Old superstitions

“Noc Świętojańska” – a summer solstice performance by “Kujawy” WCK ensemble, Włocławek, Poland. Image © M.Maciejewski

A few of the old-Slavic superstitions in which my well-educated grandmother believed and scolded taught me when I was a kid, before she passed away years ago:

  • NEVER greet guests/shake hands over a treshold, especially in your front door – it would bring misfortune to the entire household.
  • Don’t stand at a window (especially if it’s open) when there’s thunderstorm outside – you would go blind or loose your sanity.
  • When you go out of the bed in the morning, pay attention to put your right foot on the ground first – using the “wrong” one would bring you bad luck for the entire day.
  • Don’t look at the window right after waking up – you would forget what you dreamed of during the night (in case you want to remember).
    When you go back home to retrieve something you forgot to take earlier, sit down on a chair and count to ten – rushing in such a moment would bring you bad luck for the rest of the day. /// There’s also a popular saying: “gdzie się człowiek spieszy, tam się diabeł cieszy” (literally: “where a person is in hurry, there a devil is pleased”), which can be compared to “haste makes waste”.
  • NEVER put your handbag directly on the floor/ground – your money would ”slip away” quickly in the nearest future.
  • Don’t swim in rivers/lakes/sees before St. John’s Eve – you would drown or just become heavily ill. /// St John’s Eve (also called Noc Świętojańska, on the picture above) is basically a christianized part of the summer solstice celebrations – shifted to 23rd/24th June, after the traditional Slavic Kupala Night. That superstition is derived from ancient Slavic belief that all kinds of water demons are calmed down (after the harsh winter) only after receiving “gifts” that were thrown on the water during the summer solstice rituals – in reality the natural water basins in our climate are warming up very slowly after the wintertime, so in the old times plenty of young people were surely dying of thermal shock during the ostensibly warm late spring.
  • When you get hiccups, it means that someone’s thinking strongly about you right now. Don’t try to stop it “by force” – you would lose a person who likes you.
  • Don’t gift any kind of shoes to anyone – he/she would walk away from you in the future (the recipent should pay a small token fee or help you with something in return).
  • NEVER gift knives, scissors, needles or other similar sharp objects to anyone – it would ”cut off” your good relations.
  • When you gift a purse/wallet to someone, don’t forget to put a small amount of money inside – or else the recipent would run short on money.
  • Don’t let anyone take a ring off your fingers (rather take it off yourself) – the person would ”steal” your good luck or you’d end up arguing in the future.
  • NEVER let another woman to try on a ring that was gifted to you by your beloved one – you would be cheated on (not necessarily with involvement of that exact woman).

Know more? Leave a message in the comments section :)

Rebloggable version on my tumblr blog: [link].


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