| Maneki-neko good luck charms originated in Japan, but they are often present in Chinese shops and restaurants.|
Ian Willms for the New York Times.
From the New York Times:
Friday the 13th isn’t universally feared. Many countries disregard it.
In Greece and some Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesday the 13th is the dreaded day.
It’s Friday the 17th in Italy.
The number four is unlucky in parts of Asia — its pronunciation in several languages is close to the word 'death,
making April 4 (4/4) a day to stay inside.
A maneki-neko, a cute charm showing a cat with a raised paw, is used to ward off the bad luck.
Other animals believed to combat bad omens include pigs. In Germany, marzipan pigs are given as gifts on New Year’s Eve.
And if a cricket is chirping in your house, don’t kill it. The insects are viewed as harbingers of wealth in many parts of the world.
Magpies have great significance in Britain. Seeing a single magpie can be bad luck, it is believed, though saluting one can ward off ill fortune. But if you spot a group, you may be in luck, according to an old nursery rhyme that goes:
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.