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Author Topic: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more  (Read 10803 times) Average Rating: 0
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Maria
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« on: October 05, 2013, 03:17:17 PM »

There are so many ridiculous Greek superstitions that are based on "Greek traditions" that it seems that some Greeks cannot distinguish between their merely superstitional village traditions (evil eyes, garlic, and knives) and their Holy Orthodox Traditions.

I want to hear more about garlic and knives!!!  

I have started a new thread for this topic. These were the answers I got from my son's mother-in-law and from other Greek yiayias.

Garlic:

Everytime a Greek baby is praised as being cute or pretty, the Greek parents are to place a clove of garlic around the baby's neck to ward off demons of pride and vanity.

Knives and scissors:

When a person presents a gift of a set of knives or scissors, the recipient is supposed to pay for these sharp gifts with at least 10 cents or the equivalent. The superstition is that these sharp objects might cut a relationship unless the recipient first pays for them.

Thus, giving a set of knives or a pair of kitchen scissors as part of the kitchen utensils to a newly wedded couple is taboo.

Greek Brides:

Brides are not to leave the house from midnight until the moment of the wedding.
If the wedding is held on Sunday afternoon, she is not to go to church on Sunday morning for Divine Liturgy.
She is not to be seen by any family member of the Groom's family until the moment when she is handed to the Groom by her father (American custom).
If she violates any of these superstitious taboos, then her marriage will not last.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 03:30:40 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 03:27:05 PM »

There are so many ridiculous Greek superstitions that are based on "Greek traditions" that it seems that some Greeks cannot distinguish between their merely superstitional village traditions (evil eyes, garlic, and knives) and their Holy Orthodox Traditions.

I want to hear more about garlic and knives!!!  

Fr. Ioannis of Essex (memory eternal!) used to give three pieces of advice to menfolk who came to the monastery:

1. Eat lots of garlic.

2. Keep to Orthodox women.

The third I forgot. Embarrassed Maybe someone else who's met him remembers...

If a man eats a lot of garlic, then he will be healthy, but only a good Orthodox Christian woman will want him because he will stink mightily.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 03:30:52 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 03:33:29 PM »

Fr. Ioannis of Essex (memory eternal!) used to give three pieces of advice to menfolk who came to the monastery:

1. Eat lots of garlic.

2. Keep to Orthodox women.

The third I forgot. Embarrassed Maybe someone who's met him remembers...

Surely eating lots of garlic makes keeping to any kind of woman quite difficult?

However, the woman he finds will be the pearl of great value.
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 03:45:04 PM »

Fr. Ioannis of Essex (memory eternal!) used to give three pieces of advice to menfolk who came to the monastery:

1. Eat lots of garlic.

2. Keep to Orthodox women.

The third I forgot. Embarrassed Maybe someone who's met him remembers...

Surely eating lots of garlic makes keeping to any kind of woman quite difficult?

However, the woman he finds will be the pearl of great value.

Or equally stinky.
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 03:48:40 PM »

There is one about killing a chicken on the foundation stone of a new building. I don't know the details exactly, but it did happen to our family some years back. Some old lady suggested we do it before my mother told her to keep quiet!

Also I vaguely recall something about jumping/stepping over another person and brushing them with a broom. Both are considered bad but I am fussy about the consequences...
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 03:52:49 PM »

There is one about killing a chicken on the foundation stone of a new building. I don't know the details exactly, but it did happen to our family some years back. Some old lady suggested we do it before my mother told her to keep quiet!

You're supposed to immure it alive as a sacrifice for the building to last.

Also I vaguely recall something about jumping/stepping over another person and brushing them with a broom. Both are considered bad but I am fussy about the consequences...

You get an eyesore if you brush someone with a broom. If you jump over them, they stop growing.
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2013, 03:56:05 PM »

Itchy palm is another. Depending on the hand you either give money to receive it.
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 03:58:56 PM »

Itchy palm is another. Depending on the hand you either give money to receive it.

With the left you receive, with the right you give away.  laugh

This is probably pan-balcanic or even pan-"orthodox" stuff.
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 04:13:57 PM »

Fr. Ioannis of Essex (memory eternal!) used to give three pieces of advice to menfolk who came to the monastery:

1. Eat lots of garlic.

2. Keep to Orthodox women.

The third I forgot. Embarrassed Maybe someone who's met him remembers...

Surely eating lots of garlic makes keeping to any kind of woman quite difficult?

However, the woman he finds will be the pearl of great value.

Or equally stinky.

Hey, they will be a perfectly healthy couple.
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 04:18:05 PM »

Meh. I like Garlic so I'm not complaining.
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2013, 04:21:28 PM »

Fr. Ioannis of Essex (memory eternal!) used to give three pieces of advice to menfolk who came to the monastery:

1. Eat lots of garlic.

2. Keep to Orthodox women.

The third I forgot. Embarrassed Maybe someone who's met him remembers...

Surely eating lots of garlic makes keeping to any kind of woman quite difficult?

However, the woman he finds will be the pearl of great value.

Or equally stinky.

