What Are Some French Superstitions?

What Are Some French Superstitions?

Superstitions that are exclusive to France include never placing bread upside down, never giving a knife as a gift and never lighting three cigarettes with the same match. The French also believe that stepping in dog excrement with your left foot brings good luck.

French superstitions originate from religion, history and culture. A common superstition says that placing bread upside down on a table invites famine into the household. The French are careful to avoid hosting 13 guests exactly at a dinner party, which is believed to come from the Last Supper. They also avoid lighting a prayer candle at church with another candle because they believe all good wishes will pass to whoever lit the original candle.

Superstitious French people avoid lighting three cigarettes with the same match, which originates with World War I, when lit cigarettes were thought to alert enemy snipers. Another superstition says that rubbing the beret of a French sailor brings good luck. Good luck also comes from stepping in dog excrement with the left foot, though stepping in it with the right foot is an omen of bad fortune.

Many superstitions are particular to French women. Wearing a polka dot dress on New Year's Day is meant to bring good luck for the year to come. If a pregnant woman sees an owl, she will have a girl. A highly specific superstition advises women to never iron their husband's underwear wearing a belt, otherwise they will be responsible for his kidney troubles.

French superstitions, and indeed all superstitions, have no credible evidence to support them. In modern times, most French citizens are not emphatically superstitious in any way, but these historic beliefs are ingrained in the culture.