Real Russia Blog

Top 5 Russian superstitions you should know about

Top 5 Russian superstitions you should know about

Real Russia has put together a handy guide so you can remember these superstitions while travelling in Russia.

Russia remains a unique place of wonder to travellers – vibrant and modern but with old traditions that are passed down the generations. With its national customs rooted in Orthodox religion and Paganism, many people still believe in folklore and superstition. Real Russia has put together a handy guide so you can remember these rituals while travelling in Russia.

1) Never shake hands over a doorway

According to Russian belief, a house spirit is thought to reside over the threshold of each home. Therefore, it is considered bad luck to shake hands or kiss a guest across a doorway. You should enter a Russian home completely before greeting the host or alternatively the person inside the home should step outside to meet you.

2) Quiet time before going on a journey

Every time you embark on a journey Russians will sit down and have a moment of peaceful reflection. Superstition dictates that all members of a group sit in quiet contemplation for a short while. It is a good opportunity to take stock and ensure that you have everything you need for your trip.

3) Waiting for a person to arrive at their destination before cleaning up after them

If someone has left the house on a long journey, no one should clean their belongings away until at least a day after they have arrived at their destination.

4) Never step over someone, and if you do walk backwards to reverse action

It is considered taboo to step over people, or parts of their body (handy to remember on a packed train). The reason for this is that Russians believe the person will no longer grow. It is better to politely ask the person to move or find a way around them. If someone accidentally steps over a person, it is possible to reverse it by stepping backwards.

Passengers sitting for quiet time
Passengers sitting for quiet time

5) Do not return home to get something you have forgotten

You’re on your way to an excursion and you forget something in your hotel room, do not go back to retrieve it as doing so will spoil your journey. Returning for forgotten things is considered a bad omen in Russia and it is better to leave it behind. However, if you cannot travel without the item you must look in the mirror before leaving your room again to make everything better.

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