Samantha. È uma tragedia que no pais tao bonito, com uma cultura e as pessoas tao legais, que tem essas problemas.

    3. E voce fala verdade…tudo mundo precisa a ir a la praia e respirar!

    4. kealan says:

      I think we will need chuckles everywhere over the next few weeks & months but anyway… It is very sad about Rio, I keep up to date daily with news from around the world … Every country has their problems, recently there was that thing in Jamaica with the drug lord. I hope they can find a solution in Rio quickly – but there are more people using drugs than people selling drugs in the world, so when there is a demand there is always supply so unfortunately it is a vicious circle of life, money and death. I hope to come and visit Rio some day, sooner rather than later – a dream of mine since I was 16 years old.

    5. Eva says:

      funny :D