There are countess superstitions about salt. In the world of the superstitious salt certainly has had a major impact.
Who hasn’t heard that spilling salt is most unlucky? The only way to turn your luck around is to take a pinch of salt and throw it over your left shoulder. This would hopefully keep the evil spirit away. It was important that it was the left shoulder as it was believed your guardian angel was behind your right shoulder. You certainly wouldn’t want to harm your guardian angel. In the painting “The Last Supper” Leonardo da Vinci Judas is shown spilling the salt. Some say this show that the spilling of salt superstition is quite old indeed.
Salt has a long tradition as a protective omen. During the 19th century England it was not uncommon to sprinkle salt in every room of a new home before moving bringing in the furniture. This was believed to protect the home form evil spirits.
It has also been reported that salt is most effective to keep away unwanted company. If you had a visitor in your home and preferred that the particular caller not return, you simple sprinkle salt on the floor and doorstep immediately after that person leaves. Sweep up the salt and then burn it. You should not receive another visit from the unwanted guest.
In Buddhist folk tradition it was common to throw salt over your shoulder before entering your home when returning from a funeral. You could never be sure evil spirits were not following you from the funeral site. The salt would scare them away and prevent them from entering your home.
In Europe it was common many places to put salt in the coffin of the deceased to prevent the devil taking possession of the departed.
It was believed to be a really bad omen should you run out of salt. Always keep salt in your home. Many say “Short of salt, short of money”. It is equally bad luck to lend someone salt. Never return salt that has been given to you or both the giver and receiver will have bad luck.
Never pass salt to someone at the table. There are a couple old sayings about this matter; “Pass the salt, pass the sorrow” and “Help me to salt, help me to sorrow”. If someone at the table needs the salt, be sure to set the salt down and let the other person pick it up for himself.
There are also superstitions about salt and fishermen. If one were to throw some salt on a fisherman it would certainly bring him luck.
In Ancient Rome, it was believed salt would protect newborns from evil demons and on the eighth day after birth the child would be rubbed with salt.
As late as the 19th century it was believed salt could protect newborn children in Britain. A small bundle of salt wrapped up in cloth could be placed in the cradle to protect a child who was not yet baptized. Equally a little salt was placed in the pocket of the baby’s clothes for protection the first time the infant left the house.
To this day many people around the globe still believe in the magic powers of salt. Some people in Asia still insist to have a small bag of salt in their car to ensure a safe journey.