Humanity has always looked toward universal energies to explain the unknown for as long as it has been around. From religion to superstition, people have always looked for something to believe in. Superstitions are fun old wives’ tales passed down from generation to generation. Among Latinos, one of the more popular ones explains why you shouldn’t sweep people’s feet.

According to the New World Encyclopedia, superstitions are an “irrational belief” that links “unrelated behaviors” to “regain control over” one’s life. If you were single for an extended time, it’s probably because someone swept over your feet. What does one have to do with the other? No one is sure, but abuela’s everywhere have sworn by it for centuries.

In this edition of Fact or Cap, mitú analyses if there is any truth to the superstition surrounding the sweeping of feet and its ties to spinsterhood.  

Because of its popularity, the “sweeping the feet” superstition’s point of origin has made it somewhat difficult to determine

So, where did the idea of eternal singledom caused by way of a malicious broom sweeper appear? Despite a deep research dive, this superstition doesn’t have a set point of origin. Reddit user @bobtheorangecat articulates that it has been found across several cultures and countries.

Posted under the Ask Historians channel, they stated, “A Google search tells me that the origin of this old wives’ tale is Italian, Spanish, Puerto Rican, or Brazilian- depending on which non-authoritative site one chooses to believe.”

Not only do Latinos and Europeans have a version of this superstition, but so do United States southerners as well. A post from Weird South details all the broom-related superstitions that can be found in the Southern U.S.

The Holiday Property Bond links the aversion to broom-related mischief to witchcraft and the occult. We all know the ancients weren’t too fond of witches or women with power (why does this sound familiar?). 

Pagina Mexa supports this by alleging that the superstition could date back to when the Spanish began believing in witches. The publication cites that around the 16th century, the Spanish believed witches could take flight on brooms. 

Given that the Spanish were the primary settlers of Latin America, a possible deduction could be made that they introduced this idea to the masses.

Depending on your cultural and ethnic background, you probably heard a different broom superstition

Spinsterhood isn’t the only possible outcome regarding malevolent broom occurrences. Some folks grew up hearing that they’d go to jail. A Los Angeles’ REAL 92.3 radio station listener called in to share their version of broom superstition. 

In his story, he explained how his grandmother was walking by his cousin, who was sweeping. The cousin swept the grandmother’s feet. The grandmother told the sweeper to give them the broom so they could spit on it so they wouldn’t go to jail. 

The reason for the spitting? This is how you neutralize the bad luck. The caller’s cousin said no, and the grandmother slapped them. The cousin called the cops, and the grandmother went to jail. The caller’s story sounded more like a self-fulfilling prophecy, in all honesty.


Ummm I’m too busy to get my nails done 😭😭😭 so don’t come at me

♬ Banana (feat. Shaggy) [DJ FLe – Minisiren Remix] – Conkarah

Broom superstitions can take on a new life depending on your origins. The One Superstition A Week blog details China has a special link to brooms. 

“​​Historically, brooms have been associated with magic and power. In China, apparently, the broom is linked to the goddess Sao Ch’ing Niang or Sao Ch’ing Niang-Niang,” the blog details.

Sao Ch’ing Niang-Niang is the Chinese goddess of clouds and brooms. What is the correlation between the two? She sweeps away the clouds.

“In some cultures, the broom can be used for protection and warding off bad spirits. In other cultures, it embodies black magic and witchcraft,” it continues.

It’s safe to believe the possibility that this superstition is cap, unless you are that one person’s grandmother

Despite where people may come from, the consensus is that there’s not much substance to the superstition. One non-Latino Reddit user posed the question about what it was all about. The user had swept over their Latina friend’s feet. 

They received several answers from people reassuring them their friend would be alright. 


Idk if its true or not but my grandma told me when you or someone sweeps your foot / feet spit on the broom to undo the curse or…… 🇭🇹🤷🏾‍♀️ #hatitanmyth #fyp

♬ just wanna rock – xxtristanxo

One user commented, “[Y]es, my grandma used to say we [shouldn’t] keep our feet on the ground when she was sweeping the floor bc if she accidentally swept our feet, we [wouldn’t] get married.”

“[I]t was mostly a joke, but still me and my sisters would either put our feet up or sweep each other’s feet on purpose for the fun of it,” they continued.