5 Strange Russian Superstitions
Russia, spanning 11 time zones, is the known for being the largest country in the world. While not necessarily known for being the friendliest (or the safest) nation, it still manages to attract numerous tourists thanks to the wonderfully unique and many-sided culture that it showcases.
Foreigners who visit the country may occasionally be baffled with the way some Russians act. While each country has its own distinct set of beliefs, Russia’s seem to be among the strangest. Here, I will list down 5 strange Russian superstitions to shed some light into some of the local’s peculiar behaviors.
5.Do not compliment an infant
Good news for people who have a particular distaste for babies! You no longer have to force yourself to compliment someone’s child when visiting Russia. According to this belief, infants under two months old should never be praised. In fact, parents would rather have you insult their child’s looks rather than appreciating them.
Russians have a deep belief that it is better to make fun of something new or someone young and withdraw the comments sometime later, instead of it happening the other way around.
4. Do not step over people lying on the floor/ground
When in Russia, never walk or step over someone you see lying on the floor or ground. According to this Russian belief, doing so will prevent the other person from growing any further. This belief mostly applies on children (maybe because kids like to roll around on the floor or something). If you accidentally do it, you can reverse the effect by stepping back over them. So the next time you see someone sunbathing on the beach or a park, avoid going to their direction.
Or step over them, if you’re the kind of person who likes stunting people’s growth.
3. Do not celebrate a birthday before the actual date
Celebrating someone’s birthday before the actual date is considered bad luck in Russia. In fact, giving someone an advanced birthday greeting or gift. Similar to complimenting an infant below the age of two months, celebrating a birthday is most likely due to the fear of jinxing it.
Giving someone the “evil eye”, even if done unintentionally, seems to be one of the biggest fears in Russia.
2. Never give sharp objects as gifts
When giving someone you love a gift for whatever reason, do not give them anything sharp. That means no knives, scissors, razors, swords (aww, I like swords), and the likes. Russians believe that giving these items as gifts symbolize hatred and bad luck.
Doing so may also mean that your relationship or love for that person will soon end. On second thought, if ever you want to break up with someone, maybe you should break this taboo.
1. Look at the mirror if you have to come back after a forgotten object
Now this one’s weird. According to some Russians, when you already stepped out of the house but remember something you forgot, you should decide whether it really is worth it. If it’s an important item, then you may return back to your house to get it but before heading back outside again, always make sure to look at yourself in the mirror, and make sure to make eye contact with your reflection. No proper explanation as to why you have to do this other than the vague “to ward off the Evil” idea.