Superstition – Philippines, Cameroon, China, Brazil

Who knew putting a purse or bag on the floor could have such a significance?  In interviewing my informants and in taking from the folklore I have encountered in my own life, I came across this apparently universal superstition that seemed to generally be the same across the board: to put a purse on the floor is a bad and highly superstitious thing, in one way or another—evidently, in a myriad of different cultures around the world.

Growing up, my mother would always advise me to never put my purse on the floor.  Initially, I believed she did not want me to dirty up my bag.  However, she would never fail to follow that up with, “It’s bad luck.”  In my Filipino heritage, it is considered bad luck to put a bag or purse directly on the ground.

Coincidentally enough, a few of my friends told me the same superstition, but with different reasonings.  My Cameroonian roommate, Ayee, shared that in her culture, it is a superstition to put a purse on the floor because the devil will take it and all its contents.  My roommate Rachel explained to me that in her culture—the Chinese culture—it means that any money or any type of monetary item in your bag will flow out, and you will therefore become broke and without cash, if you put your purse on the floor.  My Brazilian friend Natalia had the same general view as I do, in my Filipino culture: it is bad luck in general to put a bag or purse on the ground.

Such a coincidence in folklore-sharing proves to me the universality and sharing of superstitious beliefs among nations and cultures all across the globe.  As different as we may think we are, perhaps we are all, in actuality, just the same.