Money Superstitions from Around the World
There are all sorts of ways to become wealthy. Of course, you’re probably more familiar with some of the more modern approaches like long-term investing and proactively saving up for bigger purchases. But ever since riches have existed, there have been people who are interested in obtaining them. And while many of these superstitions may sound pretty far out there, some of them may be just bizarre enough to work. After all, even the most out there traditions are often inspired by a grain of truth, right?
Here are 15 of the most bizarre money superstitions from around the world. So next time you feel funny about picking up that sidewalk penny “for good luck,” you’ll remember that everybody everybody has their own unique approach to finding financial fortune. And, honestly, finances can be fickle so every little bit of knowledge can help.
Russia: Fortunate bird poop
If a bird poops on your house, on your car, or – heaven forbid – even on you in Russia, that means you’ll soon be coming into some riches. And, though it may seem counter-intuitive, the more bird poop you experience, the more money you’ll be getting.
It’s unclear where exactly the idea came from. It’s entirely possible that the people who were getting pooped on, or those who witnessed it in pity, chose to have the most optimistic reaction to their fecal fate.
While the origins of this longstanding myth are unclear, there have been people in history who have gotten rich off poop. Gold miners in the United States in the mid 1800s found that they could sell bird poop for fertilizer and get, well, stinking rich off the stuff. So maybe the belief is a throwback to old farmer fertilization beliefs of the past.
United States: Itchy palms mean cash is coming
Palm readers will tell you that your hands are full of fascinating information about your personality and your life path. And, likely thanks in part to their longstanding influence on culture, there is an ongoing belief amongst people in many cultures (including the United States) that the scratchy status of your palms may signal future monies.
For people who believe in their palms holding secrets of their future fate, the itching palms could signal internal energy shifts which will manifest to external energy coming in the form of money.
It’s also possible that this belief is linked back to old Saxon beliefs that if your palms itched from disease, placing silver in them would help to cure them. There’s some debate about whether or not the right or left palm means money coming in. But, every once in a while, those itchy palms can pay off. And, at the very least, hoping for itchy palms will save you money in the short term since you don’t need to invest in hand lotion.
China: Sweeping dirt away from the front door makes room for wealth to come inside
You always want to put your best foot forward for visitors. And for anybody who likes to make a good impression, cleaning up your surroundings can be one of the most effective ways to do so.
For many people in China, they make room for new things by deep cleaning every Chinese New Year. But rather than sweeping any old dirt and dust simply out the front door, they’re careful to sweep it away from the front door and carry it out the back. Sometimes even the most simple symbolic acts can help shake you into a new mindset, so what’s the harm in trying next time you grab that broom?
Europe: See a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll (hopefully) have good luck
It doesn’t take a giant leap in logic to understand that picking up money from the ground makes you a little wealthier than you were before. Do it consistently, and you might walk away with a healthy sum of extra cash.
But that penny on the ground may come with a lot more baggage than the 1 cent it will add to your bank account (if it ever makes it there).
In fact, people believe that if the penny is faced down, it will bring you bad luck. But if its face is up, you’re in for some future fortune. This superstition likely dates back to the age-old battle between good and evil. So if you’re willing to believe a penny could be evil, you may want to think twice before you start grabbing all the shiny monies you see on the street.
Greece: If you give someone a purse or wallet, stuff it with a little cash
Putting some extra special lining in items that will carry money in the future is a superstition especially popular in Greece.
Supposedly, if a present already has money in it, it will help attract more money. It’s also bad luck if you ever completely drain your bank account, so always leave a little something behind so the dough can find its way back to you. Since plenty of people still believe that having money to invest can create more money, there’s a surprising amount of logic in this superstition.
Taiwan: Money may actually grow on trees
There’s an old legend of a farmer who was in a great amount of debt who planted the Pachira aquatica, a wetland tree popular in Asia. The tree grew and prospered, which allowed him to sell the equally beautiful plants he grew from its seeds.
So now, there’s an old superstition that says that specific tree could bring anybody the same luck and prosperity it brought the farmer. In feng shui, the “Money Tree” will attract a great deal of wealth to come to you. And, as a bonus, it will cleanse the air like other household plants while you wait for the money to pour in.
