But you won’t find locals drawing their blinds and running from black cats today.
For Spaniards, it’s actually Tuesday the 13th that’s considered unlucky.
For them, Tuesday is said to be dominated by Ares, the Greek god of war, who gives his name to Martes – Tuesday in Spanish.
As the old Spanish proverb warns: ‘En martes, ni te cases, ni te embarques, ni de tu casa te apartes’ – or in English – “On Tuesday, don’t get married, embark on a journey, or move away.”
Below are ten Spanish superstitions you should be aware of…
Putting a hat on a bed will bring you bad luck, so say the Spanish. This superstition is believed to have come from a time when people believed evil spirits lived in people’s hair, meaning they could be transferred from the hair to the hat and then to the bed, leaving you open to ghost attacks in the night.
Tradition states that buying knives or scissors as a gift is a serious no-no. They are believed to symbolise the cutting of ties and relationships, so if you gift newlyweds with knives, they will break up.
While many in the western world tell their actor friends to ‘break a leg’, in Spain it’s a bit different. Instead you must wish that person ‘mucha mierda’, or ‘lots of shit’. Like many theatre superstitions, the origin is hard to place.
You may have noticed lots of cactai placed on your Spanish friend’s window sills or dotted around the home. It is widely believed that the spikey green plant can ward away all things evil.
While most countries believe cats can cheat death nine times, poor Iberian felines have to tread more carefully as they have two fewer lives than their British counterparts, with just seven.
Be careful when your next sweeping your patio. In Spain, if you accidentally brush a single woman’s feet, she will never get married. The superstition is believed to be related to witches.
A sure fire way to get back at someone is to buy them yellow clothes. Yellow is sais to represent sulphur and the Devil. It is also said to bring bad luck in certain situations, so don’t wear yellow on the day of an exam, a job interview or when you are starring in a play.
Every expat should know this one. Spaniards traditionally eat 12 grapes on the 12 strokes of midnight on New Year’s Eve for luck and prosperity for the year ahead. They also wear red underwear on the last night of the year for extra luck.
Tradition warns to never enter a room with your left foot, unless you want to unleash a series of unfortunate events, of course. If you do enter with your left foot, you can reverse the curse by making the sign of the cross three times.
There must always be an extra chair at the table to put your handbag or purse on. The Spanish say leaving it on the floor will cause you to lose all your money.