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Greek Superstitions: Weird Things People in Greece Believe

Evil Eye Greek superstitions
Among Greek superstitions, the Evil Eye is a very common one. Credit: Dramagirl/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There are so many quirky and even down right weird superstitions that some Greeks believe. Of course, they do vary quite a bit from one village to the next, and there are some that sound weird even to other Greeks!

The weirdest Greek superstitions

Beware of the Evil Eye

A superstition shared by all Greeks is the evil eye, or “Mati.” It is believed that someone can cast the evil eye onto another person out of envy (either good or bad) and jealousy.

You are said to be “matiasmenos” (the evil eye has been cast upon you) if you are dizzy or have a headache and yawn a lot. The good news is that you can have the “spell” broken by someone who knows how to do a special ritual done with oil, water and prayers.

Spitting for Good Luck

There are definitely some “different” superstitions in which Greeks take part. Being spit on is probably one of them. That’s right, spitting on someone is a way of diminishing any form of evil energy or presence. It’s actually more of a FTOO, FTOO, FTOO; so just be aware.

Greeks apply the spitting superstition at weddings as well. If someone compliments the bride’s dress they must spit “ftoo” three times to ward off any negative forces that might be at work. In fact, it isn’t at all uncommon to hear a chorus of “ftoo, ftoo, ftoo!” as the bride glides down the aisle.

Steal Plants You Want to Root

There’s nothing like a superstition that encourages you to steal. It’s a quite simple rule of thumb to follow. If you have tried to take a cutting and root it without success, it’s because you didn’t steal it.

Greeks believe that plants and flowers will only root if they are stolen, and will actually tell you to come back later to steal from them if you would like some cuttings from their plants, which are also from stolen cuttings.

They cannot gift you a cutting from a stolen plant as it is believed that their giving-plant will die. So, if you nonchalantly cut off a piece of the desired plant and take it home without telling the owner it will root easily.

Bread is Holy and Has Magic Powers

There are a few different superstitions about bread. You will frequently see Yiayias, or grandmothers, in villages make the sign of the cross over a loaf of bread before slicing it. This is because Greeks believe that bread is a gift from God with roots from the bible story, Sermon on the Mount.

This also leads to many villagers never throwing away any bread as it is considered bad luck leaving leftovers to usually be fed to animals.

Also many Greeks are superstitious about who gets to eat the heel of the bread loaf. It is believed that young single women should eat it and then their future mother-in-laws will like them. Girls start fighting over who gets to eat the heel from as young as 5 years old.

Never Hand Someone a Knife

Greeks spend a lot of time around food as it is a central part of the culture. However, there is certain etiquette that you must follow when around kitchen utensils, in particular, knives.
Never under any circumstances should you hand some one a knife. The proper way to hand it off is to set it down on a table and let the other person pick it up. It is believed that if you hand the person the knife that you will get into a fight with them.

Sprinkling Salt to Make Someone Leave

According to Greek Folklore, salt can be used to get rid of an unwanted guest.
The process is so simple, you should try it out next time you want someone to leave your house! You just have to sprinkle a little bit of salt behind them. It is thought that the salt has powers and will drive them to leave.

Also it is an old custom is to sprinkle salt in the doorway of each room before you move in to it in order chase out any evil energy that might be lingering.

Salt, Eggs and Bread: Forbidden to Leave Your Home After Sundown

If someone comes knocking at your door after sundown asking for salt, eggs or bread you shouldn’t give it to them. The principle rule with this superstition is that the items should never leave your home after sundown because it will bring bad luck to your house. So, if someone wants an egg, invite them in a fix it for them, never give it to them to take out of your house.

If you want to give a guest a doggie bag that has bread of any kind in it and you know that they will be leaving your house after dark, you must leave the bag with the bread outside of the front door before the sun goes down and they can take it with them.
An interesting take on this superstition is that it is believed that many times people with bad intentions will actually stop by and ask you for these items to try to hex your home!

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