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Brian1
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PostSubject: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:03 am

I started thinking about Bulgarian superstitions and traditional beliefs recently and decided to write them here and to ask others of their thoughts.
Bulgaria has a wealth of such time-honoured ideas. To a foreigner, such as myself, they range from the familiar to the downright bizarre. It came as no surprise to learn that Bulgarians consider it unlucky to walk under ladders, but I couldn't stop myself laughing when my friend told me that if she sees a dead animal on the street, she must hold onto her hair until she catches sight of a bird or an open window. A distinction can be drawn between 'superstitions' and other kinds of folklore belief. A superstition requires some kind of 'magical' or 'supernatural' element, such as the idea that a black cat crossing your path will cause you to be struck by bad luck (apparently, the Bulgarian remedy for this is to turn around three times in an anti-clockwise direction before throwing a stone at the unfortunate feline omen :Very funny 2:In some cases, trying to determine whether a particular outcome is supposed to be caused by magic or merely circumstance can be an ambiguous task. When somebody pours wine from their glass onto the floor as an offering for the dead, is this considered to be purely 'symbolic' or is it actually deemed to provide some kind of 'nourishment' for the deceased? One of my Bulgarian friends thinks the former, another is convinced of the latter. With this in mind, I decided to focus on all forms of traditional belief. My first step was to ask my Bulgarian friends about the notions and superstitions they'd grown up with in the towns and cities outside Sofia (the one thing my 'local' friends all have in common is the fact that they're not actually local at all). My friends expressed scepticism towards some of the traditional ideas they described, but revealed a determined belief in others. For example, they considered it very unlucky to return to the house to retrieve something they'd forgotten. On the other hand, none of my