When thinking about common Latino superstitions, it’s impossible not to recall the iconic señora saying: “Never put your purse on the floor.” But where did this ingrained fear even come from?

If you’re Hispanic, your mom has probably warned you against ever letting your purse even kiss the floor. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home, or in a changing room with no nearby bag hangers (the worst).

Your mom, abuela, or other family member might have once told you that “money runs away” when you put your purse or wallet on the floor. Others may have just told you that you may become poor if you do so.

Moreover, TikTok user @electrasoul444 cited how her Ecuadorian mom once told her “the devil would kiss” her purse if left on the floor. And take all her money.

Many of us have heard this superstition from our families, or might just follow the unspoken rule without knowing why. Curious, we got down to the bottom of the myth and its fascinating history.

The “purse on the floor” superstition actually comes from a Chinese proverb

Interestingly, the superstition about never putting your purse on the ground might have originated from a Chinese proverb.

As per the Chicago Tribune, there is an old Chinese proverb that states, “A purse on the floor is money out the door.” By this, it warned people never to let their money touch the ground because it brought bad luck.

Meanwhile, Essence explains that the “purse on the floor” myth comes from the Chinese practice of Feng Shui. This practice takes knowledge of energy to balance a person’s environment and arrange their space. And yes, it is greatly associated with good luck and prosperity.


I still believe that putting your purse on the floor makes you lose money. How about you? 🤔 Yo todavía creo que si tú pones tu cartera en el piso se te va todo el dinero. Y tu? 🤔 Featuring: @brandonblackwoodnyc #latinamomsbelike #latina #latinagirl #latinapower #latinasbelike #latinawoman #latinawomen #hispanic #hispanicsbelike #latinaproblems #hispanicproblems #latinainfluencer #hispanicheritage #_jennifermaria

♬ original sound – _jennifermaria

TikTok user @_jennifermaria poked fun at the common myth in a hilarious video where she imitates her mom. She titled the skit, “When you put your Latina mom’s purse on the floor.”

In the video, the TikToker imitates her mom asking her, “Girl, grab my purse so I can look for my shoes.” When the daughter is about to lay the bag on the floor, the mom goes into shock— and proceeds to rescue her purse like a newborn baby.

“Girl, I told you to grab the purse, don’t put it on the floor, coño,” she yells. “All my money is going to leave.”

The comedian wrote in the caption, “I still believe that putting your purse on the floor makes you lose money.”

Meanwhile, fellow TikTok user @es_jenny_solares also joked about the myth by imitating her “Hispanic mom”: “Don’t put your purse on the floor, you’re going to lose all of your money!”

Any similarity to actual persons or events is unintentional. Another notable mention? “Your hand is itchy? Put it in your pocket; you’re going to receive money!”

Did the purse superstition come with Chinese migration to Latin America?

If the “never put your purse on the floor” superstition comes from China, then it might have arrived to Latin America through Chinese migration.

In fact, as per the Council on Foreign Relations, China first started its relationship with Mexico back in the sixteenth century. The Manila Galleon route allowed the countries to trade silk and spices.

However, centuries later, the relationship would take a dark turn. By the 1840s, “hundreds of thousands” of Chinese immigrants were forced into labor in Latin America as indentured servants. According to Salem State University, the Portuguese and British began trafficking people from Asia to the Americas.

As slaves, the immigrants became known as “coolies,” working in Cuba’s sugar plantations, Peru’s guano pits and silver mines and more.

As per Michele C. Dávila Gonçalves of the Salem State University’s Department of Foreign Languages, Chinese laborers helped build the United States’ first Transcontinental Railroad. Eventually, many Chinese people who were already in the U.S. chose to settle in Mexicali, Mexico. This may have responded to the U.S.’s anti-Chinese laws back then.

Meanwhile, after slavery was abolished in many Latino countries, much of the Chinese population went on to open businesses and settle in other places.

As per JSTOR Daily, immigration from countries like China, Japan, and India had a lasting impact on Latin America.

For example, Cuba’s “trompeta china” or “corneta china” is a wind instrument that originates from the Chinese suona. Meanwhile, Mexico’s “China poblana” style of traditional dress may come from Catarina de San Juan, a slave from India who was taken to Puebla in the 1600s. Many more examples abound.

So, the superstition about not putting your purse on the floor might just be another effect of Chinese history in Latin America as well.