Superstitious beliefs about money from around the world

Anna Allgaier
06.12.22
3 minute read

*Oh hello, thanks for clicking on my article. While you’re scrolling through my piece looking for some fresh ways to bring some good money juju into your life, please bear in mind that this piece comes from my noggin and not Wise’s. Basically, if you don’t like something, I’m to blame. Cool, now that’s out of the way, ENJOY. *

Not sure if the rest of the world does this, but in the UK we were told at school that stepping on three drains is bad luck and that if you see a magpie on its own you have to salute it, or something awful will happen. And, at the ripe age of 28, I still do both of these things. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that if you tell me something will save me from bad luck, I’m going to do it.

Thankfully, I’m not crazy (no matter what you say) because it turns out the rest of the world jumps on the superstitious beliefs bandwagon too. So let’s hold hands, and walk into the realm of money superstitions from around the world.

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Money superstitions in China 🇨🇳

China is home to some pretty wonderful money traditions, like their red envelopes during the Chinese New Year period. But a lesser known tradition is that you have to keep your purse above your waist. No popping it on the floor for you. It’s considered bad Feng Shui and symbolises disrespect for the cash you carry in your bag. So by all means, go ahead and take a load off your arm, but things might not go to plan.

Money superstitions in Korea 🇰🇷

We love a bit of Korea. From K-pop to Bibimbap they’ve bought us a lot of joy. I’ll get to the money superstitions in a second, but let’s all take a moment to appreciate this bonus one:

In Korea their word “Seonpoonggi samangseol” mean “fan death”. Because they believe that if you sleep with a fan switched on, you shall perish. Moving on.

In Korean the word “don” means cash money, and the Chinese symbol for the same word translates to pig. And pigs are seen to be symbols of good luck and wealth. So if you want some extra pennies, get some more pig in your life.

Money superstitions in the Philippines 🇵🇭

You may think that cleaning your flat would be a good thing. THINK AGAIN.

Ok well not quite. But in the Philippines, it's considered bad luck to sweep your floors at night. Why would you be doing that anyway you weirdo? Watch Netflix instead like the rest of us.

Sweeping your floors in the evening supposedly sweeps all of your good luck and money out of the window. Oh dear.

Money superstitions in Turkey 🇹🇷

Got an itch? Good. In Turkey it’s believed that if you get an itch on your right hand you’ve got some money coming your way. What about your left hand you ask? No idea.

Money superstitions in the UK 🇬🇧

So, I’ve never heard this one before but if the internet deems it to be true, who am I to question it? Apparently if you stumble upon an eight-legged spider and catch it, you’ll come by wealth. Bonus points if you find it in your hair. To be honest, I’d rather be skint.

Money superstitions in Italy 🇮🇹

Not just pasta and pizza over here. No no no. When the New Year festivities kick off, Italians will nibble on lentils for dinner as they’re said to bring you luck and good fortune. I’d rather have lasagne.

Money superstitions in Japan 🇯🇵

Prepare to get very frustrated in a YouTube origami tutorial because you’re going to be making a little frog to put in your wallet.
A piece of paper probably won't bring you luck or wealth. But according to Japanese superstition, folding a piece of paper into an origami frog will. “Frog” in Japanese (Kaeru) has a dual meaning, the other being “to return.” So it’s thought that the presence of an origami frog next to your rogue receipts and coffee loyalty cards you always forget to use, will bring you returns on your money.

Money superstitions in Russia 🇷🇺

Got a catchy song in your head? Well my friend, you better not whistle that tune. Russians believe that a whistle a day keeps the money away. Not really. But they do think that if you whistle while in your home you’re kissing goodbye to your fortunes.

Money superstitions in France 🇫🇷

A French tradition dating back to the Middle Ages warns people to keep their bread the right way up when you put it on a table as it’ll attract bad luck and loss of fortune. No backwards baguettes or slanted Sourdoughs.

Into bread? Course you are. Fantasise about how much bread you could have afforded with £1,000 throughout the centuries here.

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