The Powerball jackpot is at $800 million and you better believe all your tíos, primos, abuelos, and even amigos are buying these tickets and starting their win-it-big rituals. If you want a shot this is what you do according to la familia’s superstitions.
Begin by praying to San Expedito, the patron saint of good luck.
At some point during our formative years, we all heard an old wives’ tale or two, right? Some seemed innocent enough — think “eating bread crust will make your hair turn curly” or “cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.”
But actually, lots of these old wives’ tales came with some extra baggage that may have done a number on our collective psyche. Sure, they may have seemed harmless when we first heard them, they’ve managed to worm themselves into our thought patterns and maybe even created a few bad habits along the way. But don’t blame abuela, she too was passed down this knowledge before she passed it on to you.
These superstitions get passed down from generation to generation, and often enough they’re so effective they get snap us into total compliance. But few of us know why we’re so fearful or the reason behind them.
Nevertheless, these old wives tales are part of Latino culture.
Vick’s Vapor Rub Will Cure Everything
Sure, you may know it as Vaporub or something totally different depending on where you grew up, but no matter your background, we can agree this menthol pomade has been hailed as a cure all by abuelas everywhere.
Sure the ointment may make us feel better (placebo anyone?) but it actually can be deadly if ingested and is toxic when used improperly.
Having A Baby Daughter Will Steal Your Beauty
This sends several problematic messages. First of all, it implies there is something inherently wrong with having a daughter — which is obviously ridiculous. I swear this sounds like something a man who wanted a strapping young boy to “carry on his good name” started spreading.This old wives’ tale would have you believe beauty is entirely physical or superficial. But beauty is many things: mental, physical, emotional, psychological… none of which can be stripped away by the natural and, it must be said, beautiful act of giving birth to a baby.
You Can’t Make Tamales When You’re Angry
According to this old wives’ tale, if you even attempt to make tamales when you’re enojada…they just won’t turn out right. And nobody’s wants to work so hard on tamales for them to end up flat and flavorless.
Opening An Umbrella Inside Is The Worst Luck
Seriously, this one I believe in so much I freak out at even the thought of it happening by accident. This is another superstition that crosses cultures but leave it to Latinos to add in another layer – if you do this, you won’t get married.
Going Out With Wet Hair When It’s Cold Will Make You Sick
If you grew up in a Latino household, you can bet you’re used to hearing your mom or abuelita scolding you for going outside with wet hair. But this myth has been debunked more times than you’ll eat pozole when you do actually have a cold. Colds and the flu come from viruses (and some bacterias) – plain and simple.
You’ll Never Get Married If A Broom Touches Your Feet
Basically, if you’re single and ready to mingle, don’t go near any brooms. This old wives tale says that if someone is sweeping and they accidentally brush your feet with the broom, you’ll end up single forever.
To Find Love, All You Need Is Four Eggs
To draw someone to you, you need 4 eggs: break two in corners, and one more at the door of the person you want to attract. The last one put inside a white cup and place it under your bed. That’s it. True love.
Cutting Your Hair During A Full Moon Could Mean…?
It’s believed that cutting your hair during a full moon could actually make it grow faster. Is it true? Well, maybe. The long-trusted Farmers Almanac actually lists the best dates to cut your hair based on the lunar calendar…so maybe?
Shaving Your Legs Causes the Hair to Grow Back Darker
Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with not shaving. This old tale would have you believe that having thicker or darker hair anywhere on your body is cause for major concern. The reality is that cutting does not stimulate new hair growth.
Brooms Can Help Determine Your Social Life
Again, with the brooms. This one says that if you put a broom behind the door, your guests will leave sooner. And if a broom falls, it can tell you a lot about your visit depending on the direction it falls. Backward = bad visit. Forward = good visit.
Putting Your Purse On The Floor
“A purse on the floor is money our the door.” This isn’t specific to Latino families, in fact, it’s very common belief across Asia as well. But both cultures share the believe that if you place your purse on the floor, you’ll soon be losing some money.
Itchy Palms And Your Finances
This is another very common wives tale across cultures but Latinos add a unique twist and get very specific. Basically, if your right palm itches you’ll be coming into some coins. Meanwhile, if it’s the left – be prepared to be a little less wealthy since you’ll likely be giving money away.
