Superstitions and Beliefs Only Mexicans Understand

Bags of water hanging from the ceiling
Bags of water hanging from the ceiling | © Matt Murphy

Each country has its own folklore and legends, things our parents or grandparents tell us, to ward away bad vibes or to scare us into being good little children. Some of these superstitions are universal (think “the evil eye”) and some are unique to a specific place. Here are a few Mexican customs, common beliefs and superstitions.

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1. You can’t make tamales when you’re angry – they won’t fluff up right


2. Chicken poop in your hair will make it stop falling out or help it to grow back


3. If a child passes under your legs in one direction, they have to pass through again in the opposite direction or they won’t grow to their full height

Children’s games

4. If a pollila negra (a large black moth) enters the house you have to sweep it out immediately or someone will die shortly after

Pollila Oscura

5. Sidral Mundet will cure a stomach ache


6. An aloe plant with red strings tied to each of its leaves will safeguard your home from evil


7. To rid yourself of fear, eat a piece of sweet bread

Mexican sweet bread

8. Placing an image of San Antonio upside and asking him to help you, will allow you to find lost items. When you find them, you must place him rightside up again

San Antonio

9. If you ask something of the Virgen del Tepeyac and she answers your prayers you must climb the Cerro de Tepeyac on your knees

Cerro de Tepeyac

10. When you hear the sound of the sweet potato vendor you have to turn the pockets of your pants inside out because the sound of his whistle means money is coming your way

Sweet potato vendor

11. You can hang bags of water from the ceiling to make flies go away

Bags of water hanging from the ceiling

12. You can place bottles full of water around trees or in gardens and dogs won’t pee there when they pass

Street dogs

13. If you sweep over your own feet you’re destined to marry a widow

Mexico City Street Sweeper

14. The waters of Lake Tlacote having healing powers

Mexico lake

15. An indigenous farmer, Juan Diego, met the Virgin of Guadalupe on a hillside in winter and she asked him to tell the local bishop to build a church there in her honor

Virgin of Guadalupe

16. Always add spices to your dish in the form of a cross


17. Whenever you cross in front of a church or altar you must cross yourself

Mexico street altar

18. If you take a child to swim in a river, you must place your hand on their head and yell their name three times or the river spirits will take the child from you

19. La Llorona was an indigenous woman whose rejection by her Spanish lover caused her to drown herself and their three children. You can still hear her cries at the river as she searches for her dead children

Statue of la Llorona

20. Small, sprite-like creatures called chaneque are the keepers of the forest in Mexico and if you aren’t careful they can steal your soul

Mexican forest

21. Chupacabras, or the “goat sucker” are wild animals that hunt at night preying on livestock… but they might just come for you!

Watch out goats!

22. You mustn’t sweep your house at night, it brings bad luck

Sweep in the morning!

23. To draw someone to you, you need 4 eggs: break two in corners, and one more at the door of the person you want to attract. The last one put inside a white cup and place it under your bed

Magical eggs

24. In rural communities women often bury their umbilical cords under a tree to help their child set down roots in the earth and in the community

Mezquite Tree

25. Tepozteco is a favorite spot for UFOs and aliens

Temple at Tepozteco, Morelos

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