Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Wacky Birthday Superstitions


More Wacky Birthday Superstitions

Eating a doughnut on your birthday and getting good luck from it doesn’t sound like such a bad deal.
Eating a doughnut on your birthday and getting good luck from it doesn’t sound like such a bad deal.
Zoonar RF/Zoonar/Thinkstock

5: Starting Over

In some extremely lucky cultures, people are given the opportunity to become a kid again when they reach a certain age. When a man reaches the age of 61 in Japan, he enters his kanreki, or second childhood. He must wear a red hat and red vest to symbolize his return to childhood. From this point on, all his troubles are forgotten, and he is given the gift of a clean slate, or a rebirth of sorts. In Korea, this tradition occurs when you reach the age of 60. On that special birthday, people can return to the year they were born and essentially start anew.

4: Ear Pulling

Like the Americans and their tradition of birthday spankings, the Italians have a bizarre custom for celebrating a birthday by tugging on the ear lobe. The superstition stems from the idea that long ears are seen as a symbol that you will live a long life. To increase the length of the earlobes, at least symbolically, you should give your earlobe a slight tug for each year of life. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member to help with the tradition. Performing this ritual is said to bring good luck in life and in the year to come [source: Malossini].

3: Death and Marriage

A birthday might be a perfect day for cake, presents and a party, but there are some things you simply shouldn't do on your big day, at least according to superstition. For example, getting married on your birthday is a definite don't, thought to bring bad luck in love. While you're at it, avoid marrying anyone whose birthday is in the same month as yours, as it's sure to mean a stormy marriage. Luckily — maybe — your birthday is seen as an excellent time to die. Sure, you're dead, but dying on your birthday means your salvation is practically guaranteed, if that's any comfort.

2: Food Fables

Various cultures believe that noshing on certain foods on your birthday can bring luck, while others list certain foods you should avoid as you celebrate. In China, snacking on vermicelli brings good vibes, as does a nice meal of primroses. A cake shaped like a peach is also seen as a lucky symbol, while people in India believe it's bad luck to consume salt on your big day [source: Daniels]. The Pennsylvania Germans may have the most delicious rule regarding birthday cuisine; tradition requires you to eat a doughnut for luck on your birthday, which guarantees you will live another year.

1: Predicting Personality

Some superstitions claim that your personality can be determined solely by the day you were born. If you buy into this legend, you'll agree that being born on a Monday gives you good looks, while a Tuesday birth leaves you "full of grace." Other days of the week come with more negative qualities, such as woe, or a long way to go. It's likely that this superstition has Christian origins, since it saves the very best qualities for the child who enters the world on a Sunday [source: Webster]. Of course, there's absolutely no evidence that the day you're born has any impact on personality, no matter how catchy the poem.


More to Explore