An Athonite monk reported it as a quasi-miraculous feat that his abbot, despite consuming large quantities of garlic with each meal, never smells of it. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2013, 04:35:47 PM »

Hey, they will be a perfectly healthy couple.
Maria I would love to know what you keep in your kitchen cabinets and fridge.
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2013, 04:46:12 PM »

The Evil Eye is actually a pan-cultural superstition. I found hamsa in many Orthodox Jewish homes; couples with young children would hang a hamsa over their baby's strollers. Western Jews don't use it as much.
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2013, 05:26:58 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2013, 05:36:07 PM »

Greece by no means has a monopoly on superstition.
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2013, 05:44:59 PM »

Meh. I like Garlic so I'm not complaining.

+1
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« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2013, 06:23:08 PM »

Greece by no means has a monopoly on superstition.

True.

Anyone else like garlic bagels?
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« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2013, 06:25:37 PM »

Greece by no means has a monopoly on superstition.

True.

Anyone else like garlic bagels?

What do garlic bagels have to do with superstitions?
They are delicious.
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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2013, 06:31:38 PM »

Greece by no means has a monopoly on superstition.

True.

Anyone else like garlic bagels?

What do garlic bagels have to do with superstitions?
They are delicious.

Well, not much to do with it, but good when they're toasted with a little butter. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2013, 06:33:56 PM »

Greece by no means has a monopoly on superstition.

True.

Anyone else like garlic bagels?

What do garlic bagels have to do with superstitions?
They are delicious.

Well, not much to do with it, but good when they're toasted with a little butter. Smiley

I find that holy water does a much better job of chasing away demons than does garlic.

However, garlic-olive oil tastes really great on bread or on the veggies.
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2013, 06:44:46 PM »

Cooking is a way to win over a man's heart. Serving him a plate is even better. Doing the dishes afterward? Wishful thinking.
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« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2013, 10:09:43 PM »

Cooking is a way to win over a man's heart. Serving him a plate is even better. Doing the dishes afterward? Wishful thinking.

That's never been a problem for me, I enjoy washing dishes.  I even do them the old fashioned way: with hands, a scouring pad, and soap. 
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« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2013, 10:33:26 PM »

Why are you picking on Greeks? We Slavs have plenty of stupid superstitions.

Ukrainians: (most of these apply to Rusyn and Lemko culture as well):  http://www.ukraine-travel-advisor.com/ukraine-superstitions.html

Russians: 12 common ones: http://www.ukraine-travel-advisor.com/ukraine-superstitions.html

Serbian:  http://promajaneck.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/serbian-superstitions/

Most of us don't believe them or we simply do things by habit, like not lingering on a threshold or leaving a broom by the side door or not leaving the house by a different door.

So, I shall stop whistling now (my wife always tells me to stop)  and, oh - I just sneezed, so what I'm thinking must be true - "Pravda jest." as my baba would say.

My thought? Superstitions are dumb.

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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2013, 10:33:51 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

Like said just above, these eyes are visible across different cultures/religions. I spoke to a (Shi'ite) Iranian Muslim giving a tour of a Mosque who had one on her keychain, and said it was part of her religious practice for parents to give them to newborns, and always have them on your person to ward off demons/etc.
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2013, 10:40:38 PM »

I've always liked the one I read once about burning a candle for the dead in a jar of rice so you can scatter the rice outside the the house. If the dead person comes back as a werewolf, he will be too distracted by counting all the rice to come inside the house. I think it's Romanian?
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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2013, 10:41:57 PM »

Awesome!
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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2013, 11:54:46 PM »

I'm surprised no one has jumped to the defense of these beliefs yet.
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« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2013, 02:33:47 AM »

Bash every evil eye in existence!
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« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2013, 05:57:13 AM »

I've always liked the one I read once about burning a candle for the dead in a jar of rice so you can scatter the rice outside the the house. If the dead person comes back as a werewolf, he will be too distracted by counting all the rice to come inside the house. I think it's Romanian?

It sure sounds like it's Romanian. laugh
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« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2013, 06:08:37 AM »

I'm surprised no one has jumped to the defense of these beliefs yet.

It is often hard to pinpoint exactly where folk custom ends and superstition begins. Do keep in mind, though, that most of the superstitions found in superficial research are long extinct.

The evil eye, on the other hand, is acknowledged by the Church.
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« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2013, 12:35:00 PM »

I'm surprised no one has jumped to the defense of these beliefs yet.

It is often hard to pinpoint exactly where folk custom ends and superstition begins. Do keep in mind, though, that most of the superstitions found in superficial research are long extinct.

The evil eye, on the other hand, is acknowledged by the Church.

and there it is^^

The first time I heard about the Evil Eye was in a sermon from a visiting priest who told a story about someone sticking a fork in someone else's eye across the dinner table, or something like that.
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« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2013, 12:52:33 PM »

I'm scared of lots of stuff. Not black cats, though. I like them. Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2013, 01:35:19 PM »

Greece by no means has a monopoly on superstition.

 The Carpathian horseshoe is home to every conceivable superstition.

