There are many superstitions involving mirrors. The broken mirror is probably the focus of more superstitions than any other subject is. Breaking a mirror is supposed to bring seven years of bad luck. These stories evolved from the times when people used water as a mirror. They looked into the water to see their fates. If the image was distorted, the viewer would die. The beliefs changed, as the mirror changed form. The seven year’s bad luck seems to have evolved from the ancient Rome belief that seven years was the time period it took for a soul to renew itself. The Romans are also responsible for little known remedy useful for anyone who breaks a mirror – the only way that you could overcome the seven years bad luck is to bury the broken mirror pieces very deeply in the ground.
Many families cover all mirrors in the house if someone dies. This is to prevent the soul’s deceased from getting trapped in the mirror. In some ancient cultures when a loved one was murdered, died in a horrible accident or died from suffering from unrequited love, all mirrors must be covered, because the spirit of dead would be hanging about, looking for a body to posses in order to resolve a important issues before moving on. If a mirror in the house falls from a wall and breaks on its own, it means someone is going to die. Vampires and witches are not supposed to show reflection in mirrors because they have no souls. It does consider bad luck to see your face in a mirror by candlelight. If you looked at a mirror by candlelight you might see the spirit of a loved person who has died. Actors believe its bad luck to see their reflection in a mirror while looking over another’s shoulder. If you want to know what your future husband looks like, you sit down in front of a mirror and eat an apple. After that you start brushing your hair, and an image of your future beloved will appear behind your shoulder in the mirror’s reflection.
There are two good sources for the origins of the superstitions surrounding mirrors. First, people often attributed the supernatural links to things that they do not understand. Mirrors are believed to posses a power beyond the natural, a reflection of the truth, and so became a repository which is handy for many mystical and supernatural ideas. A scare tactic was the other origin. In old times, mirrors were very expensive, especially not high quality, defect-free mirrors that are taken for granted today and it was a handy mechanism to attribute seven years of bad luck to their destruction. Broken Mirror – Is Breaking a Mirror Bad Luck? People often think that breaking a mirror may bring you bad luck for 7 years.
Mirror superstitions probably evolved from the time when the first humans saw their reflections in a pool of water, believed that the image in a water was their actual soul and to endanger it would mean risking injury to the other self. It was the Romans who tagged to the broken mirror a sign of seven years bad luck. The length of the prescribed misfortune came from the ancient Roman belief that it took seven years for life to renew itself. In old times, mirrors were not cheap and they were low quality and easily defected. In order to avoid negligence it was told that breaking a mirror bring seven years of bad luck. A variety of remedies are available to break the spell of misfortune. The Romans are also responsible for little known measure for avoiding the curse useful for anyone who breaks a mirror. Some other remedies include lighting seven white candies 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 broken piece of the mirror to avoid the bad luck. Perhaps the easiest counter-remedy is to make the sign of the cross by a five-dollar bill, but what is to be done with the five-dollar bill after that it is not known. The ancient Greeks, Hebrews and Egyptians produced mirrors made out of silver, gold, brass or bronze, which were unbreakable.
These early mirrors were considered extremely valuable and possessed mystical attributes. Almost universally, this superstition includes that the bad luck would last for seven years. The origin of this belief stems from an early interpretation in Roman times that each person’s body undergoes a physical regeneration every seven years. A broken mirror signified a break in the person’s health and well-being, going back to the theory of the mirror being the reflection of the soul. In 15th century Venice, Italy, when glass mirrors backed by silver coating were first produced, they were prohibitively expensive. Servants of the wealthy, who most often would be in the position of cleaning or moving a mirror, could never afford its replacement, if broken. The punishment or threat of breaking a mirror became that of having to serve for seven years as an indentured servant to the mirror’s owner. During the mid-1600s, when England and France were finally able to manufacture mirrors inexpensively, the superstition about bad luck and broken mirrors was already solidified in the culture. It is noted that one way to avoid the bad luck associated with breaking a mirror is to take the broken pieces and bury them underground and under the moonlight. To find out about other superstitions, visit the Superstition Room.