Greek su­per­sti­tions are com­ing ei­ther from re­li­gion or pa­gan­ism. They vary from re­gion to re­gion.

superstition in Greece

The Evil Eye (μάτι – mati)

superstitions - the evil eye
the evil eye

Some Greeks, es­pe­cially in vil­lages, be­lieve that some­one can catch the evil eye, or ma­ti­asma, from some­one else’s jeal­ous com­pli­ment or envy. A per­son who has caught the evil eye usu­ally feels bad phys­i­cally and psy­cho­log­i­cally. In this case, an ex­pert in xe­ma­ti­asma must tell a spe­cial pray to re­lease the per­son in pain from the bad ef­fects of the evil eye.

To avoid the ma­ti­asma, those who be­lieve in it wear a charm, a lit­tle blue bead with an eye painted on it. Blue is be­lieved to be the colour that wards off the evil eye, but it is also be­lieved that peo­ple with blue eyes are most pos­si­ble givers of the ma­ti­asma.

Spit­ting

superstitions - spiting
spiting!

It is be­lieved that spit­ting chases the devil and the mis­for­tune away. That is why when some­one talks bad news (deaths, ac­ci­dents, etc), the oth­ers slightly spit three times say­ing ftou, ftou, ftou. An­other ex­am­ple is that some­one that com­pli­ments a baby, a child or even an adult for its beauty, has also to spit three times on the com­pli­mented per­son so that he doesn’t give him the bad eye (mati).

Bad Luck

superstitions - garlic a bad luck antidote!
bad luck antidote!

Not only the Evil Eye protects one from bad look, also garlic does. Many Greeks have a piece of garlic (skorda) with them, for example in their bag, which should protect them. Also in combination with onions it seems to have a healthy effect.

Also if somebody gives you a bad compliment, like: “You will fall down the stairs soon!”, the Greeks are do a kind of spitting on themselves and say the word skorda (garlic). Of course three times, the Greeks are always doing everything three times.

superstitions - bad luck knife
bad luck knife

If a Greek should ask you for a knife, never give it directly to him. Leave it at the table and wait until he takes it.

Watch your shoes!

superstitions - torn up shoe soles : danger!!!
torn up shoe soles : danger!!!

An omen for very bad luck and even for your death is to leave your shoe soles up. If this should happen nevertheless, no problem: You should directly spit three times and say “skorda”.

Black cat & mirror break

superstitions - black cat
black cat

If some­one sees black cat, this is sup­posed to be bad luck for the rest of the day.

superstitions - break mirror
break mirror!

Also if a glass or mir­ror breaks, it is be­lieved to be bad luck for seven years.

kallikantzari (Hobgobbins)

superstitions - kallikatzaros
kallikatzaros (Hobgoblin)

Ac­cord­ing to the folk Christ­mas tra­di­tions, the kallikantzari are short, ungly crea­tures with many de­for­mi­ties.

It is believed that kallikantzaroi stay underground, sawing the world tree so that it will collapse, along with the Earth. However, according to folklore, when they are about to saw the final part, Christmas dawns and they are able to come to the surface. They forget the tree and come to tease peo­ple with many pranks and bring trouble to mortals.

superstitions - Kallikantzaroi sawing the world tree.
Kallikantzaroi sawing the world tree.

Finally, on the Epiphany (6 January), the sun starts moving again, the priest of the vil­lage goes from house to house and sprin­kles the rooms with sanctified holy water and and they must return underground to continue their sawing. They see that during their absence, the world tree has healed itself, so they must start working all over again.

a smal poem is….

Φεύγετε να φεύγωμε ( Flee!!so we all can flee) έρχεται ο τρελόπαπας (here comes the crazy priest) με την αγιαστούρα του (with his bundle of basil stems and leaves) και με τη βρεχτούρα του. (dipped in holy water) Μας άγιασε μας έβρεξε (he sanctified us and wet us) και μας, μας εκατέκαψε. ( and burned us away!!!)

Tues­day the 13th

superstitions - tuesday the 13th
Tuesday the 13th

Un­like the west­ern be­lief, in Greece the un­lucky day is Tues­day the 13th and not Fri­day the 13th.

The ex­pres­sion Piase Kokkino

superstitions - piase_kokkino
“piase kokkino”

When two peo­ple say the same thing to­gether at the same time, they im­me­di­ately say “piase kokkino” (touch red) one to an­other and both have to touch any red item they can find around them.

This hap­pens be­cause Greeks be­lieve that say­ing the same thing is an omen and that the two per­sons will get into a fight or an ar­gu­ment if they don’t touch some­thing red.


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