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Superstitions Around the World

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Published Nov 21, 2018 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 22 Contributors

    22 photos selected by

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Here the person is an astrologer who was wearing many type of stone with rings. He predicts the f...

    #india #stone #people #culture #ring #fashion #astrologer

    Let us travel together into the world of superstitions, where colorful gemstones can foretell your future, fruit and leaves can ward off evil spirits, and romance can be seen in a cup of tea. Take a walk along the love lock bridge, wish upon a shooting star, blow out the candles on a birthday cake—but be wary of broken mirrors, spilt salt black cats.

    No matter where we are in the world, we're all connected by having heard, known, or experienced some type of superstition.

    My Italian grandmother always used to say she was cursed with "Malocchio". In Italian "Mal" means...

    #canyon #light #arizona #eye #rock #shadow #texture #pattern #watch #look #shape #antelope_canyon

    Editor's Note

    Oooh, I love this creative interpretation and finding it naturally! I agree with Stephanie's comment below, "Tom - it really does feel as if someone could be watching in your image, which makes the... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    In the small village of Alipura, many houses had mango leaves hanging over the doorways - warding...

    #india #protection #superstitions #alipura #village_life

    Editor's Note

    I love the minimal nature of this clean frame! I immediately focus on the texture of the door and the dried mango leaves above-- keeping the evil spirits and negative energy from the house! I love it.

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    This was a challenging assignment, and I want to thank you for participating in a most fascinating journey by taking me into your lives and sharing your amazing interpretations of superstitions from around the globe. I was introduced to many superstitions that I had never heard about before.

    Curating your images was a great learning experience for me and at times a little challenging, for I have also learned that not all beliefs are superstitions, and not all celebrations have superstitions. I wanted to be sensitive and respectful of everyone’s diverse beliefs, traditions, faiths, and religion. This sensitivity is one of the many responsibilities of an editor.

    A November article in Nat'l Geo speaks of quirky people in the NEK of Vermont—Help! I live in the...

    #lemons #nails #superstition #evil_eye_protectors #evil_eve #archer_mayor #stephane_lavoue

    Editor's Note

    Patty, this photo is awesome. I love that you photographed a superstition and taught us about it. The harsh light is awesome on the bright lemons against the white snow. This is an awesome perspect... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Horse shoes hang over the work horses at Landis Valley Farm Museum. They must be turned up so the...

    #horse #farm #country #barn #horses #lucky #horseshoe #equine #percheron #good_luck

    Editor's Note

    This is awesome, Jennifer. I love your interpretation of the assignment and showing us a superstition "in real time," out in the world. It's special to see superstitions as decorations and keeping ... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Being a tea granny I had to submit at least one tea superstition! If bubbles are in the centre o...

    #abstract #people #food #culture #places #superstitions_around_the_world

    Editor's Note

    Ooooh, I never knew this one but I love how you presented it from above, Brenda. I'm laughing at my desk about being a "tea granny" because I have Irish black tea stashed away in my desk...we're te... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Derived from Africa, jumping the broom is a wedding tradition in which the bride and groom jump o...

    #africa #jumping #wedding #tradition #ceremony #symbolic #superstition #assignment #broom

    Editor's Note

    I love this, Lili! I agree with Shannon about how you maintaining the couple's anonymity allows for us to open up the scale of how many couples celebrate their marriage like this. Nicely done!

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    After Marriage when Bride first time enters her Groom's home, before entering her new home, the b...

    #wedding #bride #step #superstition #goodluck #welcome_home #superstitions_around_the_world

    Editor's Note

    This is a beautiful perspective of this tradition. I love that we don't have to physically see a person to already piece together part of the story and the information in your caption brings it all... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    This footbridge is located in Cracow, Poland and it became so-called the bridge of Love. The coup...

    #children #architecture #poland #travel #love #cracow #superstition_around_the_world

    Editor's Note

    I agree with Rose's comment below, "...I especially find your image with the long depth of field and perspective the most captivating Tatiana! I feel like I am there on the bridge, walking along, a... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Every one has their on needs and requirements. To comfort the minds we all knock the doors of god...

    #taiwan #belief #superstition #wishes

    Editor's Note

    This is so fascinating! I love what Rose said below, "I want to be able to read each and every wish written...I like how some look crisp and freshly written, while others are worn, the ink smudged.... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    making a wish on Your birthday, we all doing this but watching my girl while she believes in this...

