Traveling lets you discover new cultures and experience the local lifestyle and traditions. When you’re visiting a foreign country you may often encounter with unfamiliar or surprising customs, especially if you’re traveling around Eastern Europe. Countries from this region tend to be very superstitious and have many local beliefs that usually surprise travelers. To avoid being ashamed or condemned by locals, we prepared a list with 8 weird superstitions in Eastern Europe you should know about.
#1: Czech Republic
Pouring a beer in a glass holding the remnants of another brew brings bad luck, while breaking a glass and throwing a shoe over your shoulder is meant to bring luck and happiness. Locals also believe that spiders in the house are a sign of a good fortune.
Poles believe that ‘knocking on wood’ with your hand will scare the bad luck away, while seeing a chimney sweep is a lucky charm and you have to grab your button. According to another local superstition, women shouldn’t put their handbags on the floor, otherwise, they’ll have no money.
On Easter Monday boys have to visit every house in the village and spank the girls with whips or pour a bucket of water on them. In exchange, girls give them back decorated eggs, sweets or coins. This weird ritual is believed to bring good luck, health and beauty to the young ladies.
Don’t say “cheers” with beer in Hungary as the locals believe clinking the glasses brings bad luck and is considered insulting. According to another superstition having a cactus plant at home won’t lead to anything good. Hungarians are also very careful with newborn babies – you shouldn’t kiss a baby’s foot or it will be hard for him to learn to walk. Wearing your clothes inside out and seeing a wedding procession brings good fortune.
Contrary to most beliefs, 13 is a lucky number in Croatia, but left-handed people are said to be allies of evil forces and the devil. According to other Croatian superstitions, you shouldn’t cut your nails on Sundays and you shouldn’t brush your hair in bed or you’ll incur bad luck and illness.
Slovenians believe that if you see a spider, a cuckoo, an elephant a pig or a ladybird this means luck. It’s also a good sign if you hear a cuckoo singing and you have money in your pocket as this brings wealth.
Bulgarians like to throw water for good luck on important occasions like weddings, the first day of a new job or school, so everything goes smoothly. It’s considered bad luck to leave the bread upside down and to sew a dress on yourself.
Romanians tend to be very superstitious. Locals believe that it brings good luck if your name has seven letters or to receive a pair of gloves as a present. Spilling coffee forebodes you’ll get money, but if you drop scissors, it means your partner cheated on you. Opening an umbrella and whistling in the house will bring you bad luck, as will sewing a hole while the cloth is on you. You also shouldn’t wash your hair on Tuesdays.