Many may not know the origin of cultural superstitions because they were passed down through generations. But every culture has its respective theories. These ideologies often date back to ancient civilizations, which have ingrained them into beliefs throughout the African American community.

Over time, several of these practices and views — dealing with material goods, nature, and more — have become integrated into daily life.

Below are nine notable superstitions African Americans have believed to be true for centuries and the history behind them.

1. Eating collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is good luck

According to historian and food scholar Adrian Miller, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread, each represent monetary value. Miller’s research shows peas symbolize coins, the healthy veggie represents money, and the bread stands for gold. Native to West Africa, black-eyed peas are believed to have been transported to the United States on the same ships that brought enslaved peoples during the 1600s. The legume, or matured bean, is said to hold the meaning of luck, good energy, and prosperity.

Some say this particular superstition originated from enslaved African Americans, who included the food in their celebrations on January 1, 1863, to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation. Others believe it dates further back into the Civil War. Since it was considered food for animals during the war, it is said black-eyed peas are all that was left after Union troops ambushed a Confederate army’s camp. Luckily, it was sufficient to carry them through the winter, which is why it is now associated with good fortune.

2. Opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck

It’s suspected that the foundation of this myth emerged from ancient Egyptian beliefs dating back to 1200 BC, as reported by Reader’s Digest. Archeologists have discovered paintings and other art that suggest an open umbrella indoors would upset the divine being known as Ra, the sun god of the African country.

3. Knocking on wood for good luck or to avoid negative outcomes

The exact root of this superstition hasn’t been uncovered, as there is more than one possible way it could have been introduced. Generally, it seems to stem from religious practices, per The Celtic peoples worshiped spirits and gods they thought lived in trees. So, knocking on tree trunks was believed to ensure positive outcomes or call on the higher powers for security from evil. For Christians, the practice is connected to the wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified. Another alternative includes a 19th-century British tag game called “Tiggy Touchwood,” which folklorist Steve Roud believes the term “knock on wood” came from.

4. If the sun is shining while it’s raining, the Devil is beating his wife

This folk tale is more of a saying common to the Southern region of North America. However, according to The Idioms, it was allegedly first stated in a French stage play in 1703. The idiom was later used by writer Jonathan Swift in 1738 before it was mentioned again in Richard Inwards’ book Weather Lore.

5. It’s bad luck to place your purse on the floor

This ingrained belief, mostly heard from grandmothers and other elderly women, actually comes from Chinese culture. “A purse on the floor is money out the door,” an ancient proverb states, meaning it’s bad Feng Shui to place your purse on the ground because it shows a lack of respect for the “order of things.” In addition, the action could symbolize an indifference to finances, since purses usually hold valuable items including money.

6. If your ears are ringing, someone is talking about you

More than 2,000 years ago, Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder crafted an encyclopedia for “Natural History” containing a theory of the Middle Ages, per Daily Sabah. The belief stated that if someone’s ears were ringing, medically known as tinnitus, they were being discussed among the angels.

7. If a dream includes fish, someone is pregnant

The origin of this folklore wasn’t easy to discover. Fish have been a common theme in many cultures and entertainment as they’ve been included in art, books, films and more. When reproducing, they release a ton of eggs — up to 1,000 a minute. Since fish are fruitful during reproduction, it was deemed a sign of fertility when they appear in someone’s, particularly a woman's, dream.

8. A bird flying into a home means bad luck or death

The Celtic culture believed that birds — more specifically crows and ravens — were a sign of sickness or death. Whether a bird made it inside or came near the outside of a home, it foreshadowed someone in the family would soon suffer from bad luck or pass away.

9. If your hand itches, you’ll receive money

According to Vedic astrology, which originated in India as a cultural element of Hinduism scriptures, itching palms could signify either good or bad fortune. Per Hindu mythology, itching in the right palm means abundance, while the left palm symbolizes the departure of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, fertility, and prosperity. When the deity is near, the right hand itches. When she is absent, the left hand does.