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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Haiti Superstitions - Besides the black bird bringing bad luck, what are some others superstitious beliefs from Haiti?

Like in every country, Haiti has its share of superstitions and false beliefs.
I mostly remember some from my childhood days living in Arcahaie.
I mention Arcahaie because these beliefs may vary slightly from one region to the next.
Here's a list of the most popular ones that I remember.
I must tell you that, though these beliefs have been part of Haiti for hundreds of years, I'm not sure whether they all originated from Haiti.
As you go through this list of silly superstitions, you'll notice that they make it hard to go through your day without stepping into some bad luck. That should also explain why voodoo priests and priestesses in Haiti remain in business... They're busy removing bad luck from people's lives!  Ain't that a shame?!

1. If you swear by thunder, you'll die by a strike of lightning.

2. If you sharpen both ends of your own pencil, you'll lose both your parents on the same day.

3. Walking backwards will cause you to lose a member of your family.

4. If you walk around with one shoe on, you're calling one of your parents to the grave.

5. Never walk past under someone's extended arm.  If you do, you will experience no more growth spurt.

6. Pointing to the rainbow will cause you to lose a finger.  In order to prevent that, one should only point a muddy finger to the rainbow.
In Haiti, when I see a rainbow, I used to stick my finger in mud before I pointed and said, "Look at this rainbow!"

7.  When you're cooking rice especially, filling up your mouth with air so that your cheeks are "super" inflated will double the size of the your meal.

8.  Rain on a sunny day means that the devil is having a domestic dispute with his wife.

9.  Rocks of thunder:  Precious shiny "rocks" are deposited on earth whenever it thunders.  A person that finds such a "rock" will live a fertile, healthy, and prosperous life. 
Actually, a few people in Haiti have claimed to have found some of these rocks. ( I hear that they look really shiny : -)

10.  If you open an umbrella indoors, death will loom over the whole house.

11. If you eat standing up, you'll end up with a swollen leg.

12.  If you walk around on your knees, you'll cause the death of one of your parents.

13.  If your feet get swept by a cleaning broom, you'll never marry.

14.  On your wedding day, if you let your new husband slip the ring on your finger pass the big knuckle, he will dominate the relationship. 
That's why you'll see a Haitian bride use her thumb to block the ring from being slipped too far into her finger.

15.  Rain on your wedding day means that your marriage will last.

16.  To outlive your husband, you must wear a black pantie on your wedding day.

17.  It's bad luck to walk across a broomstick.  It that ever happens, you must go back and "un-cross" the broomstick.

18.  Having a strong hatred of your unborn baby's father during pregnancy will cause your unborn child to look too much like his father.

19.  Pregnant women must satisfy their cravings immediately, if they don't, their newborns will receive a birthmark for each unquenched craving.

20.  A black butterfly in your path is the precursor of bad news.

21.  If a black bird flies into your home you must kill it, otherwise death will come to someone close to you.  People will usually shut all doors and windows of their home to trap a black birds that flies in. 
Can you just imagine the distress that some people might experience over an escaped bird?

22.  People not in good health do not attend funerals.  If they do, they'll be the next one to be buried.

23.  If a funeral procession passing in the streets suddenly stops in front of your house, you have to quickly throw a bucket of water at the entrance of your house to prevent death from coming into your home.
Oh! My aunt used to do that a lot!  In Arcahaie, we lived not too far from the cemetery.  A funeral procession (which comprises of the priests, the altar boys, men carrying the coffin, followed by the family members of the deceased) often passes in front of our house.  Sometimes the coffin is heavy and the men have to take a break, so the procession stops for a few seconds.  When that happens it is said that the deceased is reluctant to go to the cemetery.  God forbid! this should happen in front of your house.  It is a big deal.

24.  Ringing in the ears means someone is talking about you.

25.  If your right hand itches, you're about to receive some money.

26.  Severe and recurrent acid reflux in a pregnant woman means that the baby will have a lot of hair.  The acidic stomach means that the baby is growing hair.

27.  Pointing to a baby gourd or a baby watermelon on a tree will prevent it from reaching full maturity.

28.  If you run into some kind of misfortune on New Year's Day, this same misfortune will follow you throughout the whole year. 
 I specifically remember trying to avoid corporal punishment from my dad on new year's day so that I won't be whipped thoughout the whole year.  My friends and I used to feel so sorry for those kids that get whipped on new year's day.  "There goes his luck!" we said to ourselves. 


  1. For number 9, Rocks of thunder, I wonder if this stems from the rare occasion when lightning strikes sand and can turn it into a natural glass called fulgurite

  2. That's interesting. It just might be. Thanks!

  3. Number 14 is too funny :-0!

  4. On my 5th or 6th year of marriage, my husband and I used to have these silly arguments where he would always seem to have the upper hand. You bet my mother knew the cause! She never stopped reminding me, "It's all your fault! You let him slipped that ring too far into your finger!"

  5. thx this really helped.
    I am doing a research paper and this was so helpful.

  6. I was told of two this evening.
    First, do not bare crosses in your home because of course, it brings bad luck. The cross represents death, sadness, disparity, and misery.
    Secondly, my wife and were warned about having pet dogs prior to having a child because doing so decreases fertility.

  7. Thanks for your contribution.
    I had heard of the "cross" one, and not the one about the dog.
    That's interesting...

  8. Tombstone in kreyol?
    Here is when you sit on the corner of the table you will never marry

  9. I'm Jamaican, just doing a little research on Haitian superstitions. It's amazing how many of these superstitions both countries share.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Yes. We share more than that. It makes for agreat sense of belonging :)

  10. Can anybody relate to these superstitiins in real life?reply

  11. I am haitian is so true what you one was allowed to say a new born baby was pretty or cute,it would bring bad granma think if she exposed her left breast to the sun(sin soley) and pronounce an enemy name,that person would die

    1. Oh man.... That is so interesting.
      Thanks for your input.

  12. My mom always says that if your husband dies, you must wear a black underwear to prevent the from coming back to you through the night lol

    1. I always thought is was red, so the spirit won’t try to have sex with you

  13. Hi. I am sweet on a Haitian lady. What are some traditional gifts I could get her? Something that would indicate I really like her? A gift or gesture which brings GOOD luck?? Thanks.