 And we already have a thread about the Evil Eye found here.
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« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2013, 03:47:19 PM »

I'm scared of lots of stuff. Not black cats, though. I like them. Smiley

Me too Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2013, 03:57:11 PM »

I'm scared of lots of stuff. Not black cats, though. I like them. Smiley

Me too Smiley

Whatever colour the coat, I'll stroke it. I'm an equal opportunity crazy cat lady. Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2013, 04:22:36 PM »

Most black cats I've ever seen in one spot were on Athos:



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« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2013, 07:09:41 PM »

Although I'm a dog lover, we have a black cat.  Actually, she's my wife's cat so, by de facto, she's mine too.  Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2013, 08:12:55 AM »

There's a dog in one of the Athos photos.  Looks like a little hound (beagle, maybe).  That makes me happy. Grin
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« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2013, 08:21:52 AM »

Although I'm a dog lover, we have a black cat.  Actually, she's my wife's cat so, by de facto, she's mine too.  Smiley

I want a cat. Stupid building owners won't let us get one, say that they're allergic.

But, lo and behold, the duo upstairs can have two! Grumble, grumble...
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« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2013, 08:25:08 AM »

There's a dog in one of the Athos photos.  Looks like a little hound (beagle, maybe).  That makes me happy. Grin

Dogs are definitely a minority on the Holy Mountain. Tongue
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« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2013, 10:58:15 AM »

There's a dog in one of the Athos photos.  Looks like a little hound (beagle, maybe).  That makes me happy. Grin

Same here.

Part beagle or fox hound and something else I think. Missing his right eye and possibly associated with Iviron Monastery.
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« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2013, 02:45:45 PM »

I've always liked the one I read once about burning a candle for the dead in a jar of rice so you can scatter the rice outside the the house. If the dead person comes back as a werewolf, he will be too distracted by counting all the rice to come inside the house. I think it's Romanian?

It sure sounds like it's Romanian. laugh
maybe not universally Romanian but it's practiced in my region. Usually wheat berries or poppy-seed.
also from what I remember, a woman with a jug full of water would follow the coffin, as it was being carried off to the cemetery, and pour water as the cortege  passed every little bridge. To wash away the traces I guess. Although i suspect people would not be able to give any coherent explanation for any of these things besides a general comment like "that's the custom".
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« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2013, 06:59:53 PM »

Cooking is a way to win over a man's heart. Serving him a plate is even better. Doing the dishes afterward? Wishful thinking.

That's never been a problem for me, I enjoy washing dishes.  I even do them the old fashioned way: with hands, a scouring pad, and soap. 

 Same here.  It's actually quite cathartic.
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« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2013, 07:07:01 PM »

  I once dated a Romanian girl from Transylvania, county Hunedoara, and I believe the city of Deva/Stanija.  Anyway, I recall she had a small glass of water to which she lit a match and made the sign of the cross over the water then doused the match with the water.  I don't recall if she drank it or not.  I do recall that she absolutely would not talk about it.  Do any of my Romanian friends here know what that was about?
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« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2013, 07:07:15 PM »

That's never been a problem for me, I enjoy washing dishes.  I even do them the old fashioned way: with hands, a scouring pad, and soap. 

 Same here.  It's actually quite cathartic.

I agree.  Sometimes that's just the sort of mindless activity I need to engage in for a while in order to recharge.  
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« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2013, 07:09:33 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting. 
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« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2013, 07:11:48 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting. 
And probably the most disturbing people on the planet.
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« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2013, 07:17:33 PM »

  I once dated a Romanian girl from Transylvania, county Hunedoara, and I believe the city of Deva/Stanija.  Anyway, I recall she had a small glass of water to which she lit a match and made the sign of the cross over the water then doused the match with the water.  I don't recall if she drank it or not.  I do recall that she absolutely would not talk about it.  Do any of my Romanian friends here know what that was about?
that's an easy one. It's to cure the effects of the evil eye (deochi) or "najit"
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« Reply #48 on: October 07, 2013, 07:30:25 PM »

 I once dated a Romanian girl from Transylvania, county Hunedoara, and I believe the city of Deva/Stanija.  Anyway, I recall she had a small glass of water to which she lit a match and made the sign of the cross over the water then doused the match with the water.  I don't recall if she drank it or not.  I do recall that she absolutely would not talk about it.  Do any of my Romanian friends here know what that was about?
my maternal grandfather-that, in appearance, at least, as everybody that knew him, tells me-I take after, was from that county, not far from there, a little village called Pravaleni; anyways when his sister died in their ancestral village, I remember that when they buried her there was a glass of 'palinka" on the table before the priest, and they poured some in little glasses of which the priest and the chanter sipped at some point during the ceremony. Unusual i think, even by the region's standards.
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« Reply #49 on: October 07, 2013, 07:46:02 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting. 
And probably the most disturbing people on the planet.

Yes, my brother's first wife was Romanian, and she was a basket case. No morals.
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« Reply #50 on: October 07, 2013, 07:49:00 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting. 
And probably the most disturbing people on the planet.

Yes, my brother's first wife was Romanian, and she was a basket case. No morals.

Stereotyping much...
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« Reply #51 on: October 07, 2013, 08:09:38 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting. 

 That's why I said every known superstition is found in the Carpathian horseshoe.
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« Reply #52 on: October 07, 2013, 08:17:52 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting. 

