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Superstitions in Brazil Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 in Culture, Customs

Olá, tudo bem?

I was thinking one of these days about our superstitions in Brazil. Brazil is known for being a superstitious country, mainly due to our deeply rooted religious history and background. Let me cut to the chase and show you some of our superstitions.

Bater na madera. We knock on wood three times to avoid bad luck.

Gato preto. If you run into a black cat, get away from it, it´s bad luck!

Passar embaixo de uma escada. Walking under a ladder is also a sign of bad luck in Brazil.

Bolsa no chão. Leaving your purse/handbag on the floor will set your money life backwards.

Espelho quebrado. If you break a mirror you will have 7 years of bad luck.

Sal grosso. Leaving a pot with rock salt in the corners of your house scares away bad luck. Also if you put a common rue branch (galho de arruda) on your ear it´s also supposed to shy away maus olhados (bad whammy).

Vassoura atrás da porta. In my opinion this is the coolest one: if you have an unwanted visitor or someone has worn out their welcome, put a broom behind a door and this visitor will leave.

Ovo para Santa Clara. When it’s raining very hard and you’d like it to stop, put an egg in hommage to Santa Clara (Saint Clara). She supposedly clareia (clears up the weather).

Elefante de louça. Having a china elephant with its trunk up as a bibelô (ornament) in your house brings financial luck and you always have money.

Orelha quente. If your ears suddenly burns up, it means that someone has been talking about you.

Comer e olhar no espelho. My grandma used to say that if you eat and look in a mirror your face will be crooked forever.

Talheres no chão. If a fork falls on the floor, a man will visit you. If a spoon falls, a woman will come. If a knife falls, there will be a fight so you cross the floor with it to avoid it. On the same note, when a woman is pregnant and people want to know if it is a boy or a girl they wrap a fork and a spoon in a napkin and place it on a couch. If the woman sits on the fork, it is a boy. If she sits on the spoon, it is a girl.

Guarda-chuva. If you open an umbrella inside your house, it will bring you bad luck.

Brinde. If you make a toast and your glass is empty, this will bring bad luck too.

What kind of superstitions do you have in your country? Are they like the Brazilian ones? Leave your comments and tell us!

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. aselniczka:

    Os brasileiros sao poloneses! Almost all of this superstitions work in Poland as well 🙂

    • Adir:

      @aselniczka Sério? Quais superstições são iguais? Conta pra gente!

  2. luiza:

    I could say the same thing about Romanians. But then again we are all latins..:) We have all the above mentioned superstitions and some more:
    -never turn back in your way once you left to do someting because you will not succeed
    -its bad luck if somebody encounters you and he/she has an empty glass/cup/pot and you should spit in it to break the bad luck
    -a coin of foam in your coffee means you will receive money same thing if the left hand is itching
    -if the right hand itches means you have to give money
    -if a door opens out of the blue means you will have visitors and same goes for a spider in the corner of the ceiling. if you do not want visitors you just send the spider out 🙂
    -always get out of the house with your right foot for good luck

    And maybe others which I am not aware of but for sure exists since we too are quite superstitios. 🙂

  3. Krystle:

    Never whistle after sundown; it brings bad spirits. Never run in circles around your house for the same reason. If a coyote crosses your path never continue, turn around and go back the way you came. Very bad omen. Never point at a rainbow with your pointer finger, you’ll lose your finger. All Navajo superstition.

  4. Marlene:

    A maioria dessas superstições são comuns aqui nos EUA também.
    Eu queria saber o que você (Adir) quis dizer com “if you put a common rue branch (galho de arruda) on your eat… “? On your eat?? Achei um erro de digitação, mas não consegui adivinhar o que você realmente queria dizer.

  5. Marlene:

    Bater na madeira, gato preto, passar embaixo de uma escada, espelho quebrado (até os sete anos de azar), orelhas quentes, e guarda-chuva… todas essas são superstições aqui nos EUA também.
    Tá bom, respondi SUA pergunta, agora vc vai responder a minha sobre o que vc queria dizer com “on your EAT”? Será que vc quis dizer “on your SEAT”??

    • Adir:

      @Marlene Obrigado, Marlene!

      Foi sim um erro de digitação e já está corrigido. É “ear”, orelha mesmo.

      Obrigado pela visita e o comentário! =)

  6. Sparkey:

    Most of those are the same in the United States. Instead of an elephant’s trunk though we use a horse shoe. It must face with the open side up so that your luck will not run out.

  7. Raquel:

    Muitas destas também existem em Bolívia, Chile, Colombia e Peru.

  8. Marlene:

    Ah, tá. Agora faz muito mais sentido. Obrigada pela atenção, Adir!!

  9. Eriqhover:

    Even though my country (Malaysia) is really far away from Brazil, but still there are some similarities e.g.
    – Guarda-Chuva
    – Orelha quente
    – Espelho quebrado (you’ll have a bad luck but not specifically 7 years though)
    – Gato preto (with this one some of us believe that black cat can be a form of ghost apparition)

    I don’t know how those superstitions can be similar in a totally different culture and language but one of my theory is, it could be from the Portuguese influence during colonization back then.

  10. Rebecca:

    From our grandmother:

    If a person opens his pocket knife and gives it to you to use, never fold it up yourself when you finish. Let the owner fold it up, or you’ll have bad luck.

    Never bring a garden rake into the house. That’s also bad luck.

  11. Rebecca:

    My grandmother learned from her mom who is from Ireland, never put new shoes on a table (even if in a box or a bag). It will bring bad luck.

  12. iguacufalls:

    Quando morava no Brasil me falaram mais duas coisas:

    1. Quem bota arroz primeiro nunca casa.(Agora sou casado há 23 anos, então agora sei que não é verdade – sempre pus arroz primeiro rsrs)

    2. Não deixe um visitante abrir a porta quando está saindo, ou ele não volta.