The superstitions in Italy are many and different, they have roots that go back in a distant time and explanations sometimes very curious. We begin our journey through the most interesting Italian superstitions with a point of view that moves between superstition and reason.
Superstitions in Italy: the most famous
Superstition is made up of strange rites and curious habits and Italians know it well: just think that 57% of the Italian population admits to being superstitious. But what are the most famous Italian superstitions ? Let’s discover them together.
Attention to the umbrella!
The superstitions in Italy are many but this, in our opinion, is among the most known. It will have happened to everyone, at least once in his life, to be “scolded” by his grandmother because intent on playing with the umbrella in the house. This Italian superstition concerns the opening of an umbrella indoors. According to the superstition in question, opening an umbrella indoors leads to serious financial problems.
The origins of this popular belief are many: the first dates back to the ancient Rome when umbrellas were also used to shelter from the sun, as well as from the rain. Thus, the superstition arises from the fact of believing that the Sun God opposed the opening of the umbrella in the house because he considered it an act of offense against him.
Another explanation that belongs to less distant times is associated with the use of the umbrella to shelter from losses caused by roof holes in poorer houses. So, better not open it at home or the financial misfortune will hit us just like it hit them.
No passing under a scale
This superstition finds, in the course of history, at least three different explanations. The first dates back to the time of the Egyptians who considered sacred the figure of the triangle, the same that forms a staircase resting on a wall. For the Egyptian people, therefore, passing under the ladder meant breaking the sacred figure, offending the gods and attracting a lot of bad luck.
In Christian times superstition continues to exist, with a different explanation. For Christians the figure of the triangle represents the concept of Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus, crossing the triangle formed by the staircase resting on the wall meant breaking the sacredness of the Trinity and attracting Lucifer to himself. How to scare him? According to the Italians, just pass under the staircase with your arms crossed.
Finally, during the Middle Ages, this superstition finds an explanation that is not related to the sacred. In fact, during the battles of the period, boiling liquids were thrown from the stairs to kill enemies. That’s why going under the ladder was strongly discouraged. This remains, to date, one of the most famous superstitions in Italy.
Never place hat on bed
To understand the origin of this popular belief it is important to know that, in ancient times, the hat was used daily by all men, regardless of their class. It is also necessary to understand that, at the time, not everyone had the opportunity to resort to the help of the doctor to get treatment. And, when the disease became more serious and there was nothing more to do, the doctor who went to the sick to confirm that he was dying, he used to rest his hat on the bed.
Even all those who rushed to visit the unfortunate, after taking off the hat as a sign of respect, they rested on the bed. That’s why, among the superstitions in Italy, even today there is the never to rest a hat on a bed.
The black cat, bearer of misfortune
In all sincerity, the love for felines today finds many confirmations in the Italian people and we are sure that most people do not believe in this superstition. The association of the black cat to a nefarious event is not only part of the superstitions in Italy but also in Spain and the United States. On the contrary, countries like Scotland, Japan and England associate the meeting of the Moorish feline with a coming fortune.
So why in some countries is it believed that the black cat is bad luck?
To answer this question we must, once again, turn our gaze to the past: precisely to the Middle Ages, the time when people moved with carriages. When traveling in a carriage at night, it could happen that the horses were frightened by the sudden crossing of a black cat and that they became fuzzy, creating some problems for the passengers. That is why the popular belief was born that the black cat was controlled by the devil and bearer of bad luck.
Then, to top it up he thought Pope Gregory IX that, in 1200, declared that the black facts were the best friends of witches, thus starting a tremendous hunt for the poor felines.
Superstitions in Italy: “I don’t believe it but better not to risk”.
This is a phrase you often hear from many people. But why are people superstitious? And why, many of them, struggle to admit it? Science, fortunately, comes to our aid to answer the question. In fact, it tells us that misfortune, in reality, does not exist and thus disassembles all popular beliefs.
On the other hand, it is always science that justifies the existence of superstitions in Italy and in the world as a normal behavior of the human being, due to its irrational part. Therefore, it is permissible to have some small superstitious ritual from time to time: the important thing is to always keep in mind that, in reality, there is no misfortune.