 That's why I said every known superstition is found in the Carpathian horseshoe.

What is the Carpathian horseshoe?
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« Reply #53 on: October 07, 2013, 08:19:27 PM »

  I once dated a Romanian girl from Transylvania, county Hunedoara, and I believe the city of Deva/Stanija.  Anyway, I recall she had a small glass of water to which she lit a match and made the sign of the cross over the water then doused the match with the water.  I don't recall if she drank it or not.  I do recall that she absolutely would not talk about it.  Do any of my Romanian friends here know what that was about?
that's an easy one. It's to cure the effects of the evil eye (deochi) or "najit"

 I remember her downplaying the deochi, but then she had all these little ceremonies to ward them off.  I also remember her mailing her newborn niece a piece of red string.  Same thing?
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« Reply #54 on: October 07, 2013, 08:22:18 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting.  

 That's why I said every known superstition is found in the Carpathian horseshoe.

What is the Carpathian horseshoe?



 It's a phrase invented by Robert Kaplan in his book 'Balkan Ghosts'.  I think he may have borrowed it from Bram Stoker's book "Dracula";

"I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting."  ~Jonathan Harker

 I would LOVE to visit Romania; so much history, tragedy, and triumph.
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« Reply #55 on: October 07, 2013, 09:14:08 PM »

Spell to cast out the evil eye (Source: Viorel Boldureanu, Beliefs and Magic Practices of Banat, p. 85)

Ye ghosts,
Ye undead,
Ye of the weak hour,
Ye the unclean spirit,
Ye the evil eye,
Ye who cast the evil eye!

May you stop fretting,
May you change your mind,
May you settle down,
May you keep quiet,
Leaving N. alone,
Clean and bright,
As God let him be.

Otherwise, I’ll be
on my way, on the path;
and the Theotokos
will meet me,
and I’ll make me
a ladder of wax
and I’ll climb up to God,
I’ll go to the Elder-of-the-Forest,
To the Mother-of-the-Woods,
And still find the cure.

As the door turns
In its hinge,
As the week comes 'round,
So may you return,
May you settle down,
May you keep quiet,
Leaving N. alone,
Clean and bright,
As God let him be.

Otherwise, with the knife I’ll cut you,
With the broom I’ll sweep you,
With garlic I'll smear you,
And I’ll burry you
In the middle of the road,
Where cows will tread on you
And carts go over you.

And I’ll take you
Where no cock crows,
Where no maiden laughs,
And there you’ll make
Your hearth and your table.

For N. cannot quench your thirst,
Nor can he feed you,
Nor look after you,
Nor clean you.
So you leave him alone,
Clean and bright
As God let him be.
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« Reply #56 on: October 07, 2013, 09:22:26 PM »

Well, that was certainly more interesting than any Akathist I've read...
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« Reply #57 on: October 07, 2013, 10:56:55 PM »

I've always liked the one I read once about burning a candle for the dead in a jar of rice so you can scatter the rice outside the the house. If the dead person comes back as a werewolf, he will be too distracted by counting all the rice to come inside the house. I think it's Romanian?

It sure sounds like it's Romanian. laugh
maybe not universally Romanian but it's practiced in my region. Usually wheat berries or poppy-seed.

Quote
In order to stop the frightful invasion of the dead from the other world into our own as strigoi, popular magic knows several practices, of which I’ll report some, aside from the more common ones, which I’ve picked up while doing field work in the Plain of the Timiș (Beregsău).

-   Putting a cross made of wild rose (rosa canina) twigs under the dead body, when it is placed in the coffin, so that it stings its back.

-   Piercing the body’s heart (before it is dressed) with a red-hot needle.

-   Surrounding the body with a black (woolen) thread in the coffin, and the day after the funeral surrounding the grave with black thread, after which the thread is set on fire in different places so as to turn it into ashes.

-   Putting a sickle under the wooden plank on which the dead lies at home.

-   Burning the four corners of the funeral shroud with a candle is also known as “ironing the dead”. With the candle flame a little bit of the linen that will cover the dead person’s face is burned. This shroud (called borungiuc) will separate him from the world of the living. The four spots where the linen is burnt symbolize a fire cross, which is meant to seal the dead forever in the other world.

-   Putting a fistful of poppy seed in the coffin, before the body is put in, just in case the dead will return as a strigoi. When he wakes up, he will see the poppy seed and start counting it, and he won’t come to the world of the living until he has finished counting…

About this last practice, I would like to note a similarity: if a bride wants no children from a marriage, at the church wedding she throws as many poppy seeds as years she wants to stay without child.      

(...)

Around Făget (Timiș county), I have encountered a belief (and a corresponding practice) which I found unsettling, at the very least. The custom of tying the feet of the dead (‘lest he stiffen with them spread unseemly’) is well known. The feet are tied together over the shoes.  But it is a big mistake and a grave sin to forget the dead with his feet bound, to put the lid on the the coffin and let the priest pour the wine over it and bury the dead this way, with his feet tied up. In the other world, he’ll be stumbling forever.
 
