10 Superstitions You Grow Up Listening to In Turkey

Evil Eyes
Evil Eyes | © Vik Walker/Flickr
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

As a country that’s famous for its evil eyes, it’s no wonder that Turkish culture is full of superstitions that many learn from their mothers and grandmothers from childhood onwards. We take a look at some of the most popular ones.

The Evil Eye

The evil eye is much more than just a pretty blue charm that you can buy all over Turkey. It’s based on the idea that when someone feels envy they cause bad luck. For this reason many Turks wear evil eyes to cancel out the bad stare they might receive from others and don’t talk too openly about their happiness so as not to garner too much attention (which may cause bad luck).

Broken glass

When glass breaks it means that the nazar (evil eye) was so big that it broke an actual object. Of course, the broken items needs to be disposed of immediately, preferably somewhere far from the home.

Knocking on wood

Knocking on wood three times is another very popular superstition that occurs when talk turns to something unfortunate and the person wants to protect themselves or someone else from it.

Knock on wood

Buttoning up

In Turkey you should never button up your coat while facing someone because it’s believed that this will close that person’s kısmet (good fortune). Similarly opening a lock above someone’s head with a prayer is believed to open that person’s kısmet.

Pouring a glass of water

When someone is leaving on a journey it’s extremely common in Turkey to pour a glass of water over a mirror or on the road behind them as they leave. This superstition revolves around the idea that the person’s journey will be smooth like water and that they will return in good health.

Sharp objects

In Turkey you never hand someone a sharp object like a knife or scissors with the blade facing them because this may cause a fight in the future. You either put it down and ask them to pick it up themselves or you turn it around and give them the blunt side.


The right side

In Turkey it’s auspicious to begin everything on the right side. This includes boarding a plane with your right foot or getting out of bed from the right side. This superstition states that the left side is a harbinger for bad news, so everything done from the right will be more positive.

Ringing in the ears

In Turkey when your ears ring it means that someone is talking about you. If the ringing is on the left side, someone is saying some mean things about you, and if it’s the right side, then the talk is definitely more positive. Similarly if your eye twitches it means someone is coming soon to visit you.


Left or right palm

In Turkey when palms itch it’s a message regarding money. If your left palm itches it means that you’ll be losing money, but if your right palm itches then it means you’ll be making money.

Bride and Groom

During a wedding in Turkey it’s very common to see the bride step on the groom’s foot when they are declared married because this means that the bride will be in charge rather than the other way around.

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