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Home » 7 Spilling Salt Superstitions: It’s Bad Luck Or Good Luck?

7 Spilling Salt Superstitions: It’s Bad Luck Or Good Luck?

7 Spilling Salt Superstitions: It's Bad Luck Or Good Luck?

You are at a friend’s house for dinner. You reach out for the salt shaker and knock it down, spilling salt all over. There is a slight gasp from your superstitious friend. She says it’s bad luck, while another friend remarks the opposite. So, you wonder, what are the good or bad superstitions around spilling salt?

In some cultures, spilling salt is considered bad luck.

You could have a tremendous bad fortune after that.

Another superstition is that you may have invited the devil into your lives after spilling some salt about.

A person who spills salt would also experience a big fight ending their friendship. Most people are advised to throw salt over their backs to reverse the possible bad luck.

What do you do when you spill salt?


To clean spilled salt, you can easily vacuum it off your dried floors. Otherwise, if the floor is wet, you can even spray a mixture of vinegar and water over the salt. Let the solution soak for about five minutes.

Mop it up afterward with a clean damp microfiber cloth.

This will prevent the wet salt from corroding your hardwood floor or tiles. Also, to reverse the possible bad luck stemming from it, throw some salt over your left shoulder.

7 Spilling salt superstitions you should know

Spilling salt superstition

Since time immemorial, mothers and grandmothers have passed superstitions to their children. Spilling salt is considered a bad omen by many. Here are some superstitions associated with it.

1) It’s considered bad luck

Spilling salt by accident is to bring bad luck to the person spilling it. He/she will have to face a small or huge misfortune in the future. Some are advised to reverse this as quickly as possible.

Throwing salt over one’s back is a way to do this.

2) An invitation for the devil

They say that Judas Iscariot had spilled salt during the last supper. It was a sign that the devil was around playing with his mind to betray Jesus.

So, they say that when salt is spilled on the floor, you invite the devil into your home.

To trick the devil, you must take some salt with your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder. This is said to blind the devil as they sit over the left shoulder.

3) Causes fights and broken friendships

A salt cellar is a big container of salt placed on the dining table. When you knock down a salt cellar, it is said that you will have a big fight. And this would lead to the end of a friendship.

4) Spilling salt over people’s food

This particular person works in reverse. When you salt a person’s food, they are said to receive bad luck. It is also the same while eating another person’s salt. You form a bond with them, which can go bad if ignored.

5) Salt over the right shoulder

We have heard about spilling salt over the left shoulder to ward off the devil. But what about the right shoulder?

Throwing or spilling salt over the right shoulder again is said to bring bad luck. So keep in mind to throw it over the correct shoulder, lest you double your bad luck.

6) A tear for every grain of spilled salt

Another superstition is that for every grain of salt spilled, you will shed that many tears.

Sounds pretty spooky, doesn’t it?

This may have been spread in ancient times when salt was used as a commodity. Grains of salt were exchanged for goods in place of money. So any salt spilled was equal to the loss of money in today’s time.

7) To ward off spirits

Salt is spilled by people in front of doorways or windows.

This is said to prevent any evil spirit or entity from entering the house.

Salt stops decay and is related to God, so it can stop any force that wants to destroy good things.It was also carried by sailors for good luck as it was thought to be immortal and incorruptible.

Is spilling salt bad luck?

Spilling salt and bad luck

The spilling of salt has had many interpretations over the world. In major parts of the world, it is said to be bad luck, even causing friendships to end.

There is an ancient German proverb encouraging it, “whoever spills salt arouses enmity.” This was because salt was seen as a symbol of friendship and trust.

Even among savages, the spilling of salt meant a refusal of hospitality and protection from strangers. They would be suspected to be murderers or thieves instead. Even when salt is spilled towards someone, it is implied that bad luck would befall that person.

Throwing it, on the other hand, brings good luck. It is also auspicious in many religious ceremonies.

  • Ancient Greeks and Romans used salt offerings to invoke their Gods.
  • Salt is used as a sacred item in many Hindu weddings and house-warming ceremonies.
  • People of Shinto use salt to purify locations and people in their rituals.

Even modern religions like Wicca use salt to cleanse harmful energy.

What does it mean when you drop a fork?


Well, usually dropping a fork means you have to get a clean one. But jokes aside, there are a few superstitions surrounding this too. There are also different theories based on where the fork fell and in what condition.

How was the fork when it fell?

It was a pretty common fact that a falling fork meant a negative woman would be visiting soon. But depending on the fork, you can also tell what their intention would be.