In the area of Făget people believe that the soul keeps wandering around the world for three weeks and in the evenings he comes back home tired and he tries to settle under the eaves, between the windows (that’s why a glass of water is left on the sill for him to quench his thirst). After three weeks, for reasons that nobody explained to me, he either cannot find his rest or he returns with an unclean power and thus turns into a strigoi. A strigoi would thus be the dead empowered with an unknown strength. What’s weird is that such a strigoi would not only come at night or pull different pranks on the living, but he would make his presence felt, and – even more weird – he would stay indoors all the time (night and day!), more exactly where he used to spend his time while alive. And now what’s peculiar to this sort of strigoi: he is seen by certain men (who those villagers believe have the power, or have been cursed at birth, to turn into wolves).

I have met such a man on my way to the “plain of the Bighei” from Făget. He didn’t tell me much about himself, but he admitted that he could see the strigoi. The family who senses such a presence would invite the wizard: “Come, John, for our man won’t stay at the house he was moved to. Be so kind as to take him away and rid us of him!”

 “Then I go, I see him and approach him nicely: 'Buddy or cousin, I say, let me take you to your home and leave these good people alone – stop bothering them!' Then I take a very thin thread, sewing thread, I tie it around his waist nicely and take him to his grave, to his cross. You should see – my strange acquaintance tells me – how the thread follows me outstretched! But then I lure him to the cemetery and tie the thread around his cross. And there he stays! I can take him at noon, around two o’clock.”

Yet the one who can “tie the strigoi” is shunned by people, who believe he is cursed to turn into a wolf; women would not marry such a man and the village fears him as though he were a strigoi himself.

* Hence the Romanian sayings “to go where one’s thread pulls him/her” or “this is your cross!” (everyone must carry their own).

Source
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« Reply #58 on: October 07, 2013, 11:38:19 PM »

Well, that was certainly more interesting than any Akathist I've read...

laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh
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« Reply #59 on: October 07, 2013, 11:43:43 PM »

That's interesting.
Another thing I can remember from the nineties. There were a few years in the spring and the fall some pretty big floods of the Crisil Alb river and a few people drowned in it. Anyways the ritual used to find them involved the priest -a certain priest in fact quite renowned around there- blessing a round bread into which a lot candle was stuck, then they let the bread float on the river and the people around there would swear the bread with the candle wold go down at the exact place where the drowned person is.
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« Reply #60 on: October 07, 2013, 11:49:22 PM »

That's interesting.
Another thing I can remember from the nineties. There were a few years in the spring and the fall some pretty big floods of the Crisil Alb river and a few people drowned in it. Anyways the ritual used to find them involved the priest -a certain priest in fact quite renowned around there- blessing a round bread into which a lot candle was stuck, then they let the bread float on the river and the people around there would swear the bread with the candle wold go down at the exact place where the drowned person is.

The son of one of my father's colleagues drowned back then in the Olt river one summer. He was about my age and his name was Daniel. They searched for weeks to find his body - including with such a blessed colac, but they never found him...
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« Reply #61 on: October 07, 2013, 11:50:47 PM »

That's interesting.
Another thing I can remember from the nineties. There were a few years in the spring and the fall some pretty big floods of the Crisil Alb river and a few people drowned in it. Anyways the ritual used to find them involved the priest -a certain priest in fact quite renowned around there- blessing a round bread into which a lot candle was stuck, then they let the bread float on the river and the people around there would swear the bread with the candle wold go down at the exact place where the drowned person is.

Wouldn't the lit candle be extinguished due to the winds?
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« Reply #62 on: October 08, 2013, 12:02:47 AM »

Wouldn't the lit candle be extinguished due to the winds?

People wouldn't be searching while strong winds are blowing. I imagine the candle makes it easier to keep track of the colac (even in the dark).
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« Reply #63 on: October 08, 2013, 10:52:21 AM »

Well I remember people talk how they found a drowned guy from Gurahont and one from Sebis that way. Must gave been early to mid-nineties.
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« Reply #64 on: October 08, 2013, 12:49:25 PM »

Well I remember people talk how they found a drowned guy from Gurahont and one from Sebis that way. Must gave been early to mid-nineties.

From my study of oceanography and physics, when the bread is drawn down near the bottom of the river, it is most likely a current causing this action. That current could have pushed down the body of the deceased too. If there were a tree branch upon which the body could be snagged, it could stay down there indefinitely.

How more appropriate for blessed bread with a lit candle to lead the way!
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« Reply #65 on: October 08, 2013, 04:00:52 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting.  

 That's why I said every known superstition is found in the Carpathian horseshoe.

What is the Carpathian horseshoe?



 It's a phrase invented by Robert Kaplan in his book 'Balkan Ghosts'.  I think he may have borrowed it from Bram Stoker's book "Dracula";

"I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting."  ~Jonathan Harker

 I would LOVE to visit Romania; so much history, tragedy, and triumph.

