Saturday, April 3, 2010

Superstitions and Common Traditions / Суеверия и общие традиции

  • Number thirteen, as in the US, is an unlucky number. It is referred to as the "Devil's dozen;" however, when buying flowers, you must always buy an odd number since even numbers of flowers are only presented at funerals. In this case, thirteen roses are better than a dozen roses.
  • If you drop a knife, then a male guest will come.
  • If you drop a spoon, then a female guest will come.
  • If your nose itches in the morning, then you should drink alcohol at night.
  • If a fly lands on your food, then you will have good luck.
  • If you seat near a heater and your bottom half is warm at the same time you are near a window and your top half is cold, you will get sick.
  • If you have a sinus infection, fry an egg and hold it on your forehead. (Seriously, we asked her to repeat this one just in case we misunderstood the absurdity of it. Nope, we heard it right the first time.)
  • If you do not wear hats, gloves, scarves, heavy coats, and boots as it is warming up in springtime, you will get sick. (Even if you are sweating profusely on the 80-degree metro ride.)
  • If you do not clean off your boots once you arrive at your destination, you will be considered "uncultured," the highest insult in "cultured" St. Petersburg. This includes barrelling through the slush, dog poop, ciggarette butts, mud, and black snow to and from everywhere you go.
  • If someone in a group is singled out with a compliment, the recipient will brush off the compliment immediately as to not incite envy among the others.
  • Last week, my professor confirmed my suspisions about the Russian language that have been lingering in the back of my mind for three years: The reason why Russian is so hard to learn with all of its inconsistencies, illogical grammatical constructions, and complicated case endings is because the people living in this region wanted to keep outsiders out until the country began to westernize under Peter the Great, albeit forcefully (as usual in Russia).

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