Turkey has seen more than thirty civilizations inhabit its landscape dating back to more than 10,000 years. A myriad of different cultures and belief systems have existed amongst the people that dwelled in Turkey which resulted in the cropping up of thousands of superstitious beliefs.
Each region of Turkey has its own historical superstitious beliefs and customs. There are certain acts that are considered to be bad and consequently harbor bad luck whereas other acts have the potential to bring good fortune. Turkish superstitions were also based on natural coincidences that occurred in nature involving different elements. The same act may even take on different meanings in different regions. A classic example of this phenomenon is the superstitious beliefs attached with the hooting of an owl on a roof top. In some regions this was believed to be a sign that the owners of that house would be receiving a message. In other regions the same act was considered to mean that bad luck or the death of a family member was about to occur.
On the other hand, there are many Turkish superstitions that are common across different regions. In fact many of these beliefs and ideas have crept their way into Europe and America.
Popular Turkish Superstitions
The oldest and most popular of these superstitions is the belief that when you walk under a ladder you are bound to incur bad luck on yourself. This superstitious belief is prevalent all across the world.
Another common belief was associated with the breaking of a mirror. Any one who would deliberately break a mirror would place a curse on himself under which either he would face bad luck for seven consecutive years or one of his family members would die. The only way to break this curse was to bury the broken pieces of the mirror immediately.
We’ve all heard about the black cat crossing your path will bring bad luck in your life. This popular superstition also has its roots in Turkey. The Turks also believed that handing any cutting utensil like knives or scissors to another person directly will cause the two individuals to fight. The only way to prevent this was to place the utensil on another surface such as the ground or table for the other person to pick it up himself.
A phrase commonly said when someone is having a bad day is “he got out of the wrong side of the bed”. Well, the Turks made sure they always got out of the right side of the bed so that they don’t face bad luck during the day. Similarly, when entering the house the right foot should be placed in first and when leaving the left foot should be forward. This was the reverse when entering the toilet.
A superstitious belief that was specific to a region called Corum entailed that eating a pomegranate without dropping any of it on the ground books you a one-way ticket to heaven.