The Rusyns, Lemkos and western Ukrainians live in the northern part of the horseshoe and I have heard many of these same customs from the old timers who have long passed on. Only a few live on today in America. Entering and leaving the house from the same door is one, not taking an old broom to a new house is another, leaving a broom by the kitchen door (not just for practical reasons apparently) is another, exclaiming 'It's true' when someone yawns while uttering a statement and a number of quaint wedding and Christmas eve customs hang in there. The death ones are relegated where they belong, to history's dustbin.
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« Reply #66 on: October 08, 2013, 06:22:01 PM »

Quote
Entering and leaving the house from the same door is one,

It's not just the Carpathians who have this custom. A number of other European cultures do as well.
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« Reply #67 on: October 08, 2013, 10:35:00 PM »

I'm amazed at how much superstition seems to come out of Romania.  It makes me quite interested in visiting.  

 That's why I said every known superstition is found in the Carpathian horseshoe.

What is the Carpathian horseshoe?



 It's a phrase invented by Robert Kaplan in his book 'Balkan Ghosts'.  I think he may have borrowed it from Bram Stoker's book "Dracula";

"I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting."  ~Jonathan Harker

 I would LOVE to visit Romania; so much history, tragedy, and triumph.

Romanians are the best, western Romanians. The uppity ones from the capital can toss themselves in the sea.

I know we have more than a few prolific posters who are Romanian here, so I hate to go on about my general love for the people, but for my money, (and I think I can still buy people in both countries) Romanians and Iranians, after my own kind of course, are some of the best people ever.

If I could snap my fingers tonight and know two languages, it would be those.
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« Reply #68 on: October 19, 2013, 05:44:16 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

They actually sell these at my church's festival. Bracelets and necklaces, of which I had bought a bracelet two years ago that I have yet to wear. I thought this was part of our faith. Apparently not so, and could someone explain why they are a staple in our church festivals?
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« Reply #69 on: October 19, 2013, 05:48:55 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

I got one of those as a kid. Never knew what it was.
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« Reply #70 on: October 19, 2013, 06:30:40 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

They actually sell these at my church's festival. Bracelets and necklaces, of which I had bought a bracelet two years ago that I have yet to wear. I thought this was part of our faith. Apparently not so, and could someone explain why they are a staple in our church festivals?
The blue eye is to protect oneself from the "evil eye" and is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.  It has spread beyond to many cultures, but it's sold at Greek festivals, because it's "Greek", of course. Smiley
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« Reply #71 on: October 19, 2013, 06:47:45 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

They actually sell these at my church's festival. Bracelets and necklaces, of which I had bought a bracelet two years ago that I have yet to wear. I thought this was part of our faith. Apparently not so, and could someone explain why they are a staple in our church festivals?
The blue eye is to protect oneself from the "evil eye" and is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.  It has spread beyond to many cultures, but it's sold at Greek festivals, because it's "Greek", of course. Smiley

Oh! I have a bracelet with those blue eyes on it. I got it at a summer festival this past summer.
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« Reply #72 on: October 19, 2013, 07:10:16 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

They actually sell these at my church's festival. Bracelets and necklaces, of which I had bought a bracelet two years ago that I have yet to wear. I thought this was part of our faith. Apparently not so, and could someone explain why they are a staple in our church festivals?
The blue eye is to protect oneself from the "evil eye" and is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.  It has spread beyond to many cultures, but it's sold at Greek festivals, because it's "Greek", of course. Smiley

Oh! I have a bracelet with those blue eyes on it. I got it at a summer festival this past summer.

Has it helped? Wink
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« Reply #73 on: October 19, 2013, 07:38:50 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

They actually sell these at my church's festival. Bracelets and necklaces, of which I had bought a bracelet two years ago that I have yet to wear. I thought this was part of our faith. Apparently not so, and could someone explain why they are a staple in our church festivals?
The blue eye is to protect oneself from the "evil eye" and is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.  It has spread beyond to many cultures, but it's sold at Greek festivals, because it's "Greek", of course. Smiley

Oh! I have a bracelet with those blue eyes on it. I got it at a summer festival this past summer.

Has it helped? Wink

Not that I am aware of  laugh
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« Reply #74 on: October 19, 2013, 08:24:10 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

They actually sell these at my church's festival. Bracelets and necklaces, of which I had bought a bracelet two years ago that I have yet to wear. I thought this was part of our faith. Apparently not so, and could someone explain why they are a staple in our church festivals?
The blue eye is to protect oneself from the "evil eye" and is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.  It has spread beyond to many cultures, but it's sold at Greek festivals, because it's "Greek", of course. Smiley

i read its actually Turkish in origin.
The greeks adopted it during the Turkish occupation, and it kinda stuck.
its a good seller at festivals and bassars and such thats why its still around and also cause ppl dont realy invest time in reasearch. they just parrot what otheres say unknowigly if its correct or not. 
it has nothing to do with greek heritage and definitly nothing to do with Orthodoxy, quite the reverse, its pagan.
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« Reply #75 on: October 19, 2013, 08:28:23 PM »

Perhaps the Greeks adopted the nazar, the blue eye amulet, during Turkish occupation (I doubt it), but the belief in the evil eye and having amulets to protect it are really, really ancient.
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« Reply #76 on: October 19, 2013, 09:16:23 PM »

