13 Surprising, Yet Silly Middle-Eastern Superstitions

Growing up in a Middle-Eastern/Arab household, we most probably have seen our parents being too cautious to save us and themselves from all the bad luck and “inevitable” damage these superstitions would bring us.

And since the Middle East is a cradle for many superstitions, we’ve compiled a list of known and unknown situations that may be jinxing you. Some of these superstitions may seem silly and illogical to you, however they are long-standing cultural habits that many of us are just not ready to let go of yet.

If you don’t know, superstitions are long-standing cultural beliefs and practices that are based on old ideas about luck, magic, and fate which are passed on from one generation to another.

Whether you believe in them or not, we’ve got to admit So, here’s a list of THIRTEEN (*evil laugh*) of the weirdest ones we grew up on:

Remember to celebrate spilling your coffee, make sure birds poop on you, and always finish food and drinks served to you at someone’s house!

  1. The Blue Amulet (Khamsa w Khmeisa)

Have you got injured multiple times lately? Does your vacation always include some sort of an accident? Has your new car just got keyed? All these things are believed to be results of the “evil eye”.

But, of course, our ancestors made sure not leave us to our doom! It’s said that using the blue amulet, the “Khamsa w Khmeisa”, or knocking on wood (or all three!) will protect us from the evil eye and ward off evil spirits and bad luck.

  1. Upside Down Footwear

 If your mama or grandma hasn’t ever yelled at you to turn over an inverted shoe/slipper, have you really grown up in a Middle-Eastern household?

It is believed that if a footwear is left upside down, it will bring ominous events to the residents and someone will die in that house.

  1. Celebrate Spilt Coffee!

Although spilling Turkish coffee causes stains and burns in real life, in the Middle East it’s considered to be a sign of good luck and a blessing to those who spilled the coffee and the place being spilled on!

So, if you are visiting the region, don’t feel guilty or ashamed if you spilt coffee at someone’s house, because it will be joyfully welcomed and celebrated.

  1. Opening an Umbrella Indoors

This superstition is originated in ancient Egypt; they believed that opening an umbrella indoors was considered offensive to the God of Sun, consequently His wrath will fall, causing awful misery.

We may not have proof or a logical explanation, but why take any chances!

  1. Throwing Salt

Whenever you see some spilt salt, hurry up and throw a pinch over your left shoulder!

This belief dates back to ancient times, where salt was considered a religious valuable commodity, and it was a bad omen for it to be spilt with no use. So, it’s believed throwing it over the left shoulder binds the evil spirit lurking behind you, since the left side is the “side of evil.”

Many of us also grew up seeing our grandparents putting salt in different corners of the house as warding against evil entities. And that’s how important salt is in our life (besides seasoning of course!).

  1. Owls & Black Animals

Many of the MENA people get scared of owls and black animals especially cats, dogs and crows. They consider black animals as evil creatures thinking demons possess their bodies, hence bad omen and misfortune.

N.B. If you run over a cat, it also brings bad luck. Superstitions are totally pro animal rights.

  1. Leaving Scissors Open

It’s believed to be an Egyptian superstition where if you keep opening and closing them without actually cutting anything, or if you leave scissors open, this will turn happiness into utter sadness.

The myth is based on the scissors’ function (to cut things) which leads to fights between people and tearing up relationships.

  1. Not Finishing Your Food or Drink

Another very significant Egyptian myth is that if you enter an Egyptian house, so as a guest you *must* finish your drink/food until the last bit, because if this household has a single girl, bad luck will haunt her and she will never get married.

9. Stepping Over Someone

Apparently if you step over someone lying on the ground, that person will develop some sort of a deformity, and if it was a child, they will grow short.

YET, in Egyptian baby showers, the mother HAS TO step over her newborn about 7 times, soo? Make it make sense..

For all my short folks out there, it’s not your fault. Blame it on the person who stepped over you.

10. Clipping Nails and Sweeping Floors at Night

The belief here goes by that it’s ominous to cut your nails at night, as it leads to the loss of precious possessions or even loved ones.

As for a night sweep for the floor, it directly curses the whole household.

11. Birds Pooping on People

If a bird poops on you, it’s considered good luck AND it means you would definitely be granted new clothes (well, duh? Because my outfit would then be ruined by poop lol).

12. Yawning Without Covering Your Mouth

Probably the most disgusting superstition in the Middle East is that if you don’t cover up your mouth while yawning, the Devil will PEE right in your mouth!

Hmm.. I wonder what if we all yawned at the same time?

13. Accidently Chocking On Liquids

 Sure, we all had that person telling us “oh, someone’s talking about you!” when we choke on water or even on our own saliva. Not that we may have drunk too fast or have a swallowing problem. Nope. Someone IS definitely talking about us.

Since it’s 2021, we may already think there’s a reason and a logical explanation for all those superstitions. But until we know what that reason is, taking some precautions never killed nobody!