The Reason Opening An Umbrella Indoors Is Considered Bad Luck

Umbrellas. They just kind of go with the word "dapper." Occasionally they get repurposed, so to speak — think of Colin Firth's acrobatics with a bumbershoot in Kingsman: The Secret Service, which certainly proved unlucky to his opponents, though to be fair, that was a very special umbrella. Don't forget John Steed's umbrella with a rapier core in The Avengers (the sixties British TV version, not the Marvel ones), and of course, DC's the Penguin is known to wield numerous deadly umbrellas in numerous iterations of Batman. Then there's The Umbrella Academy, with its distinctive logo, as well as Mary Poppins, arriving via a flight-enabled, parrot-headed umbrella. 

For some reason, though, society has long held the opinion that opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck. Why?

To no one's surprise, historians disagree on the why and the when. Live Science suggests that while some believe the superstition dates back to the ancient invention of umbrella-type devices in ancient Egyptian times, it's likely that any old beliefs regarding pharaohs and sunshades weren't related to those surrounding modern(ish) rain gear. Remember that umbrellas didn't start out as rain protection, but rather, for shade from the sun. However, when did the modern "bad luck" myth start? 

Do not open these indoors

The best guess is that the modern superstition against opening an umbrella indoors dates back to Victorian England, according to Live Science, because that is when umbrellas began to become a commonplace accessory for both men and women. For one thing, this was the point where umbrellas became a standard item of the well-dressed English businessman, which makes sense, since it does rain rather a lot in London. It was in 1852 that umbrellas began to be manufactured with steel frames, according to Schirm Oertel, rather than heavy wood or even bone, which greatly reduced the weight. 

What about the superstition, though? Besides the proliferation of the item, it probably had to do with carelessness and small rooms. Opening an umbrella heedlessly could easily knock something fragile from a shelf or break dishes. Perform the task too close to another human being and, yes, there's a good chance that you'll put someone else's eye out. ... and you didn't need a Red Ryder BB Gun to do it. That would come later.