• Holidays and Traditions
  • Supernatural and the Occult
  • Word and Phrase Origins
  • Superstitions

What is the origin of spilling salt superstition?

Top Answer
User Avatar
Wiki User
Answered 2014-07-17 19:43:42

Lots of superstitious people, when they spill salt, will take a pinch of it in their right hand and throw it backwards over their left shoulder.

Superstition has it that, at all times, a devil waits over your left shoulder, and also that spilling salt is bad luck (perhaps because it used to be rare and precious). Hence, you can mitigate your bad luck by throwing salt into the eyes of the devil. There's also a belief that your guardian angel (who can be found over your right shoulder) spills salt to warn you of evil nearby. Either you throw the salt to hurt the devil or, as salt was valuable, as an offering to placate him.

Like lots of other superstitions in a Christianized culture, it has a Christianized explanation: spilling salt is bad luck, because Judas spilled salt at the Last Supper. This is somewhat equivalent to the Christianized explanation for not sitting down thirteen at the table, and almost certainly a red herring.

User Avatar

Your Answer


Still have questions?

Related Questions

Is it bad luck when you throw salt over your shoulder?

Of course not. It's all superstition. In fact, according to the superstition, throwing salt over your shoulder counteracts other things that bring bad luck supposedly, like breaking a mirror or spilling salt.

What is the origin of salt over shoulder superstition?

It is believed the "devil" stands over the left shoulder of a person. As salt was once considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity, spilling it is thought of as wasteful and a means to tempt the "devil" into taking it from you. Throwing salt over your left shoulder is supposed to "blind the devil" into not seeing the opportunity to reduce your material wealth.

What is the origin of superstition?


Salt over the shoulder?

The superstition of Throwing salt over your left shoulder after spilling some applies to, apparently a devil is sitting on your left shoulder, and the force of the tiny salt particles knocks him off and he lands in a little heap on the floor. Then you should stamp on him. Do not throw it over your right shoulder as this is where your guardian angel is supposed to sit. This superstition is believed to come from the middle ages.

Which shoulder do you throw salt after spilling it?


Why do you have to throw salt after spilling it and what would happen if you did not?

To throw salt over your shoulder has the same meaning as to say: " Bless You " after somebody has sneezed to ward off the evil spirits. Why...? because when somebody spills a salt (salt used to be considered highly valued commodity thus to waste salt was seen almost like a blasphemy) he/she is vulnerable to devil's machinations. :-))) superstition.... or???? :-)))

What is the origin of the acorn superstition?

There is a superstition that carrying an acorn can give you long life, which started with the Druids.

What shoulder do you throw salt after spilling it?

the left shoulder

What is the origin of throwing salt over your shoulder?

The superstition of throwing salt over your (left) shoulder came about because people once believed the Devil stood behind your left shoulder waiting for you to make a mistake or to influence you into making a mistake. Spilling salt, which was once used as part of a Roman soldier's salary and hence as money was believed to not only be wasteful, but bad luck. Throwing some of the spilled salt over your left shoulder would be throwing it into the Devil's eyes, thus blinding him to your mistake.

If one is superstitious over which shoulder should one throw salt after spilling salt?

your left shoulder

Why is passing salt bad luck?

Passing salt was not bad luck. Spilling salt was bad luck because in Roman days, salt was very expensive.

When spilling salt what shoulder do you throw salt over?

It is believed the devil stands over your left shoulder and spilling salt is supposed to bring his attention to your "wastefulness" bringing bad luck. If this happens, you are instructed to throw the salt over your LEFT shoulder and "hopefully" into the devil's eyes, thus blinding him to your mistake.

What is superstitions scientific explanation?

Many skeptic scientists simply believe that superstitions are just fear through folklore. Psychology has studied the effects of superstitions and have discovered that if the belief in the superstition is strong enough the person can suffer the effects of the result of that superstition. The explanation of the superstition is easier explained on a case by case basis. I would consider asking about a specific superstition. It seems with many superstitions they derived from an action / reaction scenario. For example: A person spilled some salt and may have had an accident and blamed the spilling of salt on the accident. The next time they spilled the salt they threw some over their shoulder and didn't have an accident that day. Thus a superstition is born. Sports athletes often have a very strong and varied form of superstitions such as never washing their socks, or a pregame ritual that they do, thinking that it will help them win.

Superstitions in the middle ages?

they had the Typical superstitions black cat, spilling salt etc.

What is the truth about throwing salt over your left shoulder?

Nothing its a stupid superstition

What are some Superstitions from the middle ages?

Some superstitions of the middle ages include: Devils, demons Being Possessed Faires, spirits Werewolves Witches Spilling Salt = Bad Luck The reason behind the salt one was that in the Middle Ages, salt was very expensive and was to be treated with utmost care. Therefore, spilling salt was considered bad luck.

What are Elizabethan beliefs about good and evil?

Superstition 1) People believed that if you sneezed, 'the Devil' would enter your body through your mouth. Of course, this caused people to be absolutely TERRIFIED! But then, a solution was thought of. The Elizabethan people thought that if you said 'God Bless You' after you sneezed, God's power would ward of the Devil! Superstition 2) An eclipse in the night was seen as an omen of evil by Elizabethan people. Superstition 3) It was thought to be extremely bad luck if a black cat crossed your path. A cat which was black was thought to be associated with a witch. SUPERSTITIONS SUMMARY Certain boys were thought to have powers. Walking beneath ladders was bad luck. Touching wood was good luck. Shoes on tables were bad luck. Spilling salt and pepper was bad luck. Superstition 4) The seventh son of a seventh son was thought to have supernatural and mystical powers. Superstition 5) Touching wood was thought to protect you from bad luck and evil. Superstition 6) Walking under a ladder was thought to be bad luck, as they are related to Elizabethan executions. Superstition 7) Putting shoes on a table was thought to give you extremely bad luck, it was thought that you were opening yourself to death. Superstition 8) Salt and pepper were very expensive in the Elizabethan era, so spilling them was seen as bad luck.

How many years of bad luck do you get for spilling salt?

Your bad luck will last probably until you throw a pinch of salt over your left shoulder.

If one is superstition what shoulder should one throw salt?

over the left shoulder

Who created the superstition that is- a white butterfly crosses you path it means good luck?

Determining the source of a certain superstition is very often difficult. Often these superstitions are ancient and of unknown origin.

What is the origin or source of Lycra?


Why is spilling salt a bad luck?

Not that long ago, salt was expensive, and of course accidentally wasting something valuable would have been unlucky. Same went for mirrors.

Example of superstitious beliefs and explain the basis for it?

An example of a superstitious belief is that spilling salt is bad luck. It originated because both spilling things and bad luck are fairly ordinary events and it is difficult to disprove the correlation.

Why is it bad luck to spill salt?

The widespread superstition that spilling salt brings bad luck is believed to have originated with the overturned salt cellar in front of Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper, an incident immortalized in Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting. According to an old Norwegian superstition, a person will shed as many tears as will be necessary to dissolve the salt spilled. An old English belief has it that every grain of salt spilled represents future tears. The Germans believe that whoever spills salt arouses enmity, because it is thought to be the direct act of the devil, the peace disturber. The French throw a little spilled salt behind them in order to hit the devil in the eye, to temporarily prevent further mischief. In the United States, some people not only toss a pinch of spilled salt over the left shoulder, but crawl under the table and come out the opposite side.

What are the origin of salt-fish?