Thanks to the influence of religion and superstition, there are a lot of interesting beliefs around the world. We’ve got the real meaning behind quite a few

PewResearch found that more than 80% of Americans identify themselves as religious. The most common religious groups in the US are Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim. Since that’s just a sampling of religious activity in America, it’s not hard to imagine the amount of religious diversity that exists when you take the entire world into account.

In addition to the beliefs that people have because of their religions, there are also a number of beliefs that simply come from superstitions. Even if a superstition seems irrational, because it’s so deeply rooted in the people who believe it, not only is it unlikely they’ll change their mind, but chances are they’ll pass that belief down to their children.

Although you can fill a very large book with all the different religious and superstitious beliefs that people around the world hold, let’s get an overview of this topic by taking a look at the most common ones:

The Resurrection

While there’s plenty of variety within Christianity, one of the cornerstones of this faith is the belief that Jesus died on the cross to forgive everyone’s sins. An important component of that belief is that he not only died, but he will one day rise again.

Samsara

This term refers to the Hindu belief in the continuing cycle of birth, life, death and then rebirth. What this means for believers is while they should make the most of their current life, it’s actually just one of many that they’ve had and will continue to have far in the future.

The Evil Eye

This Jewish belief has to do with following a path of good in life and trying to avoid one that’s bad. While a person with a good eye will be kind to others, someone with an evil eye is happiest when others suffer. Because it’s such a sign of bad luck, many members of the Jewish community wear evil eye protection daily in the form of a bracelet, earrings or necklace.

Friday the 13th

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Now that we’ve covered some of the most common beliefs that are rooted in religion, let’s jump over to a handful that stem from superstition. What’s interesting about this specific belief is it wasn’t until the 19th century that Western societies began to think of Friday the 13th as a day of bad luck. Additionally, viewing the number 13 as a sign of bad luck isn’t limited to Fridays. There are actually hotels, apartments and airplanes that skip this number when they list their floors or rows.

Opening an Umbrella Indoors

There’s no question that an umbrella can provide protection from the rain and sun. While it can be very useful to have an umbrella outside, a lot of people refuse to ever open them indoors because they’re afraid it will bring bad luck on themselves.

Itchy Palm

Because it’s associated with bad luck, most people don’t want to look at the calendar and see an upcoming Friday the 13th. But what they do want to experience is an itchy palm. The reason this condition is viewed as good luck is because it’s believed to be a sign that someone’s going to be handing the person with the itchy palm money in the near future.

Walking Under a Ladder

Accidentally pass under a ladder as you’re strolling down the street? Then some people believe that you are tempting fate and opening yourself up for bad luck. And although not everyone who believes in this form of bad luck thinks it can be countered, there are those who believe that placing the thumb between the middle and index finger will prevent this action from triggering any bad luck.

Breaking a Mirror

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A ladder isn’t the only object many people believe can cause bad luck. Breaking a mirror is believed by many to directly trigger bad luck. What’s really harsh about this belief is the bad luck is supposed to last for a full seven years. If this happens and you get worried, there are those who think that burying it outside under moonlight will counter the negative effects.

Finding a Horseshoe

It may not negate the bad luck of a broken mirror, but there’s no shortage of people who believe that coming across a horseshoe is good luck. If you happen to find one, just be sure it’s not because you accidentally walked onto a spot where people are currently playing horseshoes!

Even if you disagree with some of the beliefs we covered or just happen to think they’re silly, it’s always interesting to get a little more insight into the minds of others!

William Burris is a professional writer and amateur painter. After keeping his paintings all to himself for over a decade, he’s finally going to show three of them in a public gallery.

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