Perhaps the Greeks adopted the nazar, the blue eye amulet, during Turkish occupation (I doubt it), but the belief in the evil eye and having amulets to protect it are really, really ancient.

wish i could remember where i read its turkish, but i cant. you could be right, how ancient are you saying it is? the only thing i can say for sure is thats its pagan/occult. thats according to many priests ive spoken to about it, all cringe when its brought up as being Orthodox and or Greek. i think its something from the past that they wish would just dissapear not. Yeat they ALWAAYS are for sale at every greek church bazar!? Grin
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« Reply #77 on: October 19, 2013, 09:40:37 PM »

Perhaps the Greeks adopted the nazar, the blue eye amulet, during Turkish occupation (I doubt it), but the belief in the evil eye and having amulets to protect it are really, really ancient.

wish i could remember where i read its turkish, but i cant. you could be right, how ancient are you saying it is? the only thing i can say for sure is thats its pagan/occult. thats according to many priests ive spoken to about it, all cringe when its brought up as being Orthodox and or Greek. i think its something from the past that they wish would just dissapear not. Yeat they ALWAAYS are for sale at every greek church bazar!? Grin

The idea of the "evil eye", IIRC, is common through almost every culture in the world and was known in ancient Egypt and Babylon.  There have always been superstitions and amulets  to protect oneself.  The blue eye that's so common in Greece comes from the hamsa, which looks like a hand.  It's been used in Jewish and Muslim culture, but it predates that.

Here's one variation:
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« Reply #78 on: October 19, 2013, 10:04:20 PM »

Perhaps the Greeks adopted the nazar, the blue eye amulet, during Turkish occupation (I doubt it), but the belief in the evil eye and having amulets to protect it are really, really ancient.

wish i could remember where i read its turkish, but i cant. you could be right, how ancient are you saying it is? the only thing i can say for sure is thats its pagan/occult. thats according to many priests ive spoken to about it, all cringe when its brought up as being Orthodox and or Greek. i think its something from the past that they wish would just dissapear not. Yeat they ALWAAYS are for sale at every greek church bazar!? Grin

The idea of the "evil eye", IIRC, is common through almost every culture in the world and was known in ancient Egypt and Babylon.  There have always been superstitions and amulets  to protect oneself.  The blue eye that's so common in Greece comes from the hamsa, which looks like a hand.  It's been used in Jewish and Muslim culture, but it predates that.

Here's one variation:
http://tattoomagz.com/wp-content/uploads/hamsa-hand-tattoo-hamsa-hand-61106.jpg

That gives me the creeps.
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« Reply #79 on: October 19, 2013, 10:06:27 PM »

At least you won't suffer from the evil eye! laugh
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« Reply #80 on: October 19, 2013, 10:18:25 PM »

I remember how old women would greet us kids back home: " ptiu (spitting here) may I not cast an evil eye on you"("ptu, nu te'as d'iot'e" or "sa nu te d'iuat" in the local patois).
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« Reply #81 on: October 19, 2013, 10:53:32 PM »

Perhaps the Greeks adopted the nazar, the blue eye amulet, during Turkish occupation (I doubt it), but the belief in the evil eye and having amulets to protect it are really, really ancient.

wish i could remember where i read its turkish, but i cant. you could be right, how ancient are you saying it is? the only thing i can say for sure is thats its pagan/occult. thats according to many priests ive spoken to about it, all cringe when its brought up as being Orthodox and or Greek. i think its something from the past that they wish would just dissapear not. Yeat they ALWAAYS are for sale at every greek church bazar!? Grin

The idea of the "evil eye", IIRC, is common through almost every culture in the world and was known in ancient Egypt and Babylon.  There have always been superstitions and amulets  to protect oneself.  The blue eye that's so common in Greece comes from the hamsa, which looks like a hand.  It's been used in Jewish and Muslim culture, but it predates that.

Here's one variation:


I think the Turkish nazar type are also common in Greece.

I used to give komboloi to male coworkers when I found out they were getting married (without explanation, of course). I am now thinking that I should give out the evil eye version to coworkers in need of a wife. It would aid in their chances in that it shows that they are not only protective but also prepared for all contingencies.

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« Reply #82 on: October 19, 2013, 11:09:07 PM »

I remember how old women would greet us kids back home: " ptiu (spitting here) may I not cast an evil eye on you"("ptu, nu te'as d'iot'e" or "sa nu te d'iuat" in the local patois).

Exactly the same is done and said by Greeks. Oddly, in my experience at least, I've never come across mention of the evil eye and warding it off among Russians, considering their own multitude of folk customs and superstitions.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2013, 11:09:18 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #83 on: October 19, 2013, 11:14:06 PM »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_eyes.JPG

Those are huge.

Has the Greek Church done anything to stop this stupid belief in superstitions?

Yes. We're technically banned from wearing the mati. I wear one usually because of its sentimental value or an ethnic marker (but not as a protector against the evil eye, I'm not a xoriatis, that'd be ridiculous), and every time I get busted by my parish priests or their wives, I'm given the same speech about Jesus Christ saves and not a stupid, pagan piece of glass. My Mother and I are made to take it off in front of the priests so we don't slink away and put it back on, although we usually end up doing it a few days later, my Mother especially because every single time she complains that hers is made with 18k gold.

