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Why Do We Throw Salt Over Our Shoulders for Good Luck?

Kristine David, Flickr

We all know the superstition about throwing salt over your shoulder for good luck when you knock some over, but do you how that tradition came to be?

Well, would you believe it was originally done to keep the devil away?

Salt is cheap and abundant now, but that wasn’t always the case. Salt used to be a rare and precious commodity, and in many ancient civilizations, it was used as a form of currency.

So, if you spilled a bit of salt, it was the same as throwing your money away and considered extremely bad luck. Only the devil looking over your shoulder, it was widely held, could induce you to such foolishness. Thus the custom of throwing a pinch of spilled salt over your left shoulder was born.

If you still believe in this tradition, what you’re really doing is blinding the devil with a dash of salt in his eyes to keep him from tricking you again. Think about that the next time you tip over the salt shaker and reach for a pinch of salt.

[Timeless Myths]

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