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13 superstitions for Friday the 13th

Here are some frightful faux pas to avoid so your travel are full of nothing but good luck.

1 | Japan

The number four is pronounced 'shi' in Japan, which is also the word for death. So it's considered quite unlucky. Room numbers, house numbers and floor numbers often skip four – a bit like number 13 in the UK.

Tokyo Travel Guide

The best place to find out everything you need to know before you travel to Japan.

2 | China

In China, the number eight is considered extremely lucky because it sounds like the word for wealth and prosperity. To give you an idea of how important the number is in Chinese culture, the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympics began at 8 minutes and 8 seconds past 8pm on the 8th month of the 8th year of the century.

3 | Greece

In Greece it's customary to spit three times when meeting a new baby (not actually on the baby though). It's also done when complimenting someone as method of warding off the curse of the evil eye. The 'science' behind it is that when complimenting someone you can accidentally curse them with a jealous look or 'evil eye'. Spitting is the only way to protect against this.

Greece Travel Guide

Plan your trip with our hub for all things Greece.

4 | South Korea

This one's a bit morbid, but there's an urban legend in South Korea that if you go to sleep with the windows closed and a fan on, you'll suffocate to death. This is not true of course.

5 | Mexico

If you're ever near a dusty floor in Mexico and get struck with the urge to sweep it, make sure you only do it during the day. If you sweep at night you're at risk of sweeping away all the good luck, positive energy and prosperity of the household. You wouldn't want to do that.

6 | Nigeria

Don't whistle at night if you're in Nigeria – this is thought to summon demons. Nobody wants demons.

7 | Sweden

If you're ever in Sweden, whatever you do, don't leave your keys on the table – it's the baddest of bad luck and an easy way to upset people.

Sweden Travel Guide

Sweden is one of the greenest, safest and most welcoming countries in the world

8 | Brazil

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve in Brazil, it's traditional to head to the beach and jump over seven waves. This ensures good luck for the year to come and washes away all the negative energy you don't want to bring with you.

9 | Spain

More New Year shenanigans now in Spain, where on the stroke of midnight it's thought that eating 12 grapes will bring you good luck for the year. If you manage to eat one on each chime of the clock. Sounds like a choking hazard if you ask me.

Spain Travel Guide

Spain has everything you need for every kind of holiday.

10 | Thailand

Just like in the UK it's considered rude to point your finger at someone in Thailand. But you also have to be careful what direction your feet are pointing as feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body in Thailand. So try to avoid pointing them at people and particularly sacred objects – this is considered very disrespectful and thought to bring bad luck.

11 | Ireland

We all know that the four-leaf clover is considered lucky in Ireland. This because of its rarity – the numbers are a bit sketchy but it's thought that your chances of finding a four-leaf clover are 1 in 5,000 or 1 in 10,000, so you must be a lucky person if you happen to find one. The leaves represent faith, hope, luck and love which is why it's considered such a blessing if you find one.

12 | Egypt

If you happen to find yourself in Egypt and near a pair of scissors, don't touch them unless you specifically have something to cut. Opening and closing scissors without cutting anything is considered very unlucky and thought to lead arguments and disagreements. It's also very bad luck to leave them open once you've finished using them.

13 | Iceland

There are lots of suspicions in Iceland about the hidden people, or elves and fairies, that live in the wilderness. Many rock formations and landmarks are considered to be their homes and if you disturb them it's pretty much bad luck for life. This is taken quite seriously and many construction projects are actually diverted so as not to disturb the homes of this magical community.

Iceland Travel Guide

Start your unforgettable Icelandic saga with our complete guide.