“If you break or crack a mirror, you will have seven years of bad luck.”

Emilie was trying to put back her compact mirror when she dropped it.  Upon picking up the mirror, she saw that it was cracked.  She then declared that she would have seven years of bad luck.  Emilie first heard about this bad luck when she was eight and her older sister’s mirror broke.  Her older sister told her that it was bad luck to break a mirror.  Emilie thinks that the reason breaking a mirror is bad luck is because mirrors are a reflection of oneself, so when a mirror is broken, the reflection is a distorted version of oneself.  In a sense, Emilie says “you’re cracking yourself” which is not a good thing.

I believe that since mirrors have often times been portrayed to have the ability to portray one’s future, that by breaking a mirror, one is breaking and jeopardizing one’s future.  I agree with Emilie’s theory that a broken mirror represents a broken self.  Furthermore, it has been a common belief that mirrors reflect one’s soul; therefore, a broken mirror would show a broken soul, a definite misfortune.  I am unsure as to why the number seven is associated with this superstition because in the American and Western culture, the number seven is considered a lucky number.

The superstition of associating bad luck with broken mirrors is one of the older and better known superstitions.  The broken mirror superstition is documented the Omens section of The Origins of Popular Superstitions and Curses by T. Sharper Knowlson.  In earlier times, people believe that the person to whom the broken mirror belonged to “would lose his best friend” (163).  I believe that a best friend can be compared as a reflection of a person, which could explain why the belief that a broken mirror, which would give a broken reflection, would mean the loss of the best friend.  It states that the origin of this superstition is that mirrors have always been used for divination, so to break one is “the destruction of a means of knowing the will of the gods” (164).

Knowlson, T. Sharper. The Origins of Popular Superstitions and Customs. Detroit: Gale Research Company Book, 1968.