Is it bad luck to open an umbrella indoors?

Is it bad luck to open an umbrella indoors?

Just like walking under a ladder, the black cat crossing your path, breaking a mirror, stepping on cracks, opening an umbrella indoors also seems to bring bad luck. The origin of this superstition is unclear, but almost every society has its own explanation.

The oldest explanation comes from ancient Egypt. At that time, parasols made of papyrus or peacock feathers were used to protect people from the sun. Opening a parasol indoors was seen as disrespectful to the sun god Ra, who in turn would take revenge for it.

We have also heard of an ancient Chinese custom in China where Taoist priests asked family members to escort their deceased out the door under an open umbrella to protect the deceased from the yang rays of the sun that could scatter the departing soul.

The western origin of the myth probably has to do with the invention of the rain umbrella by Jonas Hanway (1712-1786) (here is our blog entry on the history of the umbrella). The umbrellas of that time were not as technically sophisticated as today's umbrellas, but rather home-made constructions with all the disadvantages in terms of durability, sharp edges and general fragility. Anyone who opened such an umbrella in a small room was very likely to destroy the entire interior. So, it was more a question of safety than bad luck.

From our point of view, it simply makes no sense to walk around indoors with an open umbrella. Just as it makes no sense to wear sunglasses indoors, which are also supposed to bring bad luck.

But we can also refute the superstition from a personal perspective. Schirm Oertel as an umbrella shop is now more than 130 years old and in all that time we have shown customers umbrellas in the store and also opened them, as this is the best way to see the beautiful colors and patterns. Using a completely unscientific rough calculation based on store opening days per year, average number of customers per day and average number of umbrellas shown per purchase decision, we have opened around 3 million umbrellas inside since 1890 and we are still here and don't feel unlucky.

If that's not enough anecdotal evidence for you, you can take part in the annual "National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day" on March 13. This was created specifically to disprove the superstition. Take the opportunity to bring along a ladder, a cat and a mirror.

1 month ago