10 Popular Nigerian Superstitions You Should Know

Nigerian superstitions
Written by Robin Okwanma

Growing up in Nigeria, you’ll hear of countless superstitions. Some of these beliefs stick even when you’re an adult. Most Nigerian superstitions are built on fear of things we just couldn’t explain.

Most of these beliefs were widespread more in the 90’s and early 21st century. Now, most of these superstitions are laughed at and used as jokes. But there are people who still strongly believe…..

Here are, 10 Popular Nigerian Superstitions You Should Know.

Seeing the dead

It has been going on for some time that if you open your eyes in an upside down position, you might see a ghost or spirit. The most famous way is bending and looking through between your legs in a market or quiet place. This was also a way used to know if the person standing close to you is a spirit or not. (Their legs do not touch the ground when you’re looking in the above mentioned way)

Evil Creatures with Bad Omens

Yes, most cultures around the world have that animal that signifies bad luck. In Nigeria if you see an owl hooting at night, that is a strong “bad omen”. Do you think cats were cute? In Nigeria cats also signifies a whole lot of bad things. That’s why you rarely see a cat as a pet in Nigeria and when you do, it usually weird.

Whistling at Night

Whistling at night is believed in most parts of Nigeria to attract bad spirits.

Eating in the Dark

It’s believed that eating in the dark can attract evil spirits who might join you for the meal.

A Ghost’s Call

Wait, did you hear someone call your name? you’re sure you did but you did not see who called you. Guess what, you just answered a ghost or bad spirit.


If you sneeze continuously, it is believed someone, somewhere is calling your name or talking about you.

Sweeping Backwards

If you sweep backwards, you’re bringing in bad luck and evil into your house.

Walking Backwards

Walking backwards is considered to invite bad luck, as it’s seen as moving in the opposite direction of progress.


When sleeping, never sleep with your legs crossed at the ankle, it attracts the devil. Never sleep flat on your back, you’ll be an easy target for demons to possess.

Mirrors and Witches

Do not look into a mirror at night or else you’ll be seen by witches or you will see a spirit.

Feet to Stone

If you strike your left foot on a stone on a way to visit someone, you’ll have bad luck or the person might not be there. If you strike your right foot on a stone on your way to visit someone, you’ll encounter good luck.

Baby Hiccups

If a baby is having hiccups, take a thread from his cloth and place it on his head. This would make the hiccups go away.

Pointing at a Grave

Pointing at a grave is believed to be disrespectful to the dead and can bring misfortune to the person who does it.

Killing a Python

In some Nigerian cultures, the python is considered a sacred animal. Killing one is believed to bring a curse upon the community.

Laughing at a Funeral

Laughing at a funeral is considered a bad omen and disrespectful to the deceased and their family.

Crossing Over Someone’s Legs

If you accidentally cross over someone’s legs, you must cross back over them to avoid bringing bad luck to the person.

Bird Droppings on You

While in some cultures, this is considered good luck, in Nigeria, it’s often seen as a sign that something bad is about to happen.

Breaking a Mirror

Similar to Western superstitions, breaking a mirror in Nigeria is believed to bring seven years of bad luck.

Night Bathing

Taking a bath at night is sometimes believed to expose one to evil spirits.

These superstitions reflect the rich cultural heritage and diversity of Nigeria. While many people still hold these beliefs, others view them as part of folklore and tradition rather than literal truths.


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About the author

Robin Okwanma

Hi, I'm Robin Okwanma. Software Engineer || Django, Python || React, React Native || Blogger. Technical Writer.