Historically, it has been believed that spilling salt will bring a person bad luck. More so than bringing bad luck, it is an invitation to let the devil in. Origins of this superstition may date back to ancient times, as salt was used in early rituals and practices. In many cultures it was believed to be a powerful magical substance.
At one time salt was a very expensive trading commodity, and spilling was considered wasteful and frowned upon. This could have brought fear to the person who spilled it. Also, there is a connection that spilled salt is unlucky because Judas is portrayed as the one spilling the salt in DaVinci’s painting of the “Last Supper.”
There is yet another Christian belief ascribed to this superstition. It is believed that good spirits exist on the right-hand side and that the devil is seated at the left-hand side of God. So, when we spill salt, it is important to throw the salt with our right hand over our left shoulder to keep the devil, evil and bad luck off of our backs and behind us.
To find out about other superstitions, visit the Superstition Room.