Sunday, May 15, 2011

Serbs and superstitions

Many people, that I have met, believe that Serbs are superstitious. From my own experience, I would have to say that there is some truth in that. Of course, it goes without saying, that many people, no matter where they're from, are superstitious, but it seems that Serbs take it quite seriously.
There is also the fact that we have our own superstitions, of which I will mention a few. Firstly, there is the superstition that if a black cat crosses your path, it will bring bad luck. This is a common superstition in the world, but the threat of bad luck is severely taken into account in Serbia, and the avoidance of it is the main object. I have a friend, who, when a cat crossed our path, made me go through this whole ritual, which involved spitting and taking three steps back, and some other aspects, which got me thinking of the importance of these types of beliefs with people I know. Secondly there is a superstition about cutting your nails during night time. I first heard this one from my grandfather and he never allowed us to cut our nails at night while we visited him. It is also considered a bad omen, since, night time is not for those type of activities. There is also the popular superstition, that if you whistle you will attract mice. That is a sentence I've heared since I was little, because my mother always tried to stop my sister from whistling.
Also a widely held belief is that you should never do any work on a Sunday, since that is a holy day. It is said that if there is thunder and lightning it means God is mad at you for cleaning, ironing or doing any type of work on a Sunday. And if you forget to pick up any silverware from the table while you're cleaning it, it means that you will have guests. There is one that says if you start hiccupping it means that someone is talking about you. But, what surprised me, where the superstitions I found concerning the draught. It is considered that if you sit next to an open window, you will have a stiff neck. Many elderly people I know, take this very seriously, and even during the summer, when it's very hot, they tend to close the windows. The amusing thing I found was a saying that said that many people have died from draughts, but no one has died from a bad smell.  
All in all, there stands the fact that this is something that is not easily disregarded amongst Serbs. I would have to say that there are very few people who don't believe in at least one superstition. Actually, it is so much installed in our nation, that some don't even look at them as superstitions, but as some kind of facts one abides by.


  1. Avoiding working on Sunday is not superstition, its the word of God. Don't embarrass us here.

  2. Avoiding working on Sunday is not superstition, its the word of God. Don't embarrass us here.

  3. Uff. Draught. My friend and I are serbs and we are terrified of it. Not if you judt open the window, its when a person also opens the door. Thats when I fear the most.