Why Do We Wish Upon a Shooting Star?

The tradition of wishing upon a shooting star is thought to have started in Europe, circa 127 to 151 A.D. The Greek philosopher Ptolemy thought shooting stars signified that the gods were looking down on Earth and listening to wishes, according to the Library of Congress.

Jews and Christians believed shooting stars were fallen angels or demons. The Greeks believed they were the souls of people, ascending or descending from Heaven, and shooting stars were believed to be an omen of death. The Greek playwright Aristophanes imagined shooting stars were "souls of poor people, drunkenly walking home after they had dinner at a rich star."