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Superstitions from Italy

Giuseppe Nole from Italy

Giuseppe Nole
Photo from Kathy Gardner
In Italy, there are some superstitions about good luck and others about bad luck. "Sometimes I think I am a superstitious guy, but sometimes I believe what happens is my destiny."


In Italy, we consider lucky numbers to be 10, 25, and 7. There are some numbers we consider unlucky, like 13, 17, 90, and 48. Wednesday the 13th and Friday the 17th are unlucky days during the month. The number 90 is a scary number (this is from Sicily).

But if you dream about a person who is dead, and during the dream you talk with this person, then you can try to play the lottery and choose the number 48.

We have superstitions about animals, too. An owl, black cat, and a fox bring bad luck. When you are walking and see an owl, or if you are walking or driving and you see a black cat crossing the street, you should stop and let the person or car behind you go ahead of you so that the bad luck goes to that person, not to you! A fox is bad luck because in the past foxes killed farmers’ animals.

In southern Italy, we have some objects that give us good luck, like a red hot pepper and “le corna.” The symbol for “le corna” is a hand with only two fingers pointing down. When a baby is born, we put a good luck object like these under the mattress of the baby’s crib to keep away bad luck. I think my mother put scissors under my mattress to bring me good luck. But “le corna” has a different meaning when the two fingers are pointing up. That means your wife or your husband is cheating on you!

You can also take some actions for good luck. You can throw salt over your shoulder, or you can throw a coin down a wishing well. We cross our fingers many times, usually when you have a wish for somebody or they have a wish for you. And when we are going by a cemetery, we hold our breath so that dead spirits cannot enter our bodies.

Sometimes I think I am a superstitious guy, but sometimes I believe what happens is just my destiny.

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