Russian culture is steeped in a variety of superstitions that are still observed by many people today. These beliefs are deeply ingrained in Russian society and have been passed down from generation to generation. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular Russian superstitions and their meanings.
The evil eye is a common superstition in many cultures, including Russia. It is believed that a person can cast an evil eye on someone by giving them too much attention, complimenting them excessively, or showing envy towards them. This can cause the recipient to become ill, have bad luck, or experience other misfortunes.
To protect against the evil eye, Russians often wear a small charm called a “nazar” or “matushka.” These charms are typically blue and white and are thought to ward off evil spirits.
In Russia, it is considered bad luck to whistle indoors. This superstition dates back to the belief that whistling would summon evil spirits into the home. Some people also believe that whistling inside can cause financial difficulties or bring about other misfortunes.
To avoid tempting fate, many Russians refrain from whistling indoors or will immediately stop if they accidentally do so.
Breaking a mirror is considered bad luck in many cultures, and Russia is no exception. It is believed that breaking a mirror can bring seven years of bad luck. This superstition is thought to have originated from the belief that mirrors could trap the soul, and breaking one would release it.
To avoid bad luck, Russians will often bury broken mirrors or place them in running water to “wash away” the bad luck.
In Russian folklore, crows are associated with death and bad luck. It is believed that if you see a group of crows, you should count them. If you count an odd number, it is thought to be a bad omen.
To counteract this superstition, some people will cross themselves or spit over their left shoulder after seeing a group of crows.
Knocking on wood is a common superstition in many cultures, and Russia is no exception. It is believed that knocking on wood will bring good luck and ward off bad luck. This superstition is thought to have originated from the belief that spirits and gods lived in trees.
To invoke good luck, Russians will often knock on wood three times after making a wish or expressing gratitude.
In Russia, it is considered bad luck to leave bread upside down on the table. This superstition dates back to a time when bread was scarce, and wasting it was seen as a sin. Leaving bread upside down was thought to invite poverty and hunger into the home.
To avoid bad luck, Russians will often turn bread right side up and cross themselves before eating it.
In Russia, it is considered good luck to sneeze before starting a new task or activity. This superstition dates back to the belief that sneezing could expel evil spirits from the body.
To acknowledge a sneeze, Russians will often say “Будь здоров” (bude zdorov), which means “Be healthy.”
Black cats are often associated with bad luck in many cultures, and Russia is no exception. It is believed that if a black cat crosses your path, it can bring bad luck or cause harm.
To counteract this superstition, some Russians will spit over their left shoulder or make the sign of the cross after seeing a black cat.
In Russia, it is considered bad luck to put shoes on the table. Thissuperstition is thought to have originated from the belief that shoes were dirty and carried negative energy from the ground. Placing them on the table could contaminate food and bring illness or bad luck.
To avoid this superstition, Russians will often place shoes on the floor or in a designated area away from the table.
New Year’s Eve is a big holiday in Russia, and it is celebrated with a variety of traditions and superstitions. One of the most popular traditions is to write down a wish on a piece of paper, burn it, and then drink the ashes in a glass of champagne. This is thought to bring good luck and make the wish come true.
Another tradition is to clean the house thoroughly before New Year’s Eve to get rid of any negative energy from the past year. Russians will also often decorate their homes with fir trees, which are thought to bring good luck and prosperity.
Superstitions play an important role in Russian culture and are still observed by many people today. While some may seem odd or outdated, they serve as a way to ward off bad luck and invite good fortune into people’s lives. Understanding and respecting these superstitions is an important part of experiencing and appreciating Russian culture.