This is part of a collection of some of the richest Mexican traditions (chock-full of expressions) that so many, including myself now, cherish:
Echar la sal (“to throw the salt”): an expression meaning to bring bad luck or to jinx.
You can jinx others, “echar la sal a otros”, and they can jinx you, “Ellos me echaron la sal” (they jinxed me).
How is it that salt takes on the meaning of BAD LUCK? What’s tequila without a lime and salt? What’s fruit without chili powder and salt, or a michelada beer? Or any Mexican dish for that matter? Mexico boasts the world’s largest salt-making facility and many other large-scale salt productions areas like the one in the Mexican state of Colima on the Pacific coast.
Looking back in time, possessing salt meant money and power. It was used as currency among some Mayan cultures, and the Aztecs waged war for control of salt mines and protected aggressively its trading routes. With the arrival of the Spanish, salt was further exploited massively in large-scale industries and had religious significance in the Catholic church. Therefore, spilling the salt meant a true loss of money, plus religious misuse was related to the devil. The superstición of, “throwing the salt”, equals losing in general, or evil to come.
How can you protect yourself if you literally and accidentally, “echar la sal”? Many Mexicans will tell you to throw a pinch of the sal over your left shoulder where the devil is lurking. Some also say that you can echar a little agua on the sal and wash it away.
The next time you do something important in front of your peers, you may want to tell them, “no me echen la sal”, so that you will be sure to fulfill your objectives with good luck on your side. Yet, if you want to have someone to blame afterwards you could say that it turned out poorly because someone jinxed you,“Salió mal porque me echaron la sal”.
If you like this post, please forward it or share it on social media, muchas gracias.
I also invite you now to try writing your own examples. You can send them to me and I’ll check them over for accuracy and send you back comments and corrections.