Spanish superstitions: Part 13 of the World’s Superstitions Series

Welcome to another edition of Cultural Tidbits Monday! After a 5-month hiatus, the World’s Superstitions Series is back. This week, we will learn about the quirky beliefs and traditions stemming from Spanish superstitions. Are the Spaniards guilty as charged? No doubt about it. Their superstitions list is so long, this post is merely an introduction.

Spanish superstitions, flag and fans

Spanish soccer fans (David Wilson, Flickr)

Spanish superstitions list

* Let’s start with a Halloween Spanish superstition: Never leave a chimney uncapped, as witches may climb down it (and into your house)!

* Remember how Latinos believe that both Friday and Tuesday the 13th are unlucky days? In Spain, only Tuesday the 13th is avoided like the plague for events or traveling. There’s even a saying that solidifies this belief: Martes 13: ni te cases, ni te embarques (literally meaning “Tuesday 13: Don’t get married nor embark [a ship],” it actually rhymes in Spanish ;)).

* Boys and girls: Watch your feet when mama is sweeping the floor! According to Spanish superstitions, if broom hits the feet of a single person while sweeping the floor, that person will never get married.

* Never you leave your purse or wallet on the floor — you’ll attract bad luck. Your money will run away (or someone will steal it)!

Spanish superstitions, water toast

NEVER do this. Why? Read on (Viren Kaul)

* Never toast with a glass of water: This is bad luck! In fact, it will get you seven years of bad sex. Bring on the sangria, people.

* In several Spanish households, moms preach to their children the walking barefoot will make them sick (specifically, catch a cold). Thus, it is prohibited to walk without slippers or shoes around the house. This superstition is not exclusive to Spain, by the way. Growing up in Puerto Rico, my mom used to yell at my sister for walking barefoot all the time! As for me, I would always get in trouble due to my constant encounters with the lethal Puerto Rican sereno

* Never take a shower after dinner. According to Spanish superstitions, you’ll have a heart attack!

* Hear or see a cricket? Rejoice: That’s great luck! And if you kill one? Go to church, for you have committed a sin.

Spanish superstitions, cricket

Crickets and Spanish superstitions: Great luck (Mark Robinson)

* On New Year Day, right when the clock hits midnight, one must throw a bucket of water out the window for purification and good luck. I love this one, especially because my family does it every year 🙂 Spanish superstitions and traditions, clearly, are deeply embedded in Puerto Rican culture.

* If a loved one calls you, don’t answer the phone with a “hello” — say bendición or bendiciones (“blessing” or “blessings”) instead. This is another lovely Spanish tradition that was brought to the Caribbean. Back in Puerto RIco though, it is mostly used to greet the elderly or your grandparents (out of respect).

* It is the Spanish belief, as is tradition, to name your child after the name of the Saint to which that day is dedicated. This one is close to my heart, as my grandfather (may he rest in peace) of Canarian descent named all my aunts and mom after the Saints of their birthdays.

San Juan de la Rambla, Tenerife

San Juan de la Rambla, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Photo: BeeLoop SL)

That’s all for Spanish superstitions this week! If you would like a particular country featured, just contact me with a short blurb and list of unique beliefs and superstitions. Conversely, if your country has been previously featured (below), comment on that post to add on to the list!

Previously featured countries – World Superstitions blogs:
Puerto Rico
The Netherlands

Got more Spanish superstitions to share? Comment below!

18 thoughts on “Spanish superstitions: Part 13 of the World’s Superstitions Series

  1. I am Spanish and a lot of this superstitions are not true or wrong, for example, if a broom hits the feet of a single person, we just say “don’t do this or my mother in law will not love me”. The thing about having a heart attack if you take a shower after dinning is ridiculous, what parents normally tell to kids is not to swim right after eating to avoid stomach cramps, that’s not superstition is just hydrocution.

    • superstitions are part of folklore, not necessarily believed by everyone. Just like not everybody’s religious, not everybody is superstitious. We get that.

      Also, Spain is a large and diverse country – maybe These superstitions are not part of your region’s folklore, but another’s 😉

  2. I’m Spanish and have never heard of the phone call superstition (in fact, I’ve never heard anybody greet saying “bendición”, it sounds South American); or of the bucket of water. The only superstition on New Year’s Eve is to eat 12 grapes on each of the chimes. Of course, things vary from region to region, but those really don’t ring a bell.

    Also, the one of going into water after eating includes swimming pools, bathtubs and the beach: we’re told our digestion will be interrupted, which could mean heart attacks or just general discomfort, and drowning if you’re swimming!

    • They definitely vary from region to region!

      I think the funniest superstition is the one about going into the water after eating, specially because we believe the same thing in Puerto Rico. I remember my mom telling me constantly to not do this while growing up. As of, she would freak the hell out if I would jump into the water after eating anything. LOL

  3. I just looked up the saints for my daughter’s birthday, and frankly, I don’t think I would have picked any of those names. But I named her Maria, so I know you’ll approve of that one. I think Brazilians have the same superstition about walking barefoot. A Brazilian woman used to come over to my house all the time, and my Asian custom of removing shoes made her feel like she was going to get sick. When cultures collide!

    • haha, yes, some of the saints’ names are not that pretty. For this very reason, most parents choose it as the middle name of their child. So in reality, this name is never known by family members or even friends, unless they take a look at an official document. I know this is the case for most of my aunts!

      That is incredibly interesting about the Brazilian woman and your Asian custom. Respecting another person’s culture while not “spitting on the face” of our own…a Catch-22 indeed!

    • they probably come from medieval times, when people were extremely superstitious. This, of course, is my own opinion–it may be true (or not) 😛

      like religious beliefs, superstitious are really hard to let go of indeed!

    • haha, yes, it is just so funny — you can tell how terrified the Spanish were/are(?) about remaining single for the rest of their lives!

    • haha, sometimes I wonder! 😛 I almost get married once, but that didn’t work out… Now I’ve been in a serious relationship for almost a year, but I vowed that I would never get married before I hit 30 (I’m currently 25). So hmm… We shall see! 😉 😛

    • hahaha – I thought that was one of the funniest Spanish superstitions. There is really a phobia of remaining single the rest of your life!

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