To all my Romanian friends and family: I love you! Superstitious or not, it doesn’t matter, I love you all 🙂
Romania is one of the countries with the strongest belief. In Europe, maybe even in the world. 98 percent of Romanians are Christians, mostly Orthodox (https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/the-most-heavily-christian-countries-on-earth/61/), just by checking on Wikipedia, you’ll find out that 81% of Romanian are Orthodox, another 6,2% are protestants, 4,3% – Catholics, 0,8% are Greek Catholic. My question is, does this strong belief has anything to do with Church’s teaching, or more with the superstitions, that are a huge deal in Romania’s culture?
The idea for this blog entry popped up in my head after I experienced the power of superstition in Romania, among Romanian people, my family and friends in fact. I was waiting outside the church, right before my wedding, there was another couple inside, busy with the same sacrament, so we had to wait with our guests for a while. When the other couple left church I had the urge to look at them and their happiness and – most importantly – at the bride’s dress. I loved to do this since I was a little kid, admire the dresses, imagining myself wearing one. But right before my wedding I pretty much wanted to be sure, that my dress was better 😉 I didn’t get a chance though. The moment I started turning to see the newly wedded couple, some arms stopped me and blocked my movement. I couldn’t see the other bride. People who stopped me told me that it brings bad luck. Yes, I was told on my wedding day that looking at the other bride would bring me bad luck or something alike. Telling them I don’t believe in superstitions didn’t work, I was forced to stand still, and under no circumstance I could turn, because they believed in some custom so much, my reasoning didn’t even matter. And I was the bride, it was supposed to be my day, on my terms. Well, apparently not, because a superstition took over… Situations like this and stories I heard from others kept happening before that and after that, and I was truly amazed.
I thought ‘this is weird, they all call themselves believers, and they all say “Doamne ajuta, Doamne fereste”, and all this stuff, where is the place for superstitions there?’. Isn’t it exactly against the first commandment? And then a realization stroke me: it’s part of their culture. Situations like the one from my wedding day keep happening, I should get used to them, but it still doesn’t really work in my head. It’s just against my logic, that being a Christian, a person still follows some rules of superstitions. But then again, I wasn’t raised in their country. I don’t know it and don’t understand it, because of different culture I was growing up in. I also realize, that not all Romanians are superstitious. Perhaps the majority isn’t. I have a Romanian friend or two that think of superstitions as a ridiculous thing. My husband also doesn’t believe in any of it. After I’ve done a little research, I found out, that different regions in Romania may have completely different superstitions that they follow. And there are so many! How do you even remember all of them?! There is also a big group of people who are doing it for fun, not really believing this or doing it “just in case”. For example they say they don’t really believe in bad luck, but just in case they wouldn’t open umbrella in the house/put a handbag on the floor/sit at the table corner. And then we can all just laugh at it and that’s all. But there are also people taking superstitions very seriously. Especially in the rural part of the country. And if by any chance, accidentally, something really happens according to a superstition, it’s over, it’s done. People are getting absolutely convinced about it being right. Not that it’s a coincident, but it’s just like they say. Amen. Not to mention all those people who call it a tradition. It sounds way better than just a superstition, right? I bet they don’t even know that they’re utterly wrong about it, and they feel like they need to do stuff as traditions say. Pardon my French, but in my humble opinion it’s bullshit.
And of course, naturally, there are some superstitions in Poland, but no one really takes them seriously. No one really follows those rules. Maybe besides my brother in law 😉 If a black cat crosses his path, he even stops the car, goes backwards a little and only then follows with his ride. Seriously.
Romanian Church teaches not to fall into a trap of superstitions. It’s because they mislead and give wrong impressions. They may even keep you away from church (I know an example! Sic!). But even priests aren’t able to erase some customs from Romanian reality. Sometimes they don’t even try to fight it. This custom is so strong and so deep in the roots of the culture, it exists for so long, that it’s just going to stay. Too bad. Let me try to bring this a little closer to you; according to Cambridge Dictionary a superstition is “a belief that is not based on reason or scientific thinking and that explains the causes for events in ways that are connected to magic”. Magic, see? How far from Christianity is that?
