PHOTO CREDIT: Markus Spiske / raumrot.com
Editor: Mike Carioscia
Each country has its own traditions and superstitions that are a part of the history and culture of that area. Every superstition has a story behind it as there are reasons why people believe the things they do and behave in certain ways. Italy has its own set of interesting and unique superstitions and here are seven of them.
1) Unlucky 17
If you are a visitor to Italy, you might notice that some hotels do not have a room or floor number 17 and wonder why. It actually relates to the Roman numerals used to depict the number 17 and this is written as ‘XVII’. When these symbols are rearranged it spells the word ‘VIXI’ and this translates as a phrase meaning ‘I have lived’. ‘VIXI’ is associated with death and is often written on tombstones. However, hardcore Italians may not share this fear.
2) Don’t Put Your Hat On a Bed
As many people keep their hats in their bedroom, putting a hat on a bed may seem a strange suspicion. The reason people in Italy associate this with bad luck is because of its links to death. When a priest visits a dying person to give them their last rights, he removes his hat and puts it on the bed.
3) Avoid Brooms If You Are Single
Single people in Italy are likely to run in the opposite direction if they see someone sweeping with a broom. Folklore says that any single person who has a broom swept over their feet is destined to be single for the rest of their life.
4) Avoid 13 Diners at a Table
As a predominantly Christian country, many Italian superstitions relate to events in the bible. According to Italian superstitions, you should never sit at a table with 12 other diners as this will give you bad luck. This superstition relates to the Last Supper when 13 people when the 13th disciple betrayed Jesus.
5) Don’t Cross Objects
The cross is the religious symbol of Christianity, so to put inanimate objects into the shape of a cross is considered disrespectful to the religion and will bring you bad luck. For example, don’t put down your knife and fork in the shape of a cross when you are in Italy.
6) Look After Your Bread
Bread is symbolic of life to the Italians, so they are quite particular about how it is kept and treated. Not only do they believe you should never turn bread the wrong way up as this represents death, they also believe that you should never put a knife into a loaf.
7) Black Cats
While in the UK a black cat is considered to be lucky, the beliefs of the Italians are the complete opposite. In Italy, superstitious people think it is bad luck to either have a black cat cross their path or for them to cross the path of the cat.
These are just a few of the unusual superstitions held by Italians that you should be aware of when visiting this country. There are many more superstitions you may come across and these may differ between regions and may also have changed over time.
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