Danes are known as a sensible bunch, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their superstitions.
For instance, did you know that nearly 40 percent of Danes believe in ghosts? Or that 70 percent of them say that they knock under the table while saying 7-9-13? It’s true.
Here are ten of the weirdest Danish superstitions.
OK, so the belief that a broken mirror brings bad luck is hardly unique to the Danes. In fact, this one has been around since ancient Romans, the very first people to make glass mirrors. They believed that a mirror could capture one’s soul and thus an image distorted by a broken mirror would also mean that the viewer’s very soul had been corrupted.
Coming to Copenhagen to spend a night in the best hotel in Northern Europe? Don’t expect to stay in room 13. Like most Danish hotels, you won’t find a room or 13 in Hotel D’Angleterre, where a spokesperson told Religion.dk in 2013 that “everyone should have a good experience when they stay with us and there are still people who don’t think it’s fun to sleep in room 13”. And when those customers are paying as much as 42,000 kroner a night to stay at D’Angleterre, the hotel is wise to cater to their demands.
While many cultures have superstitions about the number 13, Danes have one that adds two extra numbers to the equation.
When a Dane says something like “I’m so glad my grandmother still has her health” or “I think I really aced that job interview today”, they’ll follow it up by saying “7-9-13 (syv-ni-tretten) and three knocks on wood – one for each number.
Where does this superstition come from?
Well, the science site Videnskab offers the “annoying answer” that it is “a strange combination of lucky and unlucky numbers that were put together for a reason that no one knows by unknown people.” Thanks a lot, that clears it right up.