  • A clean fork meant that the guest would not be in much trouble. They would come, carry out their visit and leave without a hassle.
  • The falling of a dirty fork was seen as incoming trouble. The lady guest was said to be coming over to spread gossip about you. It was a warning for you to stay away from them.
  • An aluminum fork meant that the lady would ask for credit. But, this credit will not be returned soon.
  • A fallen stainless steel fork signified that the lady guest would come in empty-handed. No harm there.

Let’s continue.

When did the fork fall?

Even the location of the fallen fork has given rise to more superstitions! Also, what was being done while the fork fell? Were you cleaning it, setting the table, or eating? It’s a bad omen when a fork falls on the floor.

If the fork fell while doing chores like washing the dishes, it meant that an uninvited guest would pop in.

As forks have sharp teeth, the guest would probably be envious. Other scandalous possibilities included a person with bad intentions against you or the mistress of your spouse or loved one. It could also mean a random brawler.

If a fork was dropped at work, say by a waiter, dishwasher, or maid, it meant a job loss was forthcoming, albeit not a peaceful one, but a crude dismissal following a disagreement with superiors.

Another superstition of dropping forks while setting the table is the visit of an untrustworthy woman. The lady was said to be coming to spread rumors about you. Or even entice your spouse away.

If you drop a fork during a meal, small troubles, unpleasant events, or enmity will befall you.

It indicated that an unhappy period of your life would begin shortly.

What does it mean when you drop a spoon?


Dropping cutlery has had many superstitions surrounding them for a long now; especially dropping spoons while eating, cleaning, or setting the table.

A child was expected to visit whenever a person dropped a spoon by accident. It could also symbolize that someone in the family was going to have a baby.

Another omen, similar to dropping a fork, was that a woman would come to visit. The size of a spoon also created different superstitions. The dropping of a large spoon meant that a large family would pay a visit to the house.

A smaller spoon meant that a single person or a smaller family or couple would drop by as a surprise.

If you dropped a tablespoon, you would probably go out looking for a baby or a woman that day.

  • A negative superstition was that a dropped spoon brought disappointment or sadness.
  • A funny superstition that is believed is – if you drop a spoon into a jar of pickles while making them, you will become a sour old person.

So be careful while unloading the dishwasher or doing the dishes next time!

There are other food superstitions I should know?

Bread superstition

Food superstitions are some of the most common ones you will find floating around. Some are interesting, while others are plain silly! Did you know that garlic is said to ward off the evil eye? Let’s check out some more of them:


It is always advised to cut a cross into the loaf top before baking it. The superstition goes that the devil will otherwise sit on the loaf, spoiling it. Also, if you spot a large air bubble or hole in your loaf after cutting it, a person would die soon. The hole symbolized a coffin.


A funny superstition about tea is that if you want to get married, always put your sugar in before you pour milk.

Also, if you want to know if someone is in love with you, check for undissolved sugar at the bottom! Spilled tea means that you will have a visit from a stranger.


We all know that gifting parsley brings bad luck to the person receiving it. But did you also know that planting parsley seeds can help get a woman pregnant? Also, if that plant ends up thriving, it means that the husband was weak.


Do you want to know how many children you will have? Simply cut an apple and count the number of seeds present. Jewish people dip apples in honey during Rosh Hashanah or the New Year. This symbolized new hopes for the sweet year to come.


Want to know which month is going to be good or bad this New Year? You can try out this tradition based on a South American superstition.

At the stroke of midnight, eat 12 grapes, one at a time. Each grape is for one month of the coming year. If the grape is sweet, it would be a good month and bad if it were a sour grape.


Planning a cruise or voyage in the sea? Don’t take bananas with you. They are said to bring bad luck at sea.

Sailors believed that they would not get a good catch or, worse, get lost at sea if they brought along bananas. Also, it said to always break bananas into smaller pieces and never cut them as they bring bad luck.


Breaking an egg open and finding two yolks meant that someone would have twin babies or even get married soon.

Another haunting superstition related to eggs – Always crack the eggshells after breaking an egg. Not doing so will cause a witch to collect the pieces, set sail, and bring terrible typhoons in the seas! Farmers, too, break and scatter broken eggs over their fields for a rich harvest. This is because eggs also symbolize fertility.


Next time you order some noodles at your favorite Southeast Asian restaurant, always slurp them whole!

Noodles are a symbol of long life in China.

So breaking them would mean you are cutting short your life. You can also remember this the next time you cook up some hot ramen for yourself.

Final words

Like all old wives’ tales, spilling salt has many superstitions tagging with it. Most of them symbolize bad luck. But there are also many remedies to counter the misfortune.

As we can see, not just salt, dropping, spilling, or cutting practically any food item has a superstition associated with it – both good and bad. It is up to us to decide how seriously we want to take it.

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