Russian superstitions

Superstitions, omens and beliefs in Russia

Superstitions, omens and beliefs are inseparable part of life in Russia. They originate from pre-Christian times, when Russians were pagans. That is why so many of them have something to do with scaring away the evil spirits or avoiding the bad luck. Nowadays many Russians say that they don’t believe in superstitions, yet they remain very mindful of them and avoid doing certain things in order not to bring on the misfortune in their lives.

Avoiding bad luck and arguments 

So, amongst the big no-no’s in Russia are: shaking hands or kissing a guest across a doorway – it is considered a bad luck. Putting empty bottles on the table is also bad luck – instead, you should either bin them straight away or put them on a floor. Opening umbrella inside will bring you more misfortune, while spilling salt will lead to an argument between family members. More dispute awaits you if you happen to step on someone’s foot.

Money-related superstitions

Russians have a lot of money-related superstitions. They believe that whistling indoors will lead to financial problems. They also believe that if you buy a purse as a present, it should have some money inside. It could be as little as a coin. This is due to a belief that empty purse attracts poverty and financial trouble. Filling a glass that is held in the air will also attract the financial misfortune, whilst putting a handbag on the floor is another way that leads to poverty.

Most popular superstitions

Amongst the most popular beliefs is one where in order to avoid putting a curse on something, Russians will knock on wood, spit three times over their left shoulder, or do both. Furthermore, never (and we mean never!) buy even number of flowers in a bouquet for a girl, someone’s birthday or for any other celebratory occasion. Even numbers are bought solely for funerals. Adding to everything above, Russians also tend to sit down before embarking on a journey. No matter whether you are travelling or not – everyone in a group has to sit down for a few seconds. This will ensure that the trip will be a safe one.


There is an uncountable number of omens that Russians believe in. For instance, if you have hiccups, Russians would say that someone is thinking of you. If you sneeze while saying something – you are telling the truth. Itchy nose – prepare yourself for a fun night out. Your ears feel hot – someone is talking about you. Being talked about before you enter a room, is actually a positive sign – you will have a good luck. Not being recognized by a person you know means that you’ll be rich. If you find yourself standing/sitting between two people with the same name – make a wish.

As you can see – Russians are a superstitions lot, and we haven’t even mentioned a half of all superstitions out there! Have you come across those superstitions and beliefs?

Team EBC

Oh, by the way, according to another popular Russian belief – placing your textbooks under your pillow will help you to memorise the material. Test on Friday? Bring it on!