The French and superstition – IFOP

The key figures

While La Française Des Jeux organizes on Friday May 13 (the only one of the year) a super lottery of 13 million euros, what relationship does the population have with regard to this popular event which brings together more and more national lottery fans. On the occasion of this “national ritual”, the French demonstrate their attachment to the number 13, the strong symbolic charge of which is symptomatic of the strong attachment of the French to catalysts of luck and superstition. This is what this Ifop study shows more broadly, which questioned the French on their relationship to luck and more generally to the “superstitious”, so many irrational phenomena which have been growing steadily for twenty years.

  • More and more French people tend to attach importance to Friday the 13th sincea third of them (31%) believe in its positive impacta result in 7 point increase since 2014.
  • This is due to the fact that the number 13 occupies an important place in France in popular beliefs. They are, in fact, almost one in three French people (26%) who attach importance to the number 13 in their daily life, a result which increased 3 points in two years, a sign of a strong anchoring of this belief. This “magic” number turns out to be an essential and transversal element of popular culture, as shown by this other result of the survey: 22% dread eating at 13 at the table.
  • While the “13” can be perceived as an element of misfortune as well as luck by the French, the latter do not hesitate to find other means of bearing their bad luck. In effect, this study reveals the importance of the notion of luck in public opinion. Yes seven out of ten French people (71%) feel unluckyrecourse to superstition is fundamental for more than two-thirds of people: 69% believe in at least one positive superstition (four-leaf clover, knock on wood, shooting star, etc.). So many beliefs in perpetual rise for almost thirty years: a third of French people (30%) say they are superstitiousan increase of 7 points since 1990.
  • The magnitude of the luck phenomenon and the superstition phenomenon is in a more global context of the increase of the paranormal in the population, a dynamic particularly driven by the younger generations. Indeed, various studies on the subject have recorded a constant and structural increase in belief in the paranormal over the past 20 years: belief in astrology has increased by 11 points (44%), deciphering the lines of the hand has saw his number of followers increase by 15 points, witchcraft by 11 points and clairvoyance by 14 points (32%).

The point of view of Louise Jussian, in charge of “Politics and current affairs” studies at Ifop and author of a note to the Jean Jaurès Foundation “The truth is elsewhere? Clairvoyance, witchcraft, astrology »

Far from being the obscure and marginal phenomenon that one might imagine, the belief in the paranormal and the superstitious constitutes a majority phenomenon in constant increase in the population. The author Marie-Charlotte Delmas said that “Man is a superstitious animal”, and the results of this study illustrate this. If France has always been a country imbued with many popular beliefs, the matrix of the materialistic and hyper-rational post-war society seems to be crumbling in favor of a more spiritual society where the various beliefs long taboo are increasingly more assumed.

And if the relationship to these beliefs is based on a strongly gendered dynamic, we can see the impact of the patriarchal context in which some women seek to have more control over their future and to find an explanation for various situations.

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The French and superstition – IFOP

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