Superstitions busted: Itchy palms

Published 03.06.2019 00:04

Superstitions are oddly scattered all over the world. While everyone knows certain superstitions, hardly anyone can tell you where they came from. Some superstitions are shared by people living in different parts of the world, and it is a wonder how they became parts of cultures that are so different from each other. In this column, we try to get into the roots of these superstitions and find why they came to be in the first place. This week, it is itchy palms. An itchy palm might seem a simple thing like an itchy arm or leg, but it is actually all about money. According to some people, an itchy left palm means money is coming your way, while an itchy right palm means you're about to lose money; or vice versa. There's also the belief that scratching your itchy palm on wood will guarantee good fortune.

The roots of this superstition can be traced back to the Saxons and Celts in Europe during the pre-Christian era. Saxons believed that, rubbing one's skin on silver was a cure for most diseases, so they started to rub their itchy palms on silver. Eventually, this belief turned into the superstition that an itch meant silver was coming your way. This superstition was later adopted by the Romans, especially by fortunetellers and turned into the version that we know today. However, there might be a simple explanation for itchy palms: skin diseases. Eczema, allergic reactions, diabetes, reactions to medication, cirrhosis and nerve disorders are known to cause itchy palms. Hence, next time you want to scratch your palms, make sure your health is okay instead of worrying about money.

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