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Do You Throw Salt Over Your Shoulder?

My best friend does it. Her mom does it. I see strangers do it at restaurants, and now I do it too. Whenever a salt shaker falls over and spills, they stand it back up, pick up a pinch of salt, and throw it over their shoulder.

It's one of those obscure superstitions that have been passed down, such as knocking on wood, or not opening an umbrella inside, that we can't help but do. I'm sure many of you are salt throwers too, but do you know where this originated?

To find out

It goes back to biblical times when salt was a treasured commodity since it was necessary to use when preserving food. It was even used instead of money. Spilling this prized obsession was almost considered a sac-religious offense, so if you spilled some, throwing salt over your shoulder was aimed to "keep the devil at bay," (just like when you say "bless you" after someone sneezes).

Some people think the salt blinds the devil so he can't see your salt spill mess, or to keep him from sneaking up on you while you're cleaning it up. In order to follow through on this superstition correctly, you must throw the salt over your left shoulder (the "sinister" side) with your right hand (the "good" side).

The people I know who do this (myself included) just do it for good luck. Are there any other things you do for good luck, or maybe to prevent bad luck from happening? Do you even believe in luck? I'm curious to know.


Join The Conversation
Jeng112 Jeng112 9 years
SassAndBide SassAndBide 9 years
what a waste of salt lol rachel ray always does it and she irks me :sick:
Maria-M Maria-M 9 years
Yep, I do it too ^and I always knock on wood
prinzes3006 prinzes3006 9 years
I always knock on wood :)
mizz_jennii mizz_jennii 9 years
I'm not superstitious at all. I "knock on wood" every once 'n' a while, but other than that, it's just silly.
jnnfrcyl jnnfrcyl 9 years
omg thanks for posting this.. My family and I were out to Iron Hill and my cousin knocked over the salt shaker. The waitress came by and did the salt over the shoulder thing, and neither of us had any idea what she was doing. We figured it was a weird superstition.. But I have to admit, we wanted to "accidentally" knock the salt shaker over again.
liltappa liltappa 9 years
oh lord- my mother comes from alabama so we are full of superstitions. throwing salt, knocking on wood (or your head when wood is unavailable), not walking under a ladder (though its actually good luck for me), spitting after crossing the path of a black cat (or walking/driving reverse over the spot again), never buying green lighters (they are bad luck to buy.. VERY good luck if you are given one), don't sing at the dinner table (or you will marry a crazy man)... the whole shebang. There is never a dull moment with my mother and I!
Pir8Liz Pir8Liz 9 years
Silly thing. Don't believe in black cats, walking under ladders, but I've knocked on wood since I was in fifth grade and still throw salt, though over which shoulder, I don't know.
aistea311 aistea311 9 years
i know this may sound weird, but whenever i cook or make a plate I take a pinch of salt and drop it in the sink. I dont know why but when I dont the food doesnt taste as good.
yoan190 yoan190 9 years
Only do say "Gesundheit!" when someone sneezed.
reese05 reese05 9 years
I don't know about this superstition but I knock on wood..
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
No, I don't do it, but I should...'cuz I broke my hand mirror not too long ago and now I'm freaking out! 8 years of bad luck!!! :(
tati33 tati33 9 years
I knock on wood but don't do the salt thing..oh well..
Swp2885 Swp2885 9 years
I always do the salt over shoulder i knew the origin but i'm just superstisious like that I also knock on wood and don't open umbrellas inside and dont put shoes on the table ever... not only is it bad manners it's bad luck too
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
I do it, but i have to say that i never knew which shoulder it was (let alone which hand) so i always threw it over both shoulders just to be safe. I also knock on wood.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I knock on wood but that's about it.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
i always do it! haha
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
No, but I knock on wood.
Hootie Hootie 9 years
I always do! I know it's silly!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Yea, i do it sometimes...
Marci Marci 9 years
Gee, I'd forgotten all about the salt over the shoulder thing. But I do knock wood by knocking on my head.
millarci millarci 9 years
I always knocked on wood. I've been doing it for a long time. I blame my mother. LOL! just kidding! ;)
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