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Turkish Superstitions

Ken Grubb
  • Superstitions? Even the most rational of us might have one or two. Here's a collection of Turkish superstitions we have collected over the last 15 years or so.

A Nazar Boncuğu, which is a talisman meant to ward off the evil eye, a superstion in Turkey.

Every culture has its myths and superstitions. And many are quite amusing! These are superstitions from all over Turkey. Hey, all of us occasionally do or say something, "just for good luck." When's the last time you knocked on wood?


  • A rabbit passing in front of one's car is a bad omen.
  • An owl singing atop a house brings death to the house.
  • Crows flying around one's house is bad luck.
  • If a bird's excrement falls on one's head, it is good luck.
  • If one sees a flying stork, they will travel. If one sees a sitting stork, they will stay at home.
  • A black cat crossing one's path brings bad luck.
  • Seeing a black cat brings bad luck.
  • If a cat looks toward Mecca and scratches its head with its front paw, it will rain.
  • If a dog howls during the ezan (call to prayer), someone in the neighborhood will die.
  • If a bird pecks at the window of a house, news will come. 
  • If bread or sugar is placed in a wound, then given to a dog before the morning call to prayer, the wound will heal.
  • If one sees a snake on their way somewhere, they will have good luck.

Birth, Babies, and Children

  • One should not visit a woman, who has just given birth, at night.
  • A newborn baby should not be washed on Friday.
  • If a baby is kissed on the bottoms of their feet, they will walk early. If kissed on the lips, they will speak early.
  • If a baby looks between their legs, someone will come home.
  • If a baby clenches their fist, they will be stingy.
  • Placing a pencil in the hand of a newborn child will insure they are happy and successful at school.
  • Blowing into the mouth of a newborn baby will ensure the baby grows up with a cordial personality.
  • If a child plays with fire, they will wet their bed.
  • A child should not be left alone. But if one must, a broom should be placed next to the child.
  • A Nazar Boncuğu (pictured above right) attached to a child will protect them from the evil eye.
  • One should not jump over a child, or the child will be short.
  • If one measures a baby's height, the baby will be short.
  • A child's clothes should not be left outside after sunset, or the child will become bewitched by evil spirits.
  • When a boy gets his first haircut, if the father should put the hair into his pocket, so the boy will prosper.
  • A boy who drinks coffee will not grow facial hair.
  • If a woman eats eggs during her pregnancy, her child will be naughty.

Business and Prosperity

  • The first money of the day received from a customer should be dropped to the floor of the shop, so, like a seed being planted, it will grow into more money.
  • If one's left eye twitches, wealth will come. If one's right eye twitches, they will be healthy.
  • If one's left palm itches, they will receive money. If their right palm itches, they will spend money.
  • A woman should not pass in front of a man going to work, otherwise his business will not go well.

Eating and Food

  • Drinking a cow's milk after dark will cause the cow to be unable to produce any more milk.
  • One should not eat a meal with one foot placed atop the other, since it is a sign of famine, and brings disrespect to the table.
  • Bread should never be thrown away as waste or thrown on the ground, it should be eaten or set out for the birds.

House, Household and Hospitality

  • A broken mirror brings bad luck to a house for seven years. It can also mean that someone in the house will die. To prevent this, all pieces of the mirror should be buried immediately.
  • One should not look into a mirror at night.
  • Laundry should not be done on Tuesdays or Saturdays, because this will bring bad luck.
  • One should not sweep one's house at night, because this will bring poverty.
  • If someone in the neighborhood dies, water should be poured out of any vessel containing it.
  • One should not sit on the threshold of a house, or they will bring bad luck to themselves.
  • One should enter one's home, one's place of work, or a room with the right foot, to bring good luck.
  • Boiling water for no reason brings bad luck.
  • Scissors should be kept closed, otherwise there will be fighting in the house.
  • Placing shoes or slippers upside down will cause someone in the house to die.
  • Speaking while on the toilet brings bad luck.
  • If wood burning in a stove makes a noise, then someone is gossiping about the resident.
  • Throwing water on the ground behind a departing guest will insure their return.


  • An abundant harvest of quince means the coming winter will be long and cold.
  • An abundance of cones on pine trees mean the winter will be long and cold.
  • One should not count the stars.

Personal Behavior

  • One should always get out of bed on the right side, so the day will start well.
  • One should not put on trousers while standing, since it is a sign of poverty.
  • Hair in a comb should not be thrown in the street, since it may entangle the feet of a chicken, and cause one to have a headache.
  • A red dress should never be worn when lightning is flashing.
  • Knocking three times on wood wards off bad luck.
  • After a marriage ceremony, when the groom enters a room for the first time, a glass should be broken.
  • If one raises their right foot while taking an oath, the oath will be considered invalid.
  • Whatever one says forty times will happen.
  • If one refers to another as a pig, they will lose their appetite for forty days.
  • Walking under a ladder brings bad luck.
  • If one finds a four-leaf clover, they will have good luck.
  • One should not cut their fingernails and toenails at the same time, or something good, as well as something bad, will happen to them.
  • One should not cut one's nails at night, because it will shorten their life.
  • Fingernails and toenails should not be dropped on the ground, or stepped on.
  • One should not pass a sharp instrument or scissors directly to someone. Instead, they should set it down for the other person to pick up, or they will fight.
  • If a young girl wears a married man's ring, she will have bad luck in her marriage.
  • May 13th is an unlucky day, so it is better to stay home and do nothing.
  • One should not chew gum at night, since it is the same as eating a the flesh of a dead body.
  • Cracking one's knuckles is the same as counting prayer beads to Satan.
  • If one plays with their foot at night, their mother or father will die.
  • One should not look at their fingernails while a deceased person's body is being carried to the cemetery.
  • One should not point at a graveyard. If one does, they should bite the finger and put it under their foot.
  • One should not whistle at night, since this will attract the devil.
  • One should not pass in front of a wedding car.
  • If a prisoner wears the ring of a dead person, they will be released from prison soon.
  • A man who passes between two women will not be able to make his wife obey him.
  • If a woman with a headache enters a mosque and sweeps it with her scarf, her headache will go away.
  • If one lights a cigarette with a candle, a sailor will die at sea.

Sleeping and Dreams

  • If one sleeps while stretched out on a bed, they will earn a lot of money. If one sleeps with their arms and legs held closely together, they will not earn much money.
  • Seeing a minaret in a dream brings good luck.
  • Seeing eggs in a dream brings harsh words and gossip.
  • If a woman sees a penis in a dream, one of her relatives will die.
  • One who sees human excrement in a dream will receive money.
  • One who sees a girl child in a dream will receive bad news.
  • One who sees a boy child in a dream will receive good news.
  • One who holds gold in their hand in a dream will earn money.
  • One who sees a white horse in a dream will accomplish their desire.


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