Maybe I should have made this subject post # 13. I think Americans and Germans both consider that number unlucky.
Some people consider Germans highly superstitious, but I don’t think that’s true. Many Germans I know avoid doing certain things that are supposed to bring bad luck just out of habit — or maybe just in case :-)
In Germany, it’s considered bad luck:
If a black cat crosses your path from left to right. If the cat walks from right to left, you don’t need to worry (at least, that’s the way I have learned it, but I have heard other people say that it’s the other way around). Personally, I think crossing a black cat’s path in any direction is only bad luck if you’re a mouse :-)
Walking under a ladder brings bad luck – not just for security reasons. Ladder, wall, and floor form a triangle, which was thought to be sacred, so ducking beneath a ladder means you’re violating that sacred space.
Congratulating someone before the actual birthday or jubilation brings bad luck. It’s not done in Germany.
If you get up with your left foot first, you’ll have bad luck (or be in a bad mood) all day.
Washing clothes (especially bed clothes) in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day (called “between the years”) brings bad luck or even death to the household. Ghosts were thought to roam the earth on these nights, and if you hung your washing out on the line to dry, the ghosts would get caught in the clotheslines.
It’s considered good luck in Germany:
Finding a one-cent coin brings good luck (especially if you spit on it).
It’s tradition to bring salt and bread to a housewarming party. It means the hosts will never suffer hunger in their new home.
Broken pieces of china and ceramics bring good luck (but breaking glass brings bad luck!) On the eve of a wedding, there’s the tradition of “Polterabend.” Friends and family members break plates, mugs, sometimes even sinks and toilets.
Horseshoes bring good luck – but if you hang it upside down, luck will fall out.
To wish someone luck or success, you are “pressing your thumb” (basically wrapping your fingers around the thumb of the same hand) in Germany, not crossing your fingers.
So, what kind of superstitions are common where you live?