Throughout history many different cultures have developed diverse superstitions regarding the roof. It’s quite understandable for them to do so since a roof provides not only shelter from the rain, snow, hail and other elements it also provides comfort and a place to gather under.
Roofing Myths and superstitions come from many different Walks of life and Lots of cultures, Because having a roof is a keystone of survival It’s no surprise that most cultures have superstitions regarding the roof.
you may notice a lot of these superstitions are spiritual, related to ghosts or the heavens, this is most likely because the roof acts as a buffer or barrier between man and the sky. and with the advent of slate roofing, tile roofing and metal roofing that barrier became even more solid.
For instance Japanese Tile Roofing typically features images associated with water, either due to the belief that fire was so scared of water that it would run away upon seeing it, or because it would convince the water to flow off the tile roofing and not through the roof. not only was japanese roofing tile decorated with flowing water images and symbols, but the tiles themselves evoke images of waves upon the sea.
In china, chinese tile roofers would build the Temple Tile Roof curved because, according to chinese tradition, ghosts can only travel in straight lines. Now I know that to me (and most likely you) that means the ghost would ignore the tile roof and just pass right through it without turning, but the chinese seemed to have an image of the ghost using the roofing tiles as a slide and flying to the heavens.
Since i’m not really trying to pick on asians here, in America we don’t just have silly superstitions about never building a 13th floor, have you ever seen those diagonal windows in attics in the northeast? they’re called “Witch Windows” , because apparently witches cannot fly their brooms through tilted windows.
Everywhere has its own silly superstitions about buildings and roofing. some of the ones i’ve listed here are less than 100 years old, it does kind of make you wonder what people will think 100 years from now when they look back at the way we live.