China: Don’t put your purse on the floor
A superstition seems to carry more weight when there’s a catchy rhyme to go along with it. And in China, there’s a saying “Purse on the floor means money out the door.” Their reasoning is likely inspired by the fact that in many cultures, putting something on the floor is disrespectful.
So if you’re willing to put your purse on the floor, you likely don’t have a lot of respect for your own finances.
East Asia: Free knives cut chords (and could leave you broke)
While it seems counterintuitive that you’d want to pay for something someone might be willing to give out for free, a pretty world-wide superstition suggests you’ll want do this if that free item is a knife. Since this idea has been around for a very long time and resonates with many cultures, it’s hard to pinpoint where exactly it may have come from, though it is prevalent in several east Asian cultures.
But since the superstition basically believes that giving a free knife will cut your ties to the person you give it to, it’s pretty logical to see the symbolic connection. So if you want to keep your relationships with people strong, especially if those relationships involve investments, always pay at least a small something for any knife gift.
Czech Republic: Eating lentils on the New Year will give you wealth (and clean intestines)
Symbolic meals are certainly cross-cultural phenomenons.
Eating certain foods at various ceremonies and during various times of year are said to bring all sorts of outcomes. And if you’re looking for an excuse to eat some healthy lentils, this Czech Republic superstition has your answer. Lentils, which even symbolically look like money, are said to bring you great fortune if you welcome in the upcoming year if you enjoy them when you first welcome it in.
France: Buy your lotto ticket on Friday the 13th
While many cultures get a little weary of the number 13, the French treat it as good luck.
In fact, if you buy a lottery ticket on a Friday the 13th, you stand a better chance of winning some cash from it. Statistically speaking, it may be difficult to justify that every person suddenly stands a higher probability of getting money if more people are suddenly luckier. But superstitions don’t typically care too much for statistics anyway.
France: Make sure your baguette is always “laces out”
Don’t fall victim to the same problem as Ray Finkle in "Ace Ventura". In France, you need to be very careful about how you hand someone a baguette. They believe that the upside down bread could be a sign of bad fortune.
India: If your neighbor lacks baking supplies after sunset, don’t let them have yours
This Indian superstition says that giving out all sorts of items – including milk, sugar, or money – after the sun sets could be bad luck for your future finances.
Like many ancient stories, this could have some helpful logic behind it. Back before electricity, it could be difficult to see in the dark. It’s possible that this adage encourages people to not only stay safely in their own home, but also keeps you from accidentally giving out the wrong items. Or, in the case of money, too much of the right one.
Philippines: Similarly, pay off your debt in the sunshine
Filipinos, like many countries, have a ton of superstitions surrounding money. One of the most interesting is that they believe it’s bad luck to pay off your debt at night.
It seems like it’d be good luck to pay off any debt in general. But it also makes sense that maybe debts should be paid at night for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps if you’re tired, you could miscount the amount you’re paying back and overpay. Or if alcohol is involved, you could forget how much you paid (or the person you paid off could also forget). It seems logical that in the morning, there’s a better chance of having a clear mind to generally make better decisions.
Korea: A pig in your dream means you’ll soon be bringing home the bacon
In Korean culture, pigs are considered a sign of good fortune. And seeing one in your subconscious mind, like in a dream, could be a great omen of fortune coming your way.
So if you happen to get some shut eye and hear some oinking, prepare your bank account for some possible piggy fortune coming your way.
Ireland: Don’t damage a fairy fort
Not damaging a fairy fort should go without saying. But if you’re unlucky enough to accidentally cause harm to one in Ireland, tradition says you’ll soon become destitute.
Irish culture has been fascinated by and protective of fairies throughout their rich history. These forts, also known as raths, unlike their inhabitants, aren’t just mystical places. They’re pretty obvious large structures that are hard to miss. If you should decide to destroy one, you’ll have to face the consequences of your actions. You’ll encounter bad luck in all sorts of ways. But the fairies wrath for harming their home will be especially intense when it comes to your finances.