Top Ten Russian Superstitions


10. Whistling in the house

Every single Russian knows about this omen, even those who aren’t superstitions. Whistling in the house isn’t done (which I’ve done), according to the popular belief, it bring the wind to the home, which is believed to take away one’s wealth. Russian sailors have always avoided whistling as they believe that it could bring on storm.


9. The threshold of the house is the territory of evil

You must not stand on the threshold of a house or apartment, and you must not hug across it or hand anything across it. The ancient Slavs considered threshold as the territory of evil. The matter of fact is that in ancient times the ashes of ancestors were kept under the threshold of the house; and harassing them was considered extremely dangerous.


8. Spit on or knock on the wood

When Russian people are afraid of putting the ‘evil eye’, i.e. to bring misfortune in words or actions, they knock on the wood so as not to miss the fortune. To avert disaster, a person should spit three times over the left shoulder or to knock the wood. By the way, if there is no wood stuff near, a considerable amount of Russians will knock on their own heads with a smile, saying that it has the same effect .


7. Do not carry an empty bucket

If you see a person with an empty bucket or cart it’s considered to be a bad omen. Russians believe that if you meet a person with an empty bucket, the day will not be successful. That is why the street cleaners always put some equipment (brooms, rakes) in their carts. You need to keep out the way of the person with an empty bucket or to cross the street – otherwise it can scare your luck away.


6. Look in the mirror, if you had to go back home.

Coming back (such as, if you forgot something) is considered a harbinger of bad luck. Therefore if after leaving the house if a Russian  discovers they have forgotten something, they will first decide whether it is something they really need, and if it is, they will go back, but will make a point of looking in a mirror. This is another trick to deceive an evil omen.


5. Avoid Black Cats in your Path

A black cat signifies evil, and the Russian superstition says it will bring you failure to your business. If you see a black cat, you have a couple of options – roll your left shoulder over 3 times; bless yourself with sign of the cross; or wait for somebody else to pass the black cat before you, and takes the bad luck with them.


4. Rain at the Wedding

If it rains at your wedding, don’t feel bad, it means you will be rich. It’s the same if a bird poops on your head (guess I’m going to be rich).


3. Don’t give her a dozen of red roses (an even number)

Any girl from Russia loves roses. . See they believe in Russia that the way you treat flowers is how you are going to treat your woman. Giving a bunch of roses should be a pleasant experience, as well as receiving them, because a bouquet brings some special charm, and such moments stay in memory for a long time.

So remember there is nothing wrong with the roses. The problem is about the number. In Russia they always give an odd number of them. Giving an even number is a bad sign, because they only place an even number on graves. So unless she knows that in foreign countries they sell and give roses in dozens, you risk upsetting her.

2. “Oh my dear Lord, your baby is astonishingly ugly!”

If you utter this phrase to any parent anywhere in the world, chances are you will have to immediately run for the nearest cover, with the baby’s father at your heels, swinging his trusty machete. Surely, all parents are convinced their babies are the most adorable, most beautiful, smartest, cutest, most amazing little creatures, pure angels, and anyone doubting that deserves to die a slow and painful death.

Not so in Russia!

Owing to a superstitious belief that is at least a few millennia old, Russians are convinced that a young baby is not to be allowed to be complimented by anyone, especially a stranger, or else evil forces will possess the precious bundle of joy and rob it of the very same qualities it had been complimented on


1. Rub a Bronze Dog’s nose

More than 6 million people stream through the Moscow metro stations each day, yet stand in the Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Пло́щадь Револю́ции) metro station observing Muscovites for a few minutes. You’ll notice they all take a few seconds out of their busy day to give a bronze dog’s nose a good rub. But only with your left hand! They say this brings luck and happiness.

6 thoughts on “Top Ten Russian Superstitions

  1. This is completely fascinating!

    I was thinking about writing a post centred around ‘health beliefs’… Germans (the older generation, at least) are very fearful of draughts, and they are convinced that sitting on a cold floor will give you haemorrhoids. What about Russians? Do they have strange beliefs about certain behaviours etc, that will bring on specific ailments/illnesses?

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