Day 6, Dec 8th: Why Breaking Mirrors Is Bad Luck (Says History and Every Superstition Ever) Infographic Style

You don't know the meaning of regret until you break a mirror. I know this because last night, while I was rearranging my room in a fit of productivity, I knocked over a table mirror and smashed it to smithereens. There's just something a little eerie about mirrors, especially when you're sweeping chunks of one into a dust-pan and praying to the cosmos you haven't just condemned yourself to seven years of bad luck.

For science reasons, I've decided to explore the history behind the superstition to answer the pressing question: Why do people believe that breaking mirrors brings seven years of bad luck?

Thusly, I present to you:

Encyclopedia Britannica tells us a superstition is an action or belief we perform or believe without any rational justification. 

Fun factoid: I'm a rational and cynical human being. I was a part of a science program in school. I pay my university extortion money to let me continue my pursuit of scientific progress. Among my friends, I'm like a radically dumber Spock. Intuition is a dirty word. 'Non-peer reviewed' is my 'folklore.' I never believed in Santa as a kid because we had an impenetrable chimney-cap. 

But when I dropped that mirror I experienced the five stages of loss and grief like it was nobody's business.

So what's the deal with mirrors and why is the bad luck only for mirrors instead of something mundane like mugs?

Mirrors have been around for yonks, but not in the conventional sense. Modern day mirrors are made by applying a layer of molten metal to the back of a sheet of glass. Antique mirrors were often - according to the Britannica - just "convex disks of metal" or polished stones, and have likely been in use since around 6000 BC.

A lot of us consult a mirror on a daily basis for damage control before venturing forth into the wider world, but the mirror has a long history of symbolic importance in our cultures and religions. Tutankhamen was buried with one. The queen from Snow White asked hers who was the fairest of them all. The Egyptian goddess Hathor wore one on her cow-head (Pendergrast, 2009). 

The belief that mirrors, reflections, and photographs can steal, hold, or represent a part of the human soul features in a variety of ancient cultures (Greek, Chinese, and Egyptian, to name a few). To break, damage or distort such a soul-piece was considered in bad taste and worthy of bad juju - especially by the Greco-Romans. The Romans also believed that human bodies go through a complete physical renewal once every seven years and that the bad juju could be shaken off at this point. 

So kiddlywinks, if you want to make like our ancient ancestors you should live by these few simple rules:
1. Don't break mirrors, mirrors are souls
2. If you break a soul, know the world will seek vengeance against your person
3. Wait for your body to regenerate in seven years time or bury the glass shards under moonlight
Purple Dragon asks the important questions

Then again, 
I've also read that if a servant broke a mirror it would cost them seven years of wages to pay for it. Which is, you know, unlucky. 

Considering I bought mine from Ikea for less than a twenty, I'll have bad luck for about as long as it takes me to walk to the other side of the room and reach my money stash. 

+1 if you like!
Seeya tomorrow


Mirror. (n.d.). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 8, 2013 from

Mirror History. (n.d.). When and where was the first mirror invented. Retrieved from

Mirror History. (n.d.). Broken mirror - is breaking a mirror bad luck. Retrieved from

Pendergrast, M. (2009). Mirror mirror: A history of the human love affair with reflection. Retrieved from

Superstition. (n.d.). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 8, 2013 from


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