Why Is “Three on a Match” Considered Unlucky?

No one knows for sure, but one explanation traces this superstition back to World War I.

During that war, soldiers spent a lot of time in trenches, watching for an enemy attack and for enemy snipers. Soldiers believed that by lighting a match at night and using it to light three cigarettes, they were giving enemy snipers time enough to aim at the flame and pick off the match holder, or the third person using the match.

So “three on a match” became not only unlucky, but dangerous!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Why Is “Three on a Match” Considered Unlucky?”

  1. Matches cannot be seen in trenches. Three on a match is unlucky because of religion. It comes from an Orthodox Christian rite where during the service three candles in the altar are lit from one source – match, another candle, etc. – by the priest. Ergo, making lighting three of anything from one match a sign of disrespect toward religion.

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