What Is The Origin Of The Spilling Salt Superstition?


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Jennifer Bone answered
Many people consider it bad luck to spill salt. This superstition does not have one clear origin, but there are a number of good theories that may explain how it developed into one.

Unlike today, salt was once very expensive and quite scarce. Imagine your meal without any salt and you will start to appreciate why this simple spice was once a hot commodity! So, spilling salt used to be extremely wasteful and a faux pas whilst at the dinner table and was certainly considered to be bad form. Wasting salt being termed ‘bad luck’ might have developed as a way to stop people from being careless at the dinner table.

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper shows that Judas – an Apostle who betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities in return for thirty pieces of silver – is shown to have accidentally spilled salt onto the table. Some Christian beliefs also claim that the Devil hangs about over the left, or sinister, side of the body waiting for an opportunity to invade. Those who believe in this see tossing some of the spilled salt over ones left shoulder is the equivalent to tossing it in the devil’s face to put off his attack.

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