Why, you wonder when you step into a ‘business house’, a lemon and chilly ‘ornament’ is precariously hung atop a door? Or the front office is in a certain area which intrigues you? Superstition or rather let us call it belief, that there should be no evil eye cast on their business or just following some ‘vaastu’ ideas.

Yes, we have all been through (especially if you are in India, you will know exactly what I am talking about) a range of superstitious beliefs that change from region to region. Remember, if you spotted a cat going from left to right when driving, you had to stop no matter how inconvenient it was? That is just a tip of the iceberg let’s say. You will be marveled to know that there are few vehement beliefs across the world that businesses, yes my dear readers big business magnets too, in those countries / regions follow. Here are a few that will leave you, well, stupefied -

  • Russians never shake hands in the doorway – they believe doorways are where spirits reside and ‘interrupting their residence’ may bring bad luck! (Yes, you definitely do not want to ‘wake’ the spirits with all the loud handshakes)
  • Chinese think death impends to those striking deals at 4 o’clock! (Dare to try this yet?)
  • Germans feel toasting with plain water is a bad omen bringing misfortune or death even! (Just so you know, Germany is known as a drinking country – so this is rather believable to say the least)
  • Indians don’t launch any sales campaigns or new businesses during the month of ‘Pitru Paksha’ or ‘Homage to Ancestor’s month’! (I am sure you are waiting with a list that India follows :))
  • France believes that placing bread upside down will bring poverty and hunger!
  • Nigerians swear that one will turn to stone if they pick up money off the ground! (This I must see in my lifetime)
  • Koreans feel that shaking your leg or fidgeting will make you lose money or the deal! (Well, this is also considered ill-mannered so not much of a superstition here I think)
  • Americans check solar eclipses for their stock indices! (This is proven true by some and of course there are a zillion research theories surrounding this)
  • And the number 13 – I think this is a common belief across almost all countries – anything to do with the number 13 is considered bad luck / omen. No wonder so many planes do not have the seat numbered 13, or there are no 13th floors in many renowned hotels, plazas, etc.

Well, these were ‘bad luck’ beliefs, let us see some ‘good luck’ superstitions too (yes, there exists such traditions) -

  • The Spaniards firmly root that entering a room with your right foot brings good luck!
  • Indians break coconuts for an auspicious beginning!
  • The number 666 is considered lucky in China!
  • Business people of Philippines believe that wearing polka dotted clothes brings fortune and good luck!
  • Japanese swear on keeping an origami frog in the wallet while cracking a deal! (Similar belief why Americans sometimes carry an origami rabbit’s foot for important deals)

Fascinating, isn’t it? Superstitions or beliefs leave their mark in one way or the other – impacting the business and its customers alike. People are bred to think, follow and continue a legacy that has been running for generations. Businesses only tap into this already set ‘thought process’ and turn it into a profitable venture. Whether this really works or is it just a common entity that carries one through, no one will ever know or dare to experiment with. For now, let us be satisfied to know one thing – Businesses do care for the beliefs of the people they cater to - superstitious or not.

Do you have more interesting ‘business’ superstitions to add to the above? I would love to re-compile them into this write-up. So, go ahead and share your stories of unbelievable beliefs!

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