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Owing to the fact that Brazil has a deep-rooted religious history, superstitions are rife. In Brazilian pop culture, some superstitions—such as the idea that eating mango with milk will kill you—have lost their credibility yet still remain a fact of life among older generations. From itchy left hands to white butterflies, we explore the quirks of Brazilian superstitions that many locals still believe.
If you have a visitor in your home that has overstayed their welcome, Brazilian superstition says that placing a broom behind the door will make them leave.
Keep an ornament in your home of an elephant with its trunk up in the air. It supposedly brings financial luck.
If you enter a house, be sure to leave through the same door as you walked in. Leaving a house through a different door apparently brings bad luck.
Eating mango then drinking milk will kill you.
If someone sweeps your feet with a broom, you will supposedly have bad luck and not ever marry.
If the first butterfly you see in a year is white, you’re in luck—it’s a sign of a year’s worth of good fortune.
A popular superstition ingrained in even the youngest generations is that walking under a ladder brings bad luck.
If you have an itchy left hand, you will come into some extra money.
This is one of the most popular and widespread superstitions in Brazil: if you leave your bag on the floor, you will lose money. It is rare to see someone leaving their bag on the floor, preferring to leave it on their laps, on a table, or hanging from the chair.
Be suspicious if your ears start burning—it means someone is talking badly about you.
Walking barefoot throughout the house will make you catch a cold. It’s common for Brazilians, especially the older generation, to encourge you to wear Havaianas (flip-flops) while walking around the home.
Be careful when you drop cutlery at the dinner table. Dropping a knife on the floor means a fight will happen—but this can be avoided by making a cross on the floor with the same knife. Dropping a fork means a man will arrive at your home, whereas if you drop a spoon, expect a female visitor to knock at your door.
If you knock three times on wood it’s believed to ward off bad fortune.
New Year’s celebrations are surrounded by superstitions. Wear white (and nearly everyone does, though nowadays many do out of tradition’s sake rather than superstition) to start the year with good fortune and luck. There are other colors you can wear too to bring different positive virtues, such as yellow for money and pink or red for love.
Keep a pot of rock salt in the corner of your home. By doing this, it apparently scares away any bad luck.