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Why is it Bad Luck to Open an Umbrella Indoors?

person holding red umbrella

Why is it Bad Luck to Open an Umbrella Indoors?

It’s interesting how some superstitions are so well known that they bother even the most reasonable people. One such example is that opening an umbrella indoors is widely associated with bad luck. How did this superstition come to be?

While the origins of many superstitions are lost to history, there are a few theories about why it’s considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. In this post, we will take a look back through history to shed some light on how this widespread superstition was born.

Umbrella Superstition Arose with Ancient Egyptians

Opening umbrellas inside first became a problem during ancient times when Egyptians became worried about angering the sun god. Egyptian royalty of the time was protected from the sun by umbrellas crafted carefully out of peacock feathers and papyrus. Interestingly enough, these umbrella creations were designed to keep nobles from getting too much sun, not to protect them from the rain, as most modern umbrellas are used. 

The goddess of the sky, Nut, was charged with protecting the Earth, and she supposedly was fine with nobles receiving shelter, but the shade was a sacred creation. If someone who was not noble used the umbrella, that person became a real-life embodiment of bad luck.

Don't Anger the Sun God

Another story from Egyptian civilization focuses on the wrath of the sun god instead. According to the extraordinary origins of this story, the Egyptians believed that the sun god, Ra, took insult when shade was created indoors. They believed that if an umbrella was opened inside, it would anger her since she did not like anyone attempting to create shade or a shadow where she did not shine.

For the very superstitious, that origin story might be an issue since today’s umbrellas are only used when the sun is not present – amid storm clouds and downpours.

Britons Suspicious of Opening an Umbrella Indoors

Most likely, opening an umbrella indoors became taboo in modern times back in the 18th century when umbrellas were still new. Early umbrellas were not like they are today. They were very stiff and featured spring triggers that sprung into action far too quickly; a far cry from the easy-to-use open and close mechanism on the Fulton Birdcage umbrella, a rigidly spoked umbrella springing into action in a small room could easily catch people off guard, leading to negative consequences, such as property damage in the home and potential injuries. 

So, it wasn’t so much a superstition that caused people to stop opening umbrellas indoors; it was the threat of real and present harm. Soon the threat turned into a superstition with echoes of the superstition that was first stated by the Egyptians. While there is no science to back up the claims, some people today still pause or jump back from someone who opens an umbrella indoors.

Show Some Care When Opening Umbrellas Indoors

Today, umbrellas have become everyday things that are owned by pretty much everyone. As (almost) everyone realizes these days, opening an umbrella indoors does not bring bad luck. Unless you happen to be highly superstitious, the only thing you need to worry about is accidentally knocking something over when you open an umbrella inside your home.