Fingers Crossed

An Insight Into Superstition and Luck

Do you cross the street if you see a ladder in front of you, or do you have a lucky ritual that you follow? If so, you may be one of many who follow superstitious routines and believe in luck in their everyday life.

Explore the map and flags to find out more.


  • Knock on wood

    It's a traditional superstition in Greece to knock on wood after hearing something negative as they believe that it will prevent what was said from happening.

  • Evil eye

    Superstitious Greeks believe that the evil eye is a curse that can be cast upon them at any given time. Some protect themselves with garlic, or spitting on themselves if someone with blue eyes pays them a compliment.

  • Salt

    Can't seem to shake an annoying person out of your life? Greeks believe that salt can be used to get rid of an unwanted human presence. If they have an unwanted guest in their home they will sprinkle salt behind them to chase them out. It is also customary to sprinkle salt when moving into a new home to rid it of evil.


  • Leaving shoes upside down

    Though originally an ancient Egyptian superstition, it is still common practice to not leave footwear upside down. It may not be viewed as an insult to the gods these days but for superstitious Egyptians in the present day it's still a no-no.

  • Shouldn't wake someone suddenly

    It is considered to be a bad sign if someone is woken from sleep suddenly, as traditionally it is believed that their soul could separate from their body. Definitely not the best start to anyone's day.

  • Knock on wood

    The positive power of wood is a common theme across many superstitions. Ancient Egyptians believed that evil spirits lived inside trees and so it is considered that knocking on wood will fend off bad luck.


  • Mirrors

    If a mirror has been broken, it has to be disposed of otherwise it will invite fights and misfortune into the home.

  • Lizards

    In some regions, Indian folklore reveals that if three lizards approach you, there's a good reason to celebrate as marriage is on the horizon. Four lizards however might be a sign of impending death - which is a bit of a difference.

  • Evil eye

    Putting a dot of kohl onto a child's forehead is part of a common approach to remove the evil eye - nazar utarna. It is intended to protect the child from any evil eyes or negativity. It is believed that the black spot will look ugly to the evil eye and therefore shield the child.


  • Whistling

    In Japan, whistling is a sign used by burglars and other criminals as their method of communication. Whistling was soon associated with intruders and it is now believed that doing so will attract these villains into your home.

  • Cutting nails at night

    As in Indian folklore, cutting your nails at night is bad luck. If you do so it is thought that you could suffer a premature death.

  • Salt

    If you go to a funeral it is common practice to sprinkle salt over yourself before returning into your home as it is believed to cleanse you from spirits.


  • Sneezing

    In American folklore it is believed that if someone sneezes and you do not say 'bless you', you have invited evil spirits into their lives.

  • Black cat

    In the USA, black cats are traditionally linked to witches and if you come into contact with one it is believed that it will bring bad luck into your life.

  • Eclipse

    Native Americans believed that if a woman was to go outside during an eclipse then her baby will be born with deformities. It is also thought that if your baby is born on the same day as an eclipse, it will bring misfortune into their life.


  • Evil eye

    Superstitious Turkish people wear a pendant called the Nazar Boncuğu that they believe protects them from evil and deflects negative energy. Looks of envy or jealousy are thought to harm people and so the amulet can be worn for protection.

  • Pouring water

    If someone is leaving or travelling away from home, Turkish tradition is to pour a glass of water out onto the road after them so that their journey will only be positive.

  • Not handing sharp objects directly

    Turkish people will seldom hand scissors or knives to another person directly. They will place the sharp object down for another person to pick it up so that the two people will never become enemies.


  • Sharp objects as gifts

    It is believed that you should never buy your friends or family a gift that is a sharp object (scissors or knives) as it means that your relationship will be broken.

  • Cactus

    In Spanish folklore, there is a belief that a cactus has the power to banish or ward off evil. Even today they are a common site in the windows of Spanish homes.

  • Handbags

    Spanish people traditionally believe that you should never leave your bag/purse on the floor because it will result in you losing all of your money. A superstitious person will always put it on a seat next to them.


  • Whistling

    It is believed that if you whistle while you are indoors that you will face financial difficulty.

  • Salt

    According to Russian superstition, if you spill salt it will lead to a quarrel within the family; it has to be thrown over the left shoulder to cancel the omen.

  • Mirrors

    Mirrors are traditionally thought to have magical powers. If someone breaks a mirror it is believed that this represents a prediction of a death in the family.


  • New shoes on the table

    In UK tradition it is unlucky to place new shoes on a table. Some say this belief is drawn from dangerous industries where following the death of a worker, their shoes were placed on the table to symbolise respect. Shoes on the table then became seen as being in poor taste - or (worse still) tempting fate.

  • Salt

    In common with other nationalities, Britons believe that if you spill salt it will bring bad luck. To counteract the bad luck you can throw salt over your left shoulder.

  • Stepping on cracks

    Superstitious Brits believe that if you step on a crack in the pavement that it will bring bad luck to your family. The common perception is that one of your family members will fall ill.


Whether you use salt for cleansing, avoid crossing the path of a black cat or search for four leaf clovers in a field of grass, know that you are not alone. The world is full of a multitude of societies that all have different perceptions of what they consider to be superstition and luck.

Fingers Crossed: An insight into luck and superstition, explores cultural superstitions around the world. There are nine countries included, all of which provide information on three common superstitions that are practiced in that specific culture. Some of the superstitions cross over, however all of them have individual meanings within each country.

The campaign also includes a map of the UK and looks into luck and superstition in 11 different regions. There are different categories that explore what constitutes as lucky, for example, earnings, how many lottery wins there have been and whether or not there is a top 20 university within each region. In the top five most superstitious and lucky cities, there is additional information that provides general and love statistics that have been taken from the survey.

About the campaign

Friday 13th was created by the team at, your ultimate news portal and guide to online casinos.

Sources: TLF Panel, surveyed 1,019 people in the UK.