Tag Archives: Brazilian superstition

Point at the Stars and get a Wart


SS: “The first one is one I always got told while growing up. While you’re stargazing at night, if you point at the moon, if you point at the stars, if you point at anything beautiful in the sky, then you’re going to wake up with some sort of wart… on your face, on your finger, somewhere like that. So growing up, I always used my fist if I wanted to point out a star. And it worked for me! That is, until one night. My family was hanging out in the jacuzzi, chatting, having a great night, and then we talked about this beautiful star in the sky, the brightest star in the sky. I said it’s so nice, and my family said they didn’t know which one I was talking about, so obviously the go-to is to assist them. So I get my big old finger and point straight at this bright, beautiful star, and right after I look at my finger and my family and said “NO!” After that, I was like oh no, something’s going to happen, this will really suck, maybe I’ll find out if this is the real deal or not. I was so worried… the rest of the night, I made sure to use my fist so I wouldn’t get like, double the trouble or something. The next day I wake up and go to the mirror, and I’ve got a fat pimple on my nose. I was so annoyed! I was like this is real, I screwed it up, I should have pointed with my fist… that’s why I believe that superstition to be true. Moral of the story: don’t point at the stars.”

CONTEXT: SS is my roommate and close friend, a recent graduate of USC who was born in Brazil but moved to the United States soon after. She frequently flies back with her parents and brother to visit her family in Brazil.

SS: “All the Brazilian superstitions I have I learned from my family. I have multiple.”

ANALYSIS: SS described the practice as a superstition when she described it: she was self-conscious of its magical nature. The belief itself is an example of a jinx. She didn’t have to physically contact the star, so contagious magic appears to be out. On the topic of SS’s experience with the superstition, Her story about it becomes a memorate because of the way that she inserted herself into the narrative. Her experience with the superstition is built into the way that she describes it. Her testing of the superstition is significant because it was a one-time event: she followed the superstition at all other times in her life, making the one time where she didn’t dramatic in comparison. Her test could have been an outlier, but because her test confirmed her belief, she’s not going to try again. She built her own debate into the way she told the story, making sure to mention the fact that she herself was doubting it, but she makes it clear that in the end, her belief was confirmed, almost as though she was trying to convince her audience.

Brazilian Sandals Superstition


SS: So basically, something I grew up with… in the home… There’s a really big tradition in Brazilian culture to never walk around barefoot. We always walk around with flip flops, some kind of sandals. Something I used to do is if I was walking around outside, the bottoms would get really dirty, and I’d be afraid of my mom telling me to not walk around in my dirty sandals. So what I’d do is I would walk in and I’d set the sandals upside down, so the straps would be facing the ground. But every time I’d do that, my mom would tell me don’t put those upside down, or something will happen to a close relative of yours if you do that. I forget if it’s they’ll die, but it definitely wasn’t positive: they’d get harmed in some way. So every single time I put it upside down, I’d get a comment like that and get scared. My mom would always say “You want me to die?” and things like that intense sometimes. And finally, after a long time of thinking it was legit superstition, apparently it’s a joke among Brazilian parents. Like “I don’t want you to get my floor dirty.” “I don’t want the feet of your sandal to touch the dirty cold floor.” So it’s a way for parents to scare their kids. It’s always something I got scared of.

CONTEXT: SS is my roommate and close friend, a recent graduate of USC who was born in Brazil but moved to the United States soon after. She frequently flies back with her parents and brother to visit her family in Brazil.

ANALYSIS: For most of her life as a child, SS saw this rule as a superstition and treated it as such. The contrast between her and her mother’s beliefs is interesting: for the mother, the superstition was never real, but her insistence on the rule made it reality for her daughter. The text itself reminds me of the rhyme “Step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back.” It’s similar in structure: the stepping on and contact with the ground—either the floor or a crack on the ground—results in injury to a part of the family, specifically the mother. That being said, the “superstition” detailed here has two key differences. First, the rhyme is often repeated between children and peers, whereas the superstition SS recounted was told to her by an authority figure—her mother. Second, the superstition has a legitimate motive to be told by parents. SS’s mother had a very clear purpose in telling her daughter not to step on the floor: so that she didn’t dirty them.

Brazilian Superstitions

Informant Information 
Nationality: Brazilian American 
Occupation: Student
Residence: California 
Date of Performance/Collection: Apr 27, 2022
Primary Language: English 

My informant is a good friend of mine and we started talking about her Brazillian culture in McDonald’s after our bible study.

S- There’s so many random superstitions. So like this one scares me because it’s happened to me once so I believe it now but maybe it was just bad timing and chocolate but it’s if you point at the sky and point at the stars and the moon you going to end up with a big mole or pimple on your nose like a witch. So I got it one time and I had a pimple the next morning and so I was so mad about it so now when I point at the sky, I use my knuckle. Or like if you keep your flip-flops up like upside-down, that means you want your mother dead. There’s some weird witchcraft ones.

I didn’t know that the superstitions existed and after talking with S, I’m definitely going to make sure that I don’t point at the moon or the stars or keep my flip-flops upside down.

Brazilian Door Superstition

The following Brazilian superstition was performed over coffee on April 23rd, 2019.  In Brazil, it’s considered bad luck to unlock or open the door to someone else’s home. If you do, it’s said you’ll “never be invited back because your friendship will end”. The door must be opened or unlocked by the owner of the home. Growing up, children are told to “never unlock the door to someone else’s house if you like them”, because if you do you’ll become “enemies”.

The informant heard this from her father growing up, who heard it from his father. The superstition is used to stop children from getting into mischief and to instill a sense of boundaries.

A Loira do Banheiro

The following Brazilian urban legend was performed over coffee on April 23rd, 2019. In Brazil, “we have the legend of A Loira do Banheiro, or Bathroom Blonde”. If you leave hair in the sink drain and say her name three times, “you summon a blonde that died a long time ago and she kills you.” The informant described her as “Bloody Mary but blonder.”

The legend is heard by children in school and from their parents, who use the legend to make their kids “clean up after themselves.” The informant was told by her mother that “her mom loved the legend because the sinks were always clean.”

It’s a fun spin on Bloody Mary and the use of fear to instill principals into children has been practiced for generations. “Anything to get kids to clean up after themselves!” 

For further writings on the adjacent Bloody Mary lore, please visit:

Dundes, Alan. “Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety.” Western Folklore 57.2/3 (1998): 119-35. JSTOR. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/1500216>.