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Bags of water hanging from the ceiling | © Matt Murphy
Bags of water hanging from the ceiling | © Matt Murphy
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25 Superstitions and Beliefs Only Mexicans Understand

Picture of Lydia Carey
Updated: 5 September 2017
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 common beliefs and superstitions in Mexico.

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

Tamales / flickr
Tamales / flickr | © Aaron

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
Children’s games | © Jos van der Hoek

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
Pollila Oscura | © Rob Mitchell

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

Aloe
Aloe | © Dirkus

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

Mexican sweet bread
Mexican sweet bread | © Protoplasma K

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
San Antonio | © Stuart Seeger

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
Cerro de Tepeyac | © Angel Arellano

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
Sweet potato vendor | © Micyaotl Garcia

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

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

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

Street dogs
Street dogs | © Sean and Lauren

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

Mexico City Street Sweeper
Mexico City Street Sweeper | © Timothy Neesam

14. The waters of Lake Tlacote having healing powers

Mexico lake
Mexico lake | © Giulian Frisoni

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
Virgin of Guadalupe | © Katie Bordner

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

Spices
Spices | © Elin B

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

Mexico street altar
Mexico street altar | © Daniel Roure Ojeda

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

Mexico River / flickr
Mexico River / flickr | © Tomscoffin

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
Statue of la Llorona | © Berenice Garcia

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

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!
Watch out goats! | © Brendan DeBrincat

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

Sweep in the morning!
Sweep in the morning! | © Liz West

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
Magical eggs | © James Lee

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
Mezquite Tree | © Antonio Garamendi

25. Tepozteco is a favorite spot for UFOs and aliens

Temple at Tepozteco, Morelos
Temple at Tepozteco, Morelos | © Fido