Monday, July 9, 2012

Russian superstitions.

  Superstitions and weird beliefs still thrive in Russia. How many times have I heard “Don't whistle in the house!” because otherwise there won't be any money in this house. Or “My ears are hot. Someone must be berating me!” And I'm not kidding, people actually believe in these kinds of things. Not everyone though – most of my friends are less superstitious than my aunts and uncles. Hopefully one day whistling inside of the house will no longer be forbidden, because these restrictions are quite annoying to me :).

There are tons of superstitions in Russia, some of them are regional and rare, some are more common. I'll list here only those that I heard constantly when living in Moscow.

  • If you drop a fork, you'll have guests, probably male.
  • Hiccups mean someone is thinking about you right now.
  • It's a bad sign to give something over a threshold, both people should be either outside or inside.
  • If you break a mirror, there will be seven years of misfortune.
  • If you break dishes, something good will happen.
  • But do not keep broken dishes – that would only bring misfortune. Even if there is a tiny crack on a cup, you have to throw it. Even if you really really like it...
  • Rain before traveling means your trip will be safe.
  • If a black cat crosses your path, something bad will happen. To protect yourself from it you should hold a button on your clothes when you meet a black cat.

This is a dangerous kitty! :)

  • It's a bad sign to put an empty bottle on the table, always put them on the floor.
  • Don't step over someone lying or sitting, or otherwise their growth will stop. To reverse it, step backwards over that person.
  • If you step on someone's foot, there will be a quarrel. To reverse it they should lightly step on your toes a couple of times.
  • The way you meet New Year is how the whole year will be for you, i.e. if you were alone when the new year started, you'll be lonely for the whole year. Ouch. Maybe that's why Russians eat a lot in that night? To make the year plentiful :).
  • If a stork makes a nest on someone's roof, it will bring luck or lots of money to people living in that house.
  • Killing a spider is a bad sign. Lucky spiders!
  • If you wear clothes inside out, a cat will scratch you.
  • If someone doesn't recognize you, you'll be rich. Just like that!
  • Don't keep reedmace inside of your house, it'll bring bad luck. My mother made me throw one away - being a part of herbarium does not save you from the mighty Russian superstitions.

I really wonder how these pagan things survived in an Orthodox country :).

One more thing. Here is what I found in Wikipedia:

“When you have alcohol, it must be drunk until it is gone.
One should not put a glass with alcohol back on the table.
Traditionally alcohol is poured out to all the people present, though they are not required to drink.
One should not make a long interruption between first and second shots.”

That explains a lot. :D


  1. Hi Ekaterina
    Such an interesting post!! As you may know, there is a Japanese superstition. When you whistle at night, a snake will appear.( A ghost will appear)

    1. Hi, Annie!
      I wonder what is better - to attract a snake/a ghost with your whistling or to become poor? :)

  2. Natacha-Tatiana21 July, 2013 17:33

    Hello there,

    I must say that I laughed a lot with these superstitions, especially while reading your comments. I live in Russia for a couple years now and I can CONFIRM that I recognized most of them, so... they are still current! :-)

    And about whistling - just know that in France, where I come from: "Whistle at night, and you will hear the DEVIL whistling behind you" :-D

    вот так вот :-)

    1. Hello!

      I truly realized how ridiculous these superstitions are only when I started telling non-Russians about them. :) It's nice to get a fresh perspective on familiar matters.


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