Local culture is something really important in Brazil. Old stories, beliefs, and folklore are still part of the life of locals around the country. And the Brazilian superstitions people still follow today are part of this cultural background.
The first thing foreigners learn about Brazilian superstitions when coming to Brazil is all the rituals made during New Year’s Eve. Choosing the right color to wear, eating grapes at midnight, buying new underwear, and jumping seven waves in the ocean, just to mention a few.
However, there are dozens of other superstitions Brazilians still follow every day. Let’s check a few of them.
1. Black cats
Black cats mean bad luck. Especially if a black cat crosses someone’s path. Animal rights activists are working hard to dissolve that belief, though.
Always prefer to go around ladders than walking right under it. It brings such bad luck to do so!
3. Sweeping feet
If someone accidentally sweeps your feet with a broom while sweeping the floor, you are doomed not to marry. Ever.
4. Itchy Ears
If your ears are itching, it means someone is talking about you. And they are probably not talking good things about you either.
5. Upside down flip flops
Do not (I said do not!) leave your flip flops upside down. That means your mom is going to die and no one wants to wait and see if this is true.
6. Knocking three times on wood
Knock on any wood three times to avoid bad luck. If someone says something bad could happen, just knock on wood three times to prevent it. It works the same as saying “God forbids”, but with a powerful gesture.
7. Saint George’s sword plant
The Dracaena trifasciata plant, also known as Saint George’s sword, is a powerful ally when it comes to warding off the evil eyes. Many Brazilians have this plant right beside the entry of their houses or businesses. This plant also helps you to be successful in life.
8. Elephant ornament
Just decorate your home with an elephant ornament for financial luck. But wait, that is not all! The elephant’s butt should always point to the entry of your house or else it will not work.
9. Visitors at home
If you have an unwanted visitor, put a broom behind your front door and they will leave.
If you like the visitor and want them to come back again another time, don’t let them open the door of your home themselves. Make sure you are the one opening the door for them to leave.
Never leave your handbags or backpacks on the floor. That means you will lose money. Always look for a chair or table where you can leave your bags.
Making a toast may change your whole life.
1. Making a toast with an empty glass means bad luck.
2. You should always drink from your glass right after making a toast. Do not put your glass on the table without drinking it first. Unless you want to spend your following years without sex!
3. Always make eye contact with everyone making a toast with you.
12. The moon
You should pay attention to the lunar phases before having a haircut. If you want your hair to grow longer and faster, have a haircut on the First Quarter Moon. Book an appointment with your hairdresser during the Full Moon if you want more volume. Your hair grows slowly, but healthier, when you have a haircut during the Last Quarter Moon. And finally, for a fresh look, choose the New Moon — perfect to change the color of your hair our your hairstyle.
13. Saint Longinus
Saint Longinus (São Longuinho in Portuguese) is a Catholic saint Brazilians know as the entity that helps you find lost belongings. When you can not find an object, no matter its importance, just say: “São Longuinho, São Longuinho, se eu achar ‘tal coisa’ eu dou três pulinhos” (Saint Longinus, Saint Longinus, if I find ‘said thing’, I will jump three times). After you find what you were looking for, just jump three times to show your gratitude!
I can assure you this works 99% of the time for me, so who am I to discredit it?
The number 13
Have you noticed this list brings you exactly 13 Brazilian superstitions and beliefs? This is no coincidence. In Brazil, thirteen is a powerful number, surrounded by mystery and beliefs. While half of the population believes this is a lucky number, the other half of Brazilians think 13 is a cursed number. So, would you choose the number 13 in your lottery ticket or not?
Why do people still follow Brazilian superstitions?
We are sure every Brazilian superstition has a story and tradition behind it. A lot of this comes down to the highly religious nature of the country and also the popular and respected folklore. Most superstitions still pass down from generation to generation. Many people just have a good laugh when talking about it, but most Brazilians are serious about it. Even if many of these make no sense at all, there is no denying the effect the Brazilian culture has on people in the country.
When you study at Caminhos Language Centre, you not only learn Brazilian Portuguese. Part of our classes is making sure you immerse yourself in the culture, history, and traditions of the country. You will study Portuguese, while learning about the music, celebrations, idioms, and food of Brazil, among many other things.