Not to taste from a knife and sit before the road: nine superstitions that only Ukrainians will understand

Instead of a tree, we often knock ourselves on the head, don't celebrate our 40th anniversary, and are afraid of scattering salt

Every culture has its own peculiarities, including special superstitions. To better understand how people live in a certain culture, it may be useful to study these sometimes strange ideas about the world.

So Culture Trip gathered 9 superstitions of Ukrainians, which may be incomprehensible to foreigners. Find out what familiar things may seem strange to our guests in Ukraine.

Knocking on the tree

The knocking on the tree to prevent trouble and not to jinx is a common tradition in Europe. The Ukrainian peculiarity of this custom is that when there is nothing wooden around, we start knocking on the head. This is explained by the fact that the head is the most "wooden" object in the body because it can easily miss out important and valuable information.

The prohibition to pass something over the threshold

The origin of this superstition is associated with pre-Christian times, when our ancestors buried their dead under the threshold of the house. Passing something over the threshold could disturb the spirit of the deceased. For the same reason, you shouldn't sit on the threshold in Ukraine as well.

Don't gift watches and knives

Ukrainians are still quite picky about what message they carry to each other with a gift. Inappropriate gifts are any watches and sharp objects. Watches, according to our belief, speed up the passage of time for the one to whom they were given, while knives or scissors can bring quarrels. Foreigners are advised not to be surprised if they are offered a small amount of money in exchange for such a gift: this gesture allows getting rid of negative aura of the object. In tis case, it becomes not a given gift, but a bought one.

Taboo on celebrating the 40th anniversary

The number 40 is associated with death among Ukrainians. It is believed that on the 40th day the soul of the deceased leaves this world. Therefore, it is not customary to celebrate the 40th birthday in Ukraine. This taboo is especially important for men.

Ban on tasting from a knife

Such a gesture is believed to make the one who eats with a knife angry. The knife in the Ukrainian culture has a sacred meaning, and its improper use can allegedly make the spirits angry. And they, in turn, will make the man aggressive himself. A more commonplace explanation says that you can cut your tongue in this way, which is really unlikely to cheer you up.

The prohibition to scatter salt

During Kyivan Rus', salt was a very expensive product, which was not easy to get. Therefore, together with the bread it became a symbol of hospitality and wealth. And the one who scattered even a little bit of salt, waited, if not a punishment, then certainly a condemnation. Since then, the scattered salt foretold conflicts and quarrels.

The prohibition to take out the garbage after sunset

This popular superstition has two explanations. One follows the tradition of Ukrainians to live in close-knit communities, where everyone knows about everyone. Under such conditions, a person who takes out trash under the shadow of darkness might be thought to be hiding something. The second is more mystical. It claims that while a person is taking out the garbage, evil spirits wandering in the darkness could enter the house and stay all night.

The tradition of sitting down before the road

From a mystical point of view, this superstition says that house spirits can cling to a person, try to bring him back from the road, interfere in every way and make the trip unsuccessful. From a practical point of view, such a pause allows one to slow down and reconsider whether the people going on the road have forgotten something. Therefore, this superstition is of direct practical benefit.

The prohibition to return from halfway

Ukrainians have long had the idea of their home and everything beyond it as different worlds. To cross the threshold means to cross the boundary between these worlds. If you go out to the outside world and do not fulfill your plans at the same time, you can divert luck from yourself. You can neutralize the effect of this curse by looking at yourself in the mirror if you did have to go home.

Previously, OBOZREVATEL told why you can't walk in one shoe or one sock.

Subscribe to OBOZREVATEL channels on Telegram and Viber to keep up with the latest developments.

Other News

The EU allocated another 1.5 billion euros to Ukraine

Ukraine receives €1.5 billion from the EU for the eighth time: what is the program and where does the money go

Head of the European Commission assures Ukraine of Europe's support
Forget about spiders: how to protect your home from uninvited 'guests' in the fall

Forget about spiders: how to protect your home from uninvited "guests" in the fall

Ways to control spiders can bring joy to the inhabitants of the house