Traditions and superstitions in Chile have been passed down through the ages – although the most superstitious people tend to be the most old-fashioned, the majority of Chileans still put on their yellow undies for a special occasion! Here’s a round-up of more peculiar superstitions that only Chileans can understand.
Rather than worrying about what could possibly go wrong on Friday 13th, for Chileans the day of mala suerte (bad luck) to watch out for is Tuesday 13th. There’s an old saying in Spanish; En martes, ni te cases, ni te embarques, ni de tu casa te apartes, which means, don’t marry, board a plane or ship or leave the house on Tuesday.
Pass me the salt, please?
Travellers in Chile beware – don’t pass the salt from your hand directly to your fellow diner’s hand, as this is thought to lead to a falling out with that person. The best way to avoid this situation is by placing the salt on the table near enough for them to reach!
Pinch a redhead
Finding a redhead might be a challenge, with most Chileans having dark features. However, it is thought that if you pinch a redhead, it’ll warrant you good luck. If you have a tinge of carrot or red in your hair, watch out on your next trip!
All of us have dropped cutlery in our lifetime, whether you misplace it as you’re laying the table or trying to balance one too many things while you’re clearing up. In a Chilean household, once the clink has been made, all eyes will be on whether it’s a knife or fork. If it’s a fork, then a female visitor is expected to arrive, whereas if a knife falls, it’ll be a man.
If you realise that you’ve left something behind and have to go back for it, Chilean superstition dictates that before returning, you must either sit down three times or touch wood three times. Although you might look rather strange doing this in public, would you rather have a cloud of bad luck looming over you forever?
For Chileans, yellow is a colour of luck – they wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve, exam days and other important events where luck is needed, so make sure you pack a pair of yellow undies before your trip to Chile!
It is thought that there is a silver lining to stepping in dog poo, which is not an uncommon occurrence in both Santiago or Valparaiso where there are street dogs on every corner. Next time it happens, rather than cursing, be hopeful as there’s a possibility you will come into some money.
The rooster calls the shots
If a rooster crows nine times at dusk, it’s thought that someone in the house will die, as the nine crows represent the novena, the devotional prayers to idols of Jesus Christ, Madonna and other saints. However, if the rooster crows at midnight, there’ll be good news.
No laughing matter
For some reason when you whack your funny bone, it just ain’t very funny! Fight the urge to rub it better, as Chileans believe that if you leave the pain to improve on its own, you’re bound to receive a present from someone soon.
Don’t drop your wallet
If you do drop your wallet or purse on the floor, make sure you pick it back up quickly, as if it’s there for longer than a second it’s a sign that you’ll lose money soon.
On the other hand, a good omen is that if your left hand is itchy, you should refrain from scratching it, even subconsciously, as it indicates that you’re likely to come into some money soon. If your right hand is itching, however, it’s a sign of greeting.