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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: Italian Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 4 - Breaking a Mirror and a Little Red Horn. I'm Becky and I'm joined by Daniele.
Daniele: Ciao! Hi, I'm Daniele.
Becky: In this lesson we’ll talk about two common superstitions in Italy. The first superstition is about bad luck. What’s the superstition called in Italian?
Daniele: rompere uno specchio
Becky: Which literally means "breaking a mirror." Daniele, can you repeat the Italian phrase again?
Daniele: [slow] rompere uno specchio [normal] rompere uno specchio
Becky: In Italy, it's believed that if you break a mirror, you'll have 7 years of bad luck.
Daniele: I broke one when I was a child, and I was terrified… But I don’t know where this superstition comes from.
Becky: One possible explanation is in ancient Rome. The Romans believed that when a person looked into a mirror, their soul was transferred into it.
Daniele: As a result, if the mirror was damaged, the soul would be damaged, too.
Becky: More likely it’s because mirrors were once very precious, and breaking one was a heavy loss. By the way, did you have 7 years of bad luck after breaking the mirror?
Daniele: No, I don’t think so!
Becky: The second superstition is about good luck. What’s the superstition about and what’s it called in Italian?
Daniele: cornetto rosso
Becky: Which literally means "little red horn." Let’s hear it in Italian again.
Daniele: [slow] cornetto rosso [normal] cornetto rosso
Becky: Another superstition with horns.
Daniele: In Italy, especially in the South, a little horn is considered an amulet of good luck.
Becky: I think I’ve seen it. It resembles a chili pepper, and it's usually red.
Daniele: Right, it can also be made of gold or silver.
Becky: People may wear it for protection against the evil eye or hang it in the car to prevent accidents.
Daniele: Right. A friend of mine collects these horns, and he has some in his car too.


Becky: There you have it - two Italian superstitions! Are they similar to any of your country’s superstitions? Let us know in the comments!
Daniele: A presto!