There are a lot of funny superstitions surrounding umbrellas, and here at the Umbrella Shop, we’ve heard them all! But the most popular of all is the idea that it’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. Some tales say that you’ll experience seven years of bad luck, like breaking a mirror. Others say that the offence will result in years of rain (we wouldn’t mind that!) and others say it promises an early death, which we think is a little nuts. Besides, you have to open your umbrella indoors each time you dry it (make sure you do this!) to prevent mould on the fabric. But it got us to thinking…where does this superstition come from?
There are two schools of though on the “indoor umbrella theory.” In an early post, we noted that umbrellas are said to have originated in Egypt, where they were originally used as protection from the sun, not rain. Because of this, opening an umbrella indoors was considered a slight to the Sun Gods, and you wouldn’t want that!
But the other origin of the urban legend comes from the eighteenth century, when umbrellas were becoming popular in London, England. Scientist and author, Charles Panati, notes that with the new mechanisms and metal springs on rickety early umbrellas, it was quite literally dangerous to open them indoors, should someone lose an eye (perhaps that’s where the saying comes from!) with a popped spring or errant piece of metal.
Ultimately, we have to say that we feel this superstition is a bunch of bologna. Each time a customer comes to check out our umbrellas, we open them up to showcase the fine work, or we hang them from the ceiling or spin them in the air! If bad things happened every time someone opened an umbrella indoors, we’d have no staff or miserable staff, and many stay with us for many years so something has to be working!