Don’t show your bellybutton! 5 fascinating national superstitions

By Jenny Bui / March 2, 2017
  1. Hide your bellybutton in Japan

What do you tell terrified children when there is a storm thundering outside. Cover you ears? Go under your blanket? No, that’s not going to be of any help you when you’re in Japan. Japanese folklore has it, that, unless you cover your bellybutton during a storm, the thunder god Raijin will come and eat your bellybutton or entire abdomen. Or maybe you prefer being struck by lightning when Raijin’s wants to wake his companion Raijuu who likes nesting himself in human belly buttons. The origins of this folktale are unclear but may have emerged from the belief that covering up your stomach will prevent catching a cold.

  1.  Single ladies in Poland, don’t sit on the corner…

When you are having dinner in a Polish house and are single or unmarried, don’t sit on the corner of a table since this will lead to you being single for the rest of your life! And sitting between two handsome gentlemen is way better, anyway.

  1. Happy Birthday! – but get the timing right in Germany

Who would say Happy Birthday before the actual day of birth, anyway? This belief is widely spread and it will upset people when you spoil their birthday by doing so. But just keep in mind that doing this in Germany, even accidentally, will bring bad luck. Wishing someone Happy Birthday, even if it is just a day or so before their actual birthday will spoil their birthday.

  1. Avoid the goat in Rwanda

Or more precisely – avoid eating their meat. Especially if you are a woman. Otherwise, you will grow a beard. Just like a goat.

You also shouldn’t eat fish brain because then the devil will come and visit you at night. And eating green bananas will cause a big butt.

  1. Feed the gods in Vietnam

I have to admit that sometimes I marvel at my parent’s behaviour even though I have lived with them for so long. You’d expect to know everything about them. Until they go around throwing rice, grapes and other fruit around the premises of the new-built house when moving in. Apparently, it is custom before moving into a new house to appease the gods that may live there by offering them food. So, if you have new neighbours and find food, especially rice and fruit in your back garden, it’s probably because a Vietnamese person misjudged the trajectory when throwing food.

About the author

Jenny Bui

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