7 Strange Italian Traditions and Superstitions


 Hi guys! Get prepared to improve your knowledge about Italian traditions and superstitions!

Italian superstitionsTo study Italian language doens’t mean to study only its grammar and pronunciation. It means to understand its culture and lifestyle. With the post of today I want to teach you something  that goes back in time. Something that will let you understand better our gestures: Italian traditions and superstitions!



1. Number 17…what a bad luck! 

Have you ever noticed that some hotels in Italy don’t have a 17th floor and some airplanes don’t have the 17 on their seat?  It’s because this  number is considered unlucky.  The Roman number  for 17 is XVII, but the anagram of it can be  VIXI that  means “I have lived,” (and now I’m dead!!) a symbol that’s placed on ancient tombstones and associated with death.

2. Don’t place a loaf of bread up-side-down

My mother used to scream when one of us put a loaf of bread up-side down… I know it could sound ridiculous, but according to an Italian tradition, a loaf of bread must always be placed facing up. This superstition is based on an ancient tradition created by bakers: they used to put up-side down the bread intended for the executioner as a sign of contempt. 

 3. Don’t put a hat on your bed

Putting a hat on a bed is considered a sign of bad luck because, according to our superstitions,  it could bring a mourning in a family. In a few words it is associated to death… Are you laughing? You should  try to put your hat on an italian person’s bed! He would watch you in a bad way and would put it off of his bad in flash of light!  According to our traditions ,  it’s the gesture that priests used to do  when they arrived at the bedside of a dying man.

4. Never in 13  at a dinner table

A dinner table can be composed by 12 or 14 people… never 13 people, never in Italy!  13 people around the table at mealtime is considered a bad luck sign, as there were 13 people at the Last Supper of Jesus and one of them was also a traitor…

5 . Touch iron to avoid back luck

In the U.S., people will knock on wood to avoid bad luck . In Italy, it’s common for people to “toccare ferro” that means to touch iron. “Toccare ferro” it an abbreviation of  “Toccare ferro di cavallo” that means to touch horseshoe. you know why? In the In Middle Ages people used to nail an horseshoe at the door to keep away witches. 

6. Eat plenty of lentils on New Year’s Eve

Every culture has it’s own set traditions about New Year. According to Italian traditions, people use to eat lentils after the clock strikes 12:00. Lentils are symbol of money, so eating lentils as soon as the new yer begins  is a gesture of good luck to gain more money in the new year

7. Horn-shaped pendant as a gift!

In Italy but above in south Italy we use to give a horn – shaped pendant (translated as CORNO OR CORNICELLO) to wish good luck !  In ancient times people use to hang a horn at the door as a symbol of fertility and from time to time it has assumed many meanings such as an amulet against devil- eyes, against bad luck but the most important thing is that you have to receive it and not buy it by yourself. 

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