Author Topic: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more  (Read 20388 times)

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Offline Maria

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Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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 »
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Offline Maria

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. :-[ 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 »
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Offline Maria

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. :-[ 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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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. :-[ 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.

Offline vorgos

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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...

Offline Romaios

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 03:56:06 PM by Romaios »

Offline vorgos

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.

Offline Romaios

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.

Offline Maria

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. :-[ 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.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 04:14:13 PM by Maria »
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 04:18:05 PM »
Meh. I like Garlic so I'm not complaining.
"Your children shall become the head, but you... will become the tail of the Church; therefore your judges will be those who have always preserved the Catholic Faith... they will be the Orthodox and true Catholics since they have never accepted heretics... but have remained zealous for the True Faith." (Western Bishops' Response to Pope Vigilius)

Offline Romaios

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. :-[ 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. 
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 04:25:47 PM by Romaios »

Offline Shiny

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Offline lovesupreme

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 04:46:41 PM by lovesupreme »

Offline Maria

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2013, 05:36:07 PM »
Greece by no means has a monopoly on superstition.
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2013, 05:44:59 PM »
Meh. I like Garlic so I'm not complaining.

+1

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. :)
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. :)

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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 10:45:58 PM by Agabus »
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2013, 10:41:57 PM »
Awesome!
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2013, 02:33:47 AM »
Bash every evil eye in existence!
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2013, 12:52:33 PM »
I'm scared of lots of stuff. Not black cats, though. I like them. :)
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 01:42:18 PM by GabrieltheCelt »
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2013, 03:47:19 PM »
I'm scared of lots of stuff. Not black cats, though. I like them. :)

Me too :)

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2013, 03:57:11 PM »
I'm scared of lots of stuff. Not black cats, though. I like them. :)

Me too :)

Whatever colour the coat, I'll stroke it. I'm an equal opportunity crazy cat lady. :)
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Offline Romaios

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2013, 04:22:36 PM »
Most black cats I've ever seen in one spot were on Athos:



« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 04:26:05 PM by Romaios »

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.  :)
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. ;D
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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.  :)

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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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. ;D

Dogs are definitely a minority on the Holy Mountain. :P

Offline Opus118

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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. ;D

Same here.

Part beagle or fox hound and something else I think. Missing his right eye and possibly associated with Iviron Monastery.

Offline augustin717

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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".

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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.
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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?
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Online Mor Ephrem

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Re: Greek Superstitions: evil eye, garlic, knives, brides, and more
« 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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