    #fun #people #kids #friends #girls #wish #party #birthday_wish #birthday_girl

    Editor's Note

    I love superstitions with hopeful intentions and arguably one of the most "popular" wishes to be made one way or another. I agree with Rose: "Such a precious moment captured here, Kamila! One of th... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    The four leaf clover is one of the most common good luck symbols. Some people find them often. We...

    #abstract #nature #macro #nikon #fall #luck

    Editor's Note

    What an impressive collection, Radmila! I love that you abstracted the frame by putting the clovers in between glass to give you more flexibility with a background. I love all the earth tones and h... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    When I was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 7, my school folded me 1000 paper cranes to brin...

    #childhood #cancer #superstition #good_luck #paper_cranes #superstitions_around_the_world

    Editor's Note

    I've always loved the stories behind the 100 Paper Cranes, and any superstition that has ties to hopefulness. I love Cathy's comment below, "I like the way you composed this, choosing to have the n... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    I photographed a ( quite beautifully ) broken mirror on the wall and I included some colorful ref...

    #abstract #reflections #red #mirror #color #gray #tellow

    Editor's Note

    The colors in this abstraction of a broken mirror are awesome, Ivan! I'm getting lost in the way the colors blend and refract across the frame. Here's to hoping whoever broke this mirror didn't get... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    In my country, Bulgaria, it is not so good when salt spills on the table. They say, if this happ...

    #food #cooking #spices #kitchen #scents #supersticion #spilt_salt

    Editor's Note

    I love the colors and textures in this still life. I agree with Rose's comment, "A very colorful and inviting palette of spices and such a beautiful way to convey the superstition of spilling salt.... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Our friends are farmers in Nebraska who grow corn. They are very superstitious about how they gro...

    #abstract #macro #corn #superstition #indiancorn #superstitionsaroundtheworld #flintcorn

    Editor's Note

    This is an awesome shot, Elizabeth! I agree with Rose's comment below, "Love this amazing macro Elizabeth! The irregular shapes and patterns create a most fascinating diagonal visual with the rich ... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    One of the 20+ cats roaming the grounds of Poplar Grove Plantation in North Carolina. Typically ...

    #cat #black #walking #fence #gate #blackandwhite #stalking #poplar_grove #anticipatethemoment

    Editor's Note

    Awesome detail and curious gaze in this little black cat portrait. As a cat lover, I've had a hard time believing this superstition but nonetheless an awesome photo of a classic superstition.

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    I am extremely happy to have this incredible opportunity of being a part of the mentorship program created by David Y. Lee, whose guidance and teachings have been invaluable to me. I am deeply honored to have worked alongside such an inspirational mentor as Kristen McNicholas. Her knowledge, thoughtfulness, encouragement, and energy has been an enriching educational experience, whether it was learning the thought process and intricacies behind the scenes, pitching and editing an assignment, or creating a visual story sequence from beginning to end. I hope that one day in the future to have the privilege to be able to team up with her again.

    -Rose Ungvari
    Your Shot Photographer

    My Irish mother saw signs and symbols everywhere. They were often a mixture of ancient lore, as i...

    #landscape #blackandwhite #superstitions #omens

    Editor's Note

    I love the simplistic nature of this image, wonderful work composing in a way such that the crow is perfectly contrasting the cloudy sky. It's interesting that the Irish count crows for omens becau... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Drawn by the mystical play of lights and shadows I took this photo months ago. Now it seems to pe...

    #abstract #shadows #people #culture #halloween #conceptual #superstition_around_the_world

    Editor's Note

    I love how you addressed in your caption how this photo illustrates a feeling that is mostly "uns... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Every winter, between Christmas and New Year, in the north-eastern regions of Romania, the annual...

    #bear #portrait #festivals #bears #romania #traditions #comanesti

    In China, meteors often associated with good luck, so people believe that meteors can make their ...

    #sky #night #landscape #tree #dawn #pine #space #astrophoto #meteor #milkyway #persied

    Growing up, Halloween wasn't really celebrated in our home. There was a belief that more evil and...

    #portrait #creepy #halloween #spooky #superstition_around_the_world

    Editor's Note

    Dana...this is so, so awesome. I lost my breath over this. Like mentioned below, the undeniable apprehension and suspense in this photo is incredible. I love how you used the light to create myster... More

    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot

    About the Editor
    Kristen McNicholas
    Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot
    Kristen is an Associate Photo Editor with the Your Shot team. She interned at the White House Photo Office under the Obama Administration as well as Education Week. A proud RIT alumna, dessert enthusiast and Finger Lakes, NY native, Kristen is excited to guide your photographic journey!

    Photographers Published In the Story