Aruban superstitions & old beliefs

One of my readers forwarded this compilation to me, I found it super entertaining. This collection was compiled by Roberto G. Croes, and it shows how fearful island life can be, with bad luck, as if it is a real thing, lurking at any turn, caution advised!

Superstitions and beliefs are an integral part of Aruban culture, passed down from generation to generation. In a column,”Our History, Our Heritage” the writer shared some old superstitions and beliefs that grandparents used to uphold and which may still be in practice today.

  1. Avoid playing outdoors between 12noon and 3pm, for fear of encountering bad air.
  2. Do not play in your own shadow.
  3. Do not run circles around people.
  4. Certain games played indoors are considered bad luck.
  5. If a rooster crows at night, it could signal bad weather and rain.
  6. A rooster crowing at night can also indicate that someone in the neighborhood has passed away.
  7. If a chuchubi, Caribbean Mockingbird, sings outside your door, it means visitors are coming.
  8. A large fly is a sign of visitors or alternatively, winning the lottery.
  9. When entering a house early in the morning, it is advisable to turn your back to the road, to prevent spirits from entering.
  10. Place cut aloe vera at the entrance to your home, to ward off sickness, and evil spirits.
  11. Placing a a bit of money in Buddha’s lap, is believed to bring good luck.
  12. Rubbing Buddha’s belly with your hand or fingers, delivers the same.
  13. During a wedding, placing a florin in the bride’s shoe is thought to bring good luck.
  14. Never place your handbag/bags on the floor, as your money will quickly disspipate.
  15. Avoid walking under a watapana tree at night, so you don’t encounter any ghosts.
  16. Place a garlic tooth in your wallet, to attract wealth.
  17. Look for and find, lucky number clues in the shapes formed by coffee grinds and cigarette smoke.
  18. Avoid opening an umbrella indoors as it is bring bad luck.
  19. Cracking/Breaking a mirror is also believed to bring bad luck.
  20. Avoid looking in a mirror at night, as you might see someone else’s face.
  21. Avoid sleeping in front of a door for fear that bad air enters.
  22. Crawling under a table may stop your growth.
  23. Lending or borrowing scissors is believed to bring bad luck.
  24. Walking around the house with a suitcase and a cane during the New Year’s Eve countdown is thought to bring good luck.
  25. When it rains and the sun is shining, it is said that the devil is chasing his wife with a stick.
  26. Passing over a person’s feet with a broom or mopping around them is believed to cause trouble in the house.
  27. Disturbing a sleeping person, wakes up their spirit.
  28. Measuring another person bring bad luck, and might call upon their death.
  29. A black moth in the house or in the room means a family member or acquaintance will die.
  30. The scent of a candle or cigarette smoke, may also means that a family member or acquanitance will die.
  31. The elders say that goats, cats, and chicken can see ghosts.
  32. Never lend anyone a needle, it will lead to a loss of friendship.
  33. A baby born with a birthmark is thought to be a result of the his mother being denied certain foods during pregnancy.
  34. A sty in the eye means you refuse a pregnant woman something.
  35. Hiccups are a sign that someone is thinking/talking about you.
  36. A scratchy chest is a sign that a woman is pregnant.
  37. Eating grapes on New Year’s Eve brings good luck.
  38. Lighting fireworks on New Year’s Eve is also considered a good luck guarantee.
  39. Always enter a house with your right foot first.
  40. Lending or borrowing clothes from a friend creates enmity.
  41. Putting your hands behind your head or folding them over your head is considered a bad omen.
  42. Playing alone outside after 6pm is thought to bring bad luck.
  43. Always leave through the same door you entered.
  44. Placing a decorative elephant trunk, facing the wall, brings good luck.
  45. Running out of salt at home brings poverty.
  46. If you want a visitor who overstayed to leave, place a broom upside down.
  47. To prevent a visitor from coming back to your home, sweep their tracks clean.
  48. It is considered bad luck to step over someone else’s cane on the ground.
  49. When you lose something, placing the image of Saint Anthony upside down, to help find it.
  50. Smelling coriander encourages the delivery of money.
  51. A green iguana on the doorstep is a sign of bad luck or death.
  52. A blue mark on your body that doesn’t hurt, is a sign that someone you know who is going to die, has visited and touched you.


Compiled by Roberto G. Croes


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May 08, 2023
Rona Coster