When it comes to superstitions, I’m definitely not the kind of person who’ll willingly throw a pinch of salt over the shoulder in order to avoid bad luck. But as it turns out, many Lebanese are a fairly superstitious. I mean, who didn’t grow up with parents and grandparents who shared some weird superstitious beliefs? Here are a few of those beliefs:

1. The case of the itchy palm.

Whenever my mom’s right palm would itch, she would buy lottery tickets believing there was money coming her way. She'd also be sure to never scratch her palm in fear of chasing away the good luck! Still waiting for the big win to happen...

2. The evil eye.

Did your bracelet just break after someone complimented it? Are you feeling sick all of a sudden just as you were planning a vacation? Some of us would believe those coincidences are the result of jinxing, so don’t be surprised the next time you give someone a compliment and they automatically respond with a “mashallah” or do the “khamsa” sign while spreading their right hand wide open in your face.

3. Stepping over someone.

If I ever stepped over my younger sister when I was a kid, my mom would make me cross over her again. Apparently, it would mean that the person being stepped over could stop growing or aging. Well, just for reference my sister is quite tall (mashallah!) though we played many “crossing over” games!

4. Opening and closing scissors.

Back in the day, my grandma always warned me not to play with scissors, meaning opening and closing them without cutting anything in between. She would say it was like harming the souls and spirits that were floating around, which could bring evil upon our house. Superstitions aside, I think she was just afraid I would hurt myself.

5. A purse on the floor means money out the door.

Putting your purse on the floor means you'll end up broke. Okay, I’m sure a magic curse is definitely not the reason you’re broke, you just need to really cut down on some shopping and not leave your handbag on the floor just for the sake of keeping it clean and away from the dust.

6. Found your shoe lying upside down?

It might lead to unfortunate events, unless you put that shoe the right way up! Parents will take it really seriously and make you turn those Converses over to keep the back luck away!

7. Spilling or exchanging salt.

Spilling salt is believed to be a bad sign, so to reverse its spell, a pinch of salt should be thrown over your left shoulder to bind the evil spirit lurking behind you. And no matter what happens, don’t ever pass the salt to someone because it will most probably lead to arguing.

8. Laughing too hard.

We all know that laughter is the best medicine, but for us laughing too much especially on Thursdays means you’ll end up crying on Sundays. Ever happen to you?

9. Clipping your nails or showering at night.

It is believed that when nails fall on the ground at night, evil spirits can collect them and use them in some kind of black magic trick to harm us. Same goes for showering in the evening, because apparently bad spirits can come out of the tub to haunt us. Basically, you should just sleep and do nothing else at night.

10. Breaking glass or spilling coffee.

Okay, let’s face it: not all superstitions are bad. Breaking glass literally means breaking a spell of bad luck, that’s why people say “nkassar el charr”. Same goes for when someone accidentally spills coffee, it is actually considered to be a sign of “Kheyr” and blessing. So don’t feel bad next time you break something or drop your cup of coffee!


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