If you’ve ever opened an umbrella indoors only to be told it’s bad luck, you may ponder why. After all, surely it makes more sense to open it BEFORE you go out in the rain? But the superstition dates back many years with some believing it has traditions as far back as ancient Egypt, where they thought that to open an umbrella indoors would offend the sun god Ra as well as the goddess Nut who protected the sky with her umbrella-like form.
The Egyptian’s umbrellas were made from papyrus and feathers and were said to resemble this goddess, and as such were only used for nobility. Even the shadow created by the umbrella itself was considered sacred, and those who broke it by allowing their own form to encroach on its space were deemed to be offending the Gods and Goddesses.
Some, however, believe that the superstition is much newer, citing the 18th century as a useful starting point. This was around the time that the Western world was introduced to waterproof umbrellas with metal supporting spokes. Much larger than those umbrellas found today, it would be a bad idea to open these inside as it would likely break objects or hurt people in the confines of a hall, thus ‘raining’ down bad luck upon its owner. Some only believe that the bad luck occurs if the umbrellas are black so other colors can be opened freely without fear of disaster.
Whatever the history behind the opening of umbrellas inside, it’s sure to remain a superstition for many years to come.