Doors, folklore and superstition

By their nature, doors act as a threshold between one place and another. This is one reason why they hold great symbolic significance in different cultures. Let’s take a look at some of the superstitions and beliefs associated with doors.

The significance of colour

Ideas regarding the symbolism of different colours exist in cultures all over the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, door colours have also been a topic of much discussion. Many people believe that painting a door red is a sign of energy and vitality. Some people also see it as a very welcoming colour. In fact, some folklore traditions suggest that a red door indicates a hospitable home. In modern culture the colour has also been linked to confidence and socialising. In Chinese New Year celebrations, it’s traditional to paint the front door of the home red. Painting the door this colour is thought to encourage good fortune.

Many other door colours have beliefs and superstitions attached to them. Yellow is thought to represent positivity and brightness. Some people also believe it is linked to intelligence and creativity. White is often associated with cleanliness, freshness, and clarity. For this reason, some people decide to paint their doors white, when entering a new phase in life. Many people also believe that a white door indicates simplicity, neatness, and organisation within.

Front or back

A lot of folklore and superstition exists around the use of front and backdoors. In some cultures, it is thought to be very unlucky to enter the house by the backdoor. It is thought to be particularly unlucky after an important life event such as a wedding or moving house. On such occasions, many people prefer to enter the home through the front door. It’s thought that this might relate to the tradition of carrying the deceased out via the backdoor. Interestingly, in different cultures this is reversed. The deceased are carried out through the front door and entering through the same door on important occasions is seen as bad luck.

Some superstitions say that you should always leave and re-enter a home through the same door. It is also widely believed that carrying a bride across the threshold of the home brings good luck.

Porches and entryways

Porches and entryways act as an extension to the home’s threshold. For this reason, quite a lot of folklore also exists around these areas. For example, it’s not unusual to see good luck symbols hung in porches, above the door. A horseshoe is a popular choice. Often, these are hung with the two free ends pointing upwards. Some people believe that this prevents the good luck from falling out.

In some cultures, porches are decorated with white lights to encourage good fortune. It has also been said that a broom falling across the doorway indicates a journey for the inhabitant. If this is good news, it’s believed that they should pick the broom up, rather than step over it.

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[Photo by Efraim Stochter] Tags: , ,