Broken Mirror Superstitions

Why is it said that breaking a mirror results in seven years of bad luck?
Just the other day I broke a mirror and the first thing my friend said was, 'that's seven years of bad luck'. I was amused but also intrigued. My friend's response to the breaking of the mirror was highly instinctive.

People all over the word attribute bad luck to the breaking of a mirror, including death in the family within the following year. Mirror superstitions probably arose from the time when the first humans saw their reflections in a pool of water and once they had got over their initial shock of seeing someone or something, believed that the image was their soul or spirit and to endanger it would mean risking injury to the other self. Also since ancient times mirrors were said to have magical powers, including the power to foretell the future and were considered to be devices of the gods. Thus, breaking a mirror would end its powers and bring untold miseries and misfortunes upon the one whose reflection it last held.

As for the seven-year period, the ancient Romans believed that life renewed itself every seven years. If the person looking into the mirror was of ill-health, his image would break the mirror and the run of bad luck would continue for seven years, at the end of which their life would be renewed, ending the curse.

But if you do not wish seven years of ill-luck, a variety of remedies are available to counter the curse of the mirror, including some crazy ones like taking all the pieces and throwing them into running water or pounding the broken mirror into tiny fragments so that no piece can ever reflect anything or taking the pieces outside & burying them in moonlight. There is also help for those who are too lazy or too busy, just leave the breakage the way it was for seven hours and then clean it up immediately after the hours are up.

Some other bizarre measures include lighting seven white candles on the first night after breaking the mirror and blowing them out at midnight in one breath, while another is touching a tombstone with a piece of the mirror to life the curse (time of the day or night when this is to be done is not known)
Perhaps the easiest counter-remedy is to take a five-dollar bill and make the sign of the cross, though it is not clear as to what is to be done with the five-dollar bill post the exorcization.

And just in case you need to look at a few more options, here they are:
  • Throw salt over your shoulder.
  • Turn around three times counter-clockwise immediately after breaking the mirror.
  • Burn the mirror, or at least blacken the pieces in the flames of a fire. The fragments should be buried after a year.
Some other mirror superstitions are:
  • Never see your face in a mirror by candlelight, it is unlucky to do so, (especially if you are not very good-looking and have a weak heart).
  • If you stare into a mirror by candlelight you might see the spirit of a loved one who has passed away.
  • Always cover a mirror during a thunderstorm as it is unlucky to see reflected lightning.
  • Breaking uncolored glass in any form other than that of a mirror or a bottle is considered to be good omen.
  • It is considered a bad omen to receive a mirror as a present. (now you know what presents to give to some really close friends!)
  • If a mirror in the house falls and breaks on its own, someone in the house will die soon.
  • A baby should never be shown its own reflection before it is a year old, else it will stutter or would not grow bigger than it is or die before it turns one.
  • Many families cover a mirror if someone dies, as they believe that the mirror will capture the dead person's soul, thus preventing its entry into heaven. It is believed that the Devil invented mirrors for this purpose.
  • And if someone sees their reflection in a room where someone has recently died, they will die soon too.
  • It is said that if your soul wanders during the night, a mirror can capture it. Thus some people avoid having mirrors in the bedroom or cover them before sleeping.
  • A bride should never see herself in a mirror while fully dressed just before the wedding.
  • It is also said that mirrors should be hung high enough so that the tallest member of the house can see his or her head, else it will cause them headaches.
  • Having a large number of mirrors in the home is considered lucky, this could be because mirrors are known to deflect evil and attract good.
  • The mirror is also a symbol of money. A mirror besides the dining room and kitchen will see to it that you always have wealth and food in your house.
  • Also, as seen in movies, vampires have no reflection. This is because it is said that when you see your image, you are in fact seeing your soul and vampires don't have one.
Whatever the superstitions attached to mirrors, none of us can prevent ourselves from gazing into a mirror whenever we see one... touch up the hair a bit, smoothen down the shirt, and oh no, is that a zit on my face?
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