Don’t get me wrong. I may not really understand this, but I find it very interesting, and I respect other people’s cultures and traditions. It’s also even entertaining seeing something weird (in my opinion) happening and then getting explanation about some superstitious rules. Again, it’s interesting and fascinating, otherwise I wouldn’t even do my little research in this topic. All of it is fine for me and I have no personal problem with that. Unless you start involving me in it. As much as I don’t interfere in other person’s beliefs, I would rather have my beliefs (or rather lack there of) respected. And not being put in the situation where I am forced against my will to follow some superstition. Nope, I won’t. I prefer to watch from the distance.
And to finish this a little chaotic writing, I have some romanian superstitions for you. If you are a Romanian and you don’t know some of them, don’t worry, they probably come from a different region than you. Preparing this list I had lots of facepalm reactions, laughter, confused face, I rolled my eyes to the point of having them almost stuck to the back of my skull… and I can’t stop myself from writing a little comments now and then, sorry 😉
1. If you play with a knife, angels will fly away from you; if you play with fire, you’ll pee yourself in bed.
2. Seeing a black cat or meeting a priest on the road in front of you, brings bad luck.
3. If it rains at your wedding, you’ll have a happy marriage (YAY! It rained on mine! *Sarcastic laughter follows*)
4. If you sit on the corner of the table, you won’t get married.
5. If a pregnant woman ties a scarf on her neck, the baby will be born with a umbilical cord around his neck choking him. (WTF?)
6. If a painting falls from the wall, your close family member or friend will die (I just rolled my eyes…)
7. Never wash your hair on Tuesday, because it brings bad luck. Tuesday is unlucky day in general (hahahahahaha what?)
8. When you sew a cloth that you are wearing, you need to have a small piece of thread in your mouth, or else you will sew your mind (people who believe in this must have already made this mistake).
9. If you spill your coffee, you’ll receive money.
10. Once you left home, don’t go back, don’t even look back, or your day will go totally wrong.
11. Don’t put your purse on the floor, or you’ll loose your money.
12. Crying at your wedding brings good luck (and a f*cked up make up).
13. Nails of the baby shouldn’t be cut until the age of one, otherwise the baby will become a thief (yeah sure).
14. Never get married in May, brings bad luck.
15. If you have your mouth open during receiving a baby, you’ll have a girl (mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha).
16. If 13 people stay at one table, then one of them will surely die by the end of the year (for the love of God…).
17. When cows raise their tails it means it will rain soon (or maybe they will shit soon?)
18. If guests at the wedding talk about marriage after sunset, the groom will cheat on the bride.
19. If you drop an umbrella on the floor of whichever house, there will be murder in that house.
20. If you bite your tongue while eating, it’s because you recently lied.
21. Write the exams with the same pen that you used while studying, the pen will remember the answers (sadly it can’t speak to tell you…)
22. If you drop scissors, it means that your boyfriend/girlfriend cheated on you.
23. If you recently gave birth, don’t walk over the water on bridges, or else you’ll run out of milk in your breasts (lol).
24. Seeing an ambulance brings bad luck, unless you pinch your nose or hold your breath until you see a brown or black dog (oh wow this is so stupid).
25. IF three people are photographed together, the one in the middle will die first (seriously?!).
26. If you sing before 7, you’ll cry before 11.
27. At least one window should be open at funeral, to give the spirit a possibility to leave.
28. If a cat sits on someone’s grave, that soul arrived in hell (creepy…).
29. If there are 13 people in a room, the one closest to the mirror will die ( I thought everybody dies, but what do I know, superstitions know best).
30. If you dream of mice, you are or will be pregnant.
31. Don’t throw the garbage after sunset, it brings bad luck.
32. Opening an umbrella inside the house brings bad luck (I don’t see a reason to open umbrella inside anyway).
33. 13 is a unlucky number, but if it happens on Wednesday or Friday, it’s going to be a disastrous day.
34. Breaking a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck.
35. Whistling inside the house brings bad luck, it can also summon negative forces into your home, like demons.
36. Don’t make payments on Monday, because it would make you lose the money – making more payments – the whole following week.
37. Singing at your own wedding brings bad luck.
THE LAST ONE: Breaking a glass banishes the bad luck (salvation from all of the above!)
And there are dozens more of them! :)))))
Sources for superstitions: https://travelaway.me/66-funny-romanian-superstitions/ , https://theculturetrip.com/europe/romania/articles/20-superstitions-only-romanians-will-understand/ , https://www.justlanded.com/english/Romania/Romania-Guide/Culture/Superstitions , https://www.romania-insider.com/superstitions-in-romania/ .