This belief is thought to have originated back in Ancient Egypt. Parasols or umbrellas that provide shade were only to be used by the Pharaohs, other royals, and scribes. In addition to protecting the royal skin from the Sun, the Egyptians believed that parasols protected the high ranking people from evil spirits. To open a parasol indoors or beneath any shade might offend Ra, the Sun God. I wonder how the Egyptians rationalized these contradictory beliefs.
There’s another opinion that links the superstition to England in the 1700s when rain resistant umbrellas with metal struts became widely available. The devices were rather large and difficult to deploy. The umbrellas posed a hazard to people and things within range of an opened umbrella. Because of the possibility of injury and damage from the spring-loaded, fast opening accessory, it seemed like common sense to keep an umbrella folded indoors, even without the superstition.
Oddly enough, it was not considered bad luck if the umbrella was opened upside down to allow it to dry following use after the umbrella had been first opened outdoors in the rain.
One of my cousins is a strong believer in the opened umbrella indoors curse. She says that opening an umbrella inside the home upsets the benevolent spirits that protect the home and results in attracting poltergeists. She says that an umbrella opened indoors also insults her guardian angels, thus allowing misfortune to occur.
My cousin also claims that using black umbrellas reminds people of mourners in a cemetery. Witnesses of such a sight think about the deaths of loved ones which brings about unpleasant emotions. There may be some merit to this because death is a taboo subject.
This old superstition is powerful and resilient because it is widely still believed by people in general society even if the origins of the belief are not known. I’m guessing the most practical skeptic still feels a twinge if she sees somebody opening an umbrella indoors.
Even though a practical, rational person thinks the notion of bad luck umbrella opening is silly, a part of her mind reacts reflexively. Many of us also flash on a similar thought when we first encounter a black cat.
The human mind is a powerful entity. Once we become attached to an idea or concept, it’s hard to let go of it. This is especially true if the belief is socially reinforced by folk wisdom.
Have you noticed that today is the 13th day of the month? There is the very popular notion that 13 is a highly inauspicious number. This is also March, the month of the Roman God of War and Power. There are a lot of beliefs surrounding Mars. It was thought that if Mars was happy that peace would occur. It is during peacetime that civilizations grow and prosper.
My cousin believes that when Mars intersects with the number 13, that people should beware of bad luck. This is an arcane superstition. I’m not sure where my cousin learned about it or if it is a belief she deduced by mentally linking Mars and 13. In any case, it could be a compelling notion for those who believe it.
I can only guess that the Mars and 13 hypothesis might be a reason that Thomas Knibb chose this date for the obscure holiday, Open An Umbrella Indoors Day. Supposedly Knibb created the commemoration as a way that people can disprove this and other popular superstitions.
In order to celebrate the holiday, you need to open an umbrella inside of a building or your house. Keep a journal of any unusually inauspicious events that happen to you during the rest of the month.
Do you believe something unfortunate will happen to you because you dare to open an umbrella indoors?