Actually, come to think of it, I think we should be more worried with our obsession with displaying our wealth with jewellery than a piece of glass. Aw jeez, I hate self-realisations like this...
« Last Edit: October 19, 2013, 11:14:40 PM by KostaC » Logged

«Μὴ μεριμνᾶτε λοιπὸν διὰ τὴν αὔριον, διὀτι ἡ αὐριανὴ ἡμέρα θὰ φροντίσῃ διὰ τὰ δικά της πράγματα. Φθάνει ἡ στεναχώρια τῆς ἡμέρας». Κατά Ματθαίον 6:34
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« Reply #84 on: October 19, 2013, 11:49:49 PM »

To my surprise, there seems to be very little superstition among my fellow Old Believers.

Beyond some belief that the towel a couple toes at their marriage being touched by the Holy Spirit, I can't think of anything that qualifies.

Then there's the story of my family's curse or whatever...
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 12:00:48 AM by Hawkeye » Logged

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« Reply #85 on: October 19, 2013, 11:53:55 PM »

Bells from the Deep: Faith and Superstition in Russia (documentary by Werner Herzog)
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« Reply #86 on: November 01, 2013, 02:15:15 PM »

Just heard this one.
 
Earlier today at the town's cemetery, and in front of the priests, someone broke a plate at the grave of the deseased. This is supposed to prevent another death in the family! One priest who was present told them off twice, apparently the plate was not a willing participant Smiley
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« Reply #87 on: November 01, 2013, 03:04:40 PM »

Everyone knows Greek plates are for breaking at night clubs.

Whatever were these people thinking?
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« Reply #88 on: November 04, 2013, 02:21:17 PM »


So I went and watched it today.

This being before he started his commune, it's hilarious - if easily explainable - how much Vissarion visually borrowed from Russian Orthodoxy: chotki, the sign of blessing, and even the wearing of blue on red.

The Old Believers (priested, it seems) presented are most definitely crazy. Never heard of any stump-gods or sunken cities in my neck of the woods.
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« Reply #89 on: November 04, 2013, 02:32:36 PM »


So I went and watched it today.

This being before he started his commune, it's hilarious - if easily explainable - how much Vissarion visually borrowed from Russian Orthodoxy: chotki, the sign of blessing, and even the wearing of blue on red.

The Old Believers (priested, it seems) presented are most definitely crazy. Never heard of any stump-gods or sunken cities in my neck of the woods.

Well, with Herzog you never know how much is staged and how much "real life". Vissarion may well be a fictional character played by an actor...
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« Reply #90 on: November 04, 2013, 02:43:21 PM »


So I went and watched it today.

This being before he started his commune, it's hilarious - if easily explainable - how much Vissarion visually borrowed from Russian Orthodoxy: chotki, the sign of blessing, and even the wearing of blue on red.

The Old Believers (priested, it seems) presented are most definitely crazy. Never heard of any stump-gods or sunken cities in my neck of the woods.

Well, with Herzog you never know how much is staged and how much "real life". Vissarion may well be a fictional character played by an actor...

Wouldn't that be a twist?

Herzog gets a nice local policeman to play a cult leader believing himself to be the reincarnated Christ, only to lose him to the role. Things get out of hand and an ecological community worshiping this "Vissarion" subsequently pops up in Siberia.

Seems legit.
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« Reply #91 on: November 04, 2013, 02:48:11 PM »

Herzog gets a nice local policeman to play a cult leader believing himself to be the reincarnated Christ, only to lose him to the role. Things get out of hand and an ecological community worshiping this "Vissarion" subsequently pops up in Siberia.

Seems legit.

In Russia, roles do you.  Undecided
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« Reply #92 on: November 04, 2013, 03:16:49 PM »


So I went and watched it today.

This being before he started his commune, it's hilarious - if easily explainable - how much Vissarion visually borrowed from Russian Orthodoxy: chotki, the sign of blessing, and even the wearing of blue on red.

The Old Believers (priested, it seems) presented are most definitely crazy. Never heard of any stump-gods or sunken cities in my neck of the woods.

Well, with Herzog you never know how much is staged and how much "real life". Vissarion may well be a fictional character played by an actor...

How modern of you, thinking there is a difference between stages and real life. And you claimed love for one of the best pieces of post-modern lit: The Tempest!
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« Reply #93 on: November 04, 2013, 03:25:39 PM »

How modern of you, thinking there is a difference between stages and real life. And you claimed love for one of the best pieces of post-modern lit: The Tempest!

I'm torn between my hypocritical and my hypercritical self...

But I did use inverted commas for "real life", didn't I?
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« Reply #94 on: November 04, 2013, 03:34:46 PM »

How modern of you, thinking there is a difference between stages and real life. And you claimed love for one of the best pieces of post-modern lit: The Tempest!

I'm torn between my hypocritical and my hypercritical self...

But I did use inverted commas for "real life", didn't I?

Behind every scare quote is a modernist longing to be sincere.
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« Reply #95 on: February 23, 2014, 01:30:36 AM »

What about the superstition of crossing the mouth when yanning?
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