Leaving an umbrella opened up to dry inside your home or office might make you feel a tad uneasy, but you’re not alone in feeling that uneasiness. Opened an umbrella indoors is right up there as s harbinger of bad luck alongside breaking a mirror & a black cat crossing your path. While the beginnings of the superstition aren’t exactly certain, there are some theories as to how & why it began.
One suggests it started around 1200 BCE, when ancient Egyptian priests & royalty used umbrellas made of peacock feathers & papyrus to shield them from the sun. Reader’s Digest says the superstition may have stemmed from a belief that opening an umbrella indoors, away from the sun’s rays, could anger the sun god, Ra, and generate negative consequences.
Another theory revolves around a different ancient Egyptian deity: Nut, who was the goddess of the sky. According to HowStuffWorks, early umbrellas were made to mirror (and honor) the way Nut protected the Earth, so their shade was considered sacred. And, if anybody with non-noble blood used one, that person allegedly became walking, talking bad luck.
Today, though, we try to refrain from opening umbrellas indoors more to prevent & avoid injury rather than divine wrath. Contemporary umbrellas gained popularity during the Victorian era with Samuel Fox’s invention of the steel-ribbed Paragon frame, which included a spring mechanism that allowed it to expand quickly (and dangerously). Since opening a rigidly-spoked umbrella suddenly within a confined space could seriously injure an adult or child, or shatter delicate objects, the superstition arose as a way to caution folks from opening umbrellas indoors.
So, even if opening one indoors doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cursed, getting poked in the eye by an umbrella can certainly make you feel like you’ve got bad luck.
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