Our families, societies, and cultures teach us how to talk about menstruation (or not) and what we're expected to do (or not do) when we have our periods.
We asked the BuzzFeed Community to share superstitions about what people shouldn't do while menstruating, and we heard from more than 6,000 of you from around the world.
As many of you pointed out in your submissions, some of these aren't widely believed today. None of the responses should be taken to speak for an entire country, culture, group, or religion — there are, of course, many diverse beliefs and practices within each. But here are some of the things readers shared.
1. "In my Mexican upbringing we were told to never attend a funeral on your period, because whatever the person died from could somehow poison your vagina blood and kill you or make you sick." —Anonymous, 23, US
2. "My grandmother believed that if you eat octopus while menstruating your face would be filled with warts." —Inês, 25, Portugal
3. "My mom told me never to have sex on my period or else the baby will be deformed." —Olivia, US
5. "My mom always reminds me to not take a bath while on my period. Apparently, it can make you go literally crazy, 'cause blood flows to your brain." —Krystine, Philippines
6. "In Thai culture it's a big no-no to leave an open pad in the garbage because if lime juice gets on your pad, you get bad luck." —Victoria, 14, Canada
8. "You can't prepare mayonnaise because it sours." —Elena, 30, Spain
10. "Do not ride a horse (its back will break)." —Laura, 24, Lithuania
11. "My father's friend believed if a woman on her period entered the room, the homemade wine would go bad." —Ana, 29, Portugal
12. "You can't touch a newborn because it will leave a mark on them." —Helin, 19, Greece
13. "We're not supposed to hold babies during our periods because it will hurt their bellies." —Mona, Jamaica
14. "The elders once said that a girl on her period should not eat unripe mangoes (because your abdomen will hurt like hell) or jackfruit (because you will die)." —Marivic, Philippines
15. "My grandmother said that during her period, a woman shouldn't do any hard workout, otherwise she won't be able to have babies." —Anonymous, United Arab Emirates
16. "Never walk barefoot because you will get cramps." —Rochelle, 18, South Africa
18. "It's bad to wear sandals or high heels."
19. "My grandma says that if you're on your period you can't go out at night, at least the first day." —Alejandra, 21, Venezuela
20. "Women weren't allowed to go to the sauna during periods."
21. "I come from Poland, and one of the superstitions that we have is to never bake a sponge cake or it's going to turn out flat. 😂" —Angela, 17, UK
22. "Apparently we can't properly whip cream by hand when we are on our period. (I don't whip cream often enough to have noticed if it is true or not.)" —Marie-Ève, 28, Canada (Québec)
23. "You can't touch raw meat or make pasta sauce while on your period or it will go off. (Both superstitions are Italian.)" —Jessica, 19, Australia
24. "I was always told to keep away from the Indian pickled vegetables my mom kept in the cupboard. Apparently if I handled the jars while menstruating I would spoil them." —Harp, 33, Canada
25. "My mother always told me if I cooked for a man while I was on my period, I might get blood in the food. And I would have accidentally 'put the roots on him' and he would never leave me, no matter how trash he might become." —Koyoa, 27, US
26. "My grandmothers used to say that you can't make sweets because they will taste bad, but people don't believe those things anymore." —Luciana, 26, Brazil
27. "Now, I don't give a fuck, but when I was young, I didn't enter the kitchen." —Anonymous, 20, Romania
28. "Oh my god, talk about the Chinese superstitions. It is a widely known and still practiced superstition that women on their period bring bad luck in terms of money (i.e. gambling)." —Natalie, 25, Hong Kong
29. "I wasn't allowed to touch my great-grandmother while on my period, and she would get quite upset if I touched my grandparents." —Anonymous, 20, India
30. "You can't paint your nails or dye your hair if you have your period. Don't use bleach or smell it." —Karen, 19, Dominican Republic
32. "I'm not allowed to wash my hair or drink red pop (it will make you bleed more, or so they say)." —Arrin, 27, Suriname
33. "Don't sit on the ground because it's cold and it can give you strong cramps." —Anonymous, 15, Belgium
34. "Avoid getting punched. You'll bruise easily." —Isabelle, 12, Philippines
35. "You shouldn't drink anything cold because it supposedly delays your period or makes it last longer." —Mahnoor, Pakistan
36. "Don't cut your hair while on your period, and don't have your hair cut by someone who's on their period."
37. "My grandmother used to say you shouldn't wash your hands in cold water during your period because it will hurt more." —Gloria, 20, Croatia
38. "My mom is Mexican. She has many superstitions, like I couldn't hold my newborn baby niece or I'd make her sick. I still held her and plot twist: She was fine." —Angelica, 22, US
Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.