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Friday the 13th and Greek Superstitions

Friday 13th
Evil Eye. Credit: Dramagirl/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Although Greeks already feared Tuesday the 13th as a day marred by misfortune, the Anglo-Saxon culture that has heavily influenced the country through movies, television, and the internet in the past decades has brought Friday the 13th to the forefront, as well.

Let’s not forget that Black Friday has now become a fixture in the Greek consumer consciousness, so it’s no surprise that Friday the 13th has acquired such significance, too.

Admittedly, Greeks have many superstitions, with some of them being international as well, and believe that if they come across certain things, the rest of the day—or even year, in fact—may be full of bad luck.

For instance, the biggest Greek superstition must be “To Mati,” or the Evil Eye as otherwise known. Most Greeks feel that they are under the spell of the evil eye if they are either too beautiful or too rich. Regardless of the category to which one belongs, many Greeks run to the “Xematiastra,” the woman who knows how to remove the evil eye from the purported victim.

Greeks cannot see black cats crossing in front of them without freaking out. If they see a black cat it is believed that it is a harbinger of bad luck even though a sane person would say that this is only the color of the poor feline.

Friday the 13th in Greece: Broken mirrors and dried flowers

In addition, broken mirrors freak Greeks out as they are also said to bring seven years of bad luck. If a mirror breaks inside a family home, some may even want to pack up and move out immediately. This is because many believe that a mirror does not only reflect the image of a person but their soul inside, as well.

Furthermore, dried flowers are believed to be signs of imminent bad luck. After all, dried flowers are, in essence, dead flowers. And who wants dead things in the house—unless it is those succulent steaks in the refrigerator ready for the grill?

An old calendar belonging to a previous year is bad because it shows the quick passage of time—and the days to come may not bode well for you.

Greeks also have a thing with spilled salt. They say that if you spill salt by accident, then bad luck is coming to you.

While we are on the table and spilling salt concept, there are other kitchen-related superstitions, as well. Older Greeks believe that you should never place bread upside down because this is disrespect for the Lord, who provides you with the bread you eat. If you do so, you will end up poor and hungry.

Another superstition that looms over the table is that if you drop your spoon, hungry people will sit on your table. This is not very hospitable, though, is it?

Finally, no Greek wants to walk under a ladder. Most Westerners have the same superstition, but in Greece, there is an added twist. For Greek Orthodox Christians, the ladder forms a triangle when it is put against the wall and if you walk underneath it, that is a sign of disrespect for the Holy Trinity.

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