Every May 5, cities around the world celebrate the vibrant culture of Mexico. From Japan to Canada, Jamaica to Australia, and beyond, Cinco de Mayo festivities are held, full of Mexican food, music, and much more.
Often mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Over the years, it gained popularity among Mexican-Americans, with more than 100 states in the U.S. holding official celebrations.
Part of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage are folklore and superstitions. Have you ever heard of La Llorona, or “the Weeping Woman”? In Mexican folklore, she is the ghost of a grieving mother who drowned her child and herself. It’s said that her cries can be heard never a river bank in the dark of night, but parents should take heed—legend has it she’ll snatch up wandering children if she gets the chance.
Fortunately, not all Mexican lore is quite so dark. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, here are 12 superstitions popular in Mexican culture:
- Take care when sweeping. Don’t sweep the floor at night or you’ll attract bad luck and don’t ever sweep dirt out the front door or your good luck will go with it. Avoid sweeping at the feet of a single person or you may sweep away any chance they’ll get married.
- Don’t scratch an itchy palm. The itch foretells good fortune, as long as you don’t scratch or else you’ll drive the money away. Instead, place coins or dollar bills in your palm and squeeze until the itch fades. Similarly, if you hit your elbow, that means a surprise is coming, but only if you don’t rub the pain away.
- Trying to ward off unwanted guests in your home? Place a broom standing upside-down behind the front door to drive them away.
- Never put your purse or handbag on the floor. Doing so is said to bring bad fortune and cost you money.
- Did you have a nightmare? Share the scare and tell someone about your nightmare or you risk it coming true. If it’s a good dream, however, keep that in—it won’t come true otherwise.
- Don’t let anyone admire or touch your newborn baby too much. Doing so can curse the baby with “Mal de Ojo”, or the Evil Eye. It can cause a baby to cry uncontrollably, develop a fever, or worse.
- Take heed next time you ask someone to pass you the salt. According to “La Mal Sal”, to pass salt from one person’s hand to another is bad luck. To avoid this, ask that the salt be placed back on the table before you pick it up.
- Avoid cutting a baby’s hair too early. Do so before they walk can and they’ll take longer to master the skill. Cut their hair before their first birthday and they may never learn to talk.
- Keep a full glass of water atop the fridge or behind a door to absorb negative energy in the home.
- Are your ears ringing or buzzing? Someone might be talking about you. If it affects your right ear, don’t worry—the talk is good. The left ear means the talk is bad, so bite your tongue. It’s said to cause the speaker to bite theirs and can ward off their negative thoughts.
- Never give someone the gift of scissors or knives or risk severing ties with them.
- Ready to ring in the New Year? Eat 12 grapes before midnight on January 31 and you’ll see 12 months of happiness.
Do any of these superstitions sound familiar? Superstitions often cross cultures, existing in some form or another, in many counties. Whether we believe them or not, is up to the individual, but if you believe you’ve done something to attract negative energy, don’t let it build up. Connect with a spiritual advisor and cleanse your energies today!