10 Ukrainian superstitions I can’t get rid of

Ukrainian supersitions


Ukrainian people still do believe in superstitions. They are taken seriously mostly only by elder people but are followed by nearly everyone. Some of them are so common that I didn’t even realise how weird they must be to someone outside of Ukraine. And no matter how silly these superstitions are, it proved to be difficult for me to stop following them even after moving abroad.

  1. A black cat crossing your path is a very bad luck. This one is the least harmful out of all. I don’t even remember when I saw black cat for last time.
  2. Do not shake hands, kiss, talk or take anything over the threshold. It will either bring you bad luck or you will have a quarrel with that person. In Germany, postmen gave me a headache, because they give you small packages over a threshold without stepping inside.
  3. Do not give anybody an even number of flowers. Even numbers are for the dead, in other situations you should give only odd number of flowers. This is a very strict rule and shop assistant might ask you if the flowers are meant for funerals when you try to buy an even number.
  4. If you left house and forgot something, try not to go back or you will have a bad day. If you really need to return, there is a way to avoid bad luck – change something in your appearance. Once someone told me you can also look in the mirror and stick your tongue out, so I prefer to use this one now.
  5. Unmarried girls shouldn’t sit at the corner of the table. Otherwise, they run a risk of not getting married or not even having a boyfriend in next 7 years. This was told to me so many times at home that I feel uneasy every time I need to sit at the corner.
  6. If you leave a house for a long time, everyone in the house (even if they are not traveling) should sit for a minute in silence so the journey is safe. My grandmother still makes me do this every time I leave home.
  7. Don’t whistle indoor. It will blow your money away. When I hear someone whistling inside I feel an urge to warn them, but I guess this superstition only works for Ukrainian and you are safe if you don’t know about it. Well, maybe not safe anymore after you have read this 😛
  8. It is tradition to celebrate a birthday on the actual day or after. Celebrating before the day arrives is considered bad luck. Also, don’t give anyone presents and don’t wish them happy birthday before the actual day. This is especially important for birthday parties, but the rule is usually kept for other important celebrations as well.
  9. Spitting over your shoulder and knocking on wood. If you are talking about your good fortune or someone wishes you good luck, you should spit three times over left shoulder, knock on wood or even better do both. It doesn’t have to be a real spit, you can also mimic the sound, fake spit works as well. If something important is about to happen, you better don’t say before it happens or someone can curse you.
  10. Sitting on cold surfaces. Women, especially young, shouldn’t sit directly on any cold surface like stone or ground, otherwise, they run a risk of becoming infertile. I grew up being scolded every time I wanted to sit on something cold and didn’t realize it was just a superstition until recently. My life will never be same again.

Are there some funny superstitions in your home country?

Ukrainian superstitions

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  1. Black cats are bad luck in the UK as well, but it depends which side they cross from. I can never remember which it is though so it can’t be that bad 😀

    Germans also say it’s bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before the day or to celebrate in advance. You can celebrate the day before to “see in” your birthday, as long as nobody says happy birthday before midnight! Germans also say if girls/women sit on cold ground they’ll get a bladder infection. And going outside with wet hair will cause you to catch a cold, even if it’s hotter than hell outside!

    According to my mother if your feet are itchy you’re going to walk on strange ground and if the cows are lying down it’s going to rain. She has more but I don’t remember them.

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