I’ve compiled a list of 15 left handed superstitions, myths and tales of folklore that show the stigmas associated with being left handed in times gone by.
I say times gone by, but in a recent 2019 study, over a third of the people surveyed still identified as being at least somewhat superstitious!
For example, do you know what it means when your left palm itches? You’ll find out below, but if it’s itching right now you might want to hide your wallet! Just saying…
For the most part, there are very few positive myths associated with the left hand.
The overwhelming majority of left handed superstitions involve some general theme of bad luck and evil, devil-worshipping madness.
This can clearly be seen in the hundreds of superstitions recorded in the 1907 book ‘Superstition and Education‘ by Fletcher Bascom Dresslar.
Of the entries that mentioned the left or right side of the body, 75% suggested that the left side was unlucky, whereas a paltry 15% described bad luck related to the right side.
So if you’re left handed I hope you aren’t too superstitious!
Left Handed Superstitions & Myths
1. Spilling Salt
In Roman times salt was a very valuable commodity and therefore it was seen as extremely bad luck to spill some.
People believed that evil spirits (or even the Devil himself!) would skulk behind your left shoulder, and spilling the salts would incur an attack from these demons.
The left side of the body was believed to be the weaker and more evil side.
This is why if you spill salt you should quickly throw some over the left shoulder – to appease the Devil and prevent the attack!
2. Itchy Palms
Is your left hand itching?
Unfortunately, this means you are about to lose some money.
Whereas if the itch is on your right hand you will be about to come into cash or receive some other good news.
Although! This apparently varies depending on whether you’re a man or a woman. If you are female then the idea is reversed, i.e. the left hand is lucky and the right hand is unlucky.
Who said superstitions were straightforward?!
Check out the quick video below for more info.
3. Ringing Ears
You’ve probably heard of the phrase ‘my ears are burning’, but do you ever experience a ringing in your ears?
The belief here is that if your right ear is burning then someone is talking about you in a positive light.
Whereas a ringing left ear indicates that you are being spoken about in a negative way.
Of course, it could just be tinnitus, in which case you should probably go see your doctor!
4. Passing and Pouring Drinks
Many cultures believe that it is bad luck to pass a drink to someone with your left hand.
Likewise, pouring a drink with your left hand is ill-advised as this is also said to be a bad omen!
5. Giving a Toast
Staying on the subject of drinking – giving a toast with your left hand is the same as placing a curse or even wishing death on the person you are toasting!
In a similar vein, toasting with anything other than wine is also believed to have the same effect.
So if you really wanted to screw someone over, you could toast them using a glass of water held in your left hand!
In the profession of dressmaking, it is considered bad luck to attach the left sleeve before sewing on the right one.
7. Getting Out Of Bed
You’ve heard of the expression ‘waking up on the wrong side of the bed’, right?
Your friends and family will probably use it to hint that you’re looking tired or acting grumpy.
Many people believe that getting out of bed left foot first will result in you having a bad day!
An interesting factoid I came across while researching this superstition was that some hotels position their beds so that you are forced to get out on the right side!
This wives tale is thought to have originated from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the left side was evil.
They maintained that you would be possessed by malevolent spirits if you woke up on the left hand side of the bed.
However, to complicate matters, Chinese Feng Shui gurus actually believe the opposite. That is, it is lucky to get out of bed on the left side!
8. Eye Twitching
This left handed superstition is believed to have originated in Trinidad. I found quite a few different interpretations, all of which I have listed below.
- When your left eye twitches you are going to receive bad luck. A twitching right eye means good luck is coming your way.
- Similar to the ringing ears superstition above… If your left eye twitches someone is talking ill of you. Twitching in the right eye means someone is saying good things about you.
- A twinge in your right eye predicts you are about to meet someone you haven’t seen in a long time.
- If your left eye twitches then a family member or friend might be in danger.
Here’s a fantastic trick I read about regarding number two above. If you can think of the person who is currently talking badly of you, your eye will stop twitching!
How do they come up with these things?!
The Devil has been associated with the left handed for thousands of years.
In 1431 Joan of Arc was found guilty of being a witch and burned at the stake. Depictions show her as being left handed in order to make her appear eviler!
You can read more about this in my article – Are Left-Handed People Evil?
10. Wedding Rings
Ever wondered why a wedding ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand?
This is because the Romans and Ancient Greeks believed that the vein in this finger ran directly to the heart – the vein of love.
Although this is obviously untrue, this romantic belief became a tradition that has stood the test of time.
This is not the case with Orthodox Christians, however, who wear the wedding band on their right hand as their beliefs associate the left side with evil.
Conversely, in other religions, people who also believe that the left side is evil will wear the ring on their left hand to help ward off the evil spirits.
11. Itchy Feet
Itchy feet indicate that you are about to travel or go on a journey. Depending on which foot itches, the superstition can change in meaning.
If your right foot is itching then it means you are definitely about to travel, and that your journey will probably involve some planning.
If the itch is on the sole of the right foot then this additionally means that the voyage will be lucrative.
As you will probably be able to deduce by now, an itchy left foot isn’t so positive! Unfortunately, this means that your journey is probably not going to be a pleasant one.
And even worse, if the itch is on your left sole, you will probably experience some loss while traveling!
12. Birds Singing
At the beginning of a new year, if you hear a cuckoo singing in your right ear then you will have a lucky year.
If you hear it on your left, well, you get the idea by now…
13. A Lump Of Coal
In Spring, if you dig up a lump of coal from underneath your left foot then you will have good luck that year.
14. Spiritual Powers
Indigenous tribes from the Andes believed that left handed people possessed spiritual powers, such as magic and healing.
15. Male vs Female
In ancient imagery, the left hand would generally symbolize ‘female’, while the right hand would symbolize ‘male’.
Well, that’s it, folks.
Apparently for the most part we lefties are all evil, devil-worshipping witches with the ability to curse someone just by looking at them funny.
No wonder some folks are scared of left-handed people.
Hope you’re not too superstitious!
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