Heartburn During Pregnancy Can Lead To A Head Full Of Hair
There are soooo many superstitions related to pregnancy but this one is definitely interesting. Woman struggle with all sorts of symptoms during pregnancy including heartburn. So this one stands to reason if you’re dealing with heartburn, your baby will be born with beautiful locks of hair.
If You Drop a Biscuit, It is a Sure Sign Your Husband Will Be Poor
This one is straight up laughable but for some reason is still all to common. I mean let’s dissect this one real quick: not all little girls are going to grow up to marry a man. Nor will every little girl even want to get married. Then there’s the whole issue with thinking that women only value wealth in their potential mate. Yea, this one has got to go.
Latino culture means wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve to guarantee a lover in the new year, or maybe yellow underwear to attract that dinero. Latinos have more than a few tricks and traditions that help secure a happy, successful, and prosperous new year. Most of us have been guilty of trying them, or at the very least we’ve watched our crazy tías go through with more than a few of these. Read along for some very strange New Years Ever superstitions that guarantee and happy and prosperous New Year.
Sweeping away ‘malas vibras’ to make the new year victorious.
Sweeping with the broom towards the door is a symbolic way of sweeping out the bad vibes of the past year. Expel those malas vibras and negativity and get the broom ready.
New red/yellow underwear for love and wealth.
Wearing brand new undies is a muston New Year’s Eve. If you wear red, the gods of new year’s superstitions will send a new lover your way. If you wear yellow, you’ll attract a lot of dinero and lots of work.
Open your doors and windows.
Make sure that when the new year hits, your doors and windows are all kept open. This is, both literally and figuratively, meant to open doors in your life and fill you with new and fresh opportunities in the year to come.
Walk out of the door with your right foot.
Credit: Lacey Raper / Unsplash
No, but really. People actually do this. Just as the clock strikes midnight, you have to walk out of your home and re-enter, right foot first. That way you’ll start the year on the right foot!
Dance around a tree.
Okay, this one sounds a little insane, but hey, they’re ancient superstitions. It’s believed that dancing around a tree during the transition from one year to the next, will bring good luck and prosperity.
Twelve grapes in your champagne.
This is a very Spanish tradition that many Latinos have inherited through generations. From Mexico to Portugal and so many other countries, it’s customary to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Each grape symbolizes a month of the year and the possibility of good things happening. Make a wish with every grape you eat and your year will be off to a good start.
Fridge and wallets full to the brim.
Fill up your wallet with cash, and stock up your fridge and pantry. If you start off the year with abundance, you’ll definitely end it that way, or so says the tradition, idk.
Put a gold ring in your champagne.
Putting a gold ring in your glass of champagne and letting it sit there while you toast and drink to the new year to come, is believed to attract money. Just make sure not to swallow it, salud!
Turning on all the lights at home.
Obviously, only do this for a few minutes. Like our parents, we’re not trying to rack up a huge electricity bill. Light up your house, making sure that no corner is left ‘in the dark’, this is meant to ensure a year of brightness and ‘light’.
Leave a suitcase by the door or walk it around the block.
If you do this your new year will be full of trips and travels. Who doesn’t want to set off on new adventures around the world next year?
Get up and down with each ‘campanada’.
Credit: Joshua Rawson-Harris / Unsplash
As soon as people start counting down the last ten seconds of the year, you’ll be getting up and down from your seat with every tick of the clock. Not only is this a little bit of a workout, this is meant to attract new, healthy relationships.
Write your wishes on a piece of paper.
Before the nochevieja dinner, you’re supposed to write down all of your wishes and goals for the new year in a little piece of paper. Then, during dinner, keep it close to you so that it absorbs your energy and when the time comes to ring in the New Year, burn the piece of paper with the conviction that everything you wrote on it will come true. You’re welcome.
Start the year at the beach.
Many people head to the beach to receive the new year in the ocean. It’s believed that if you go for a swim at midnight, all the bad vibes, bad juju, and negativity will get washed away and offered to the sea. This way you’ll start the new year with a clean slate.
Make lots of noise.
Credit: Much / Giphy
Some believe that if you greet the new year with a lot of noise and escandalo, the bad spirits and vibes will be scared off. So go scare that mal de ojo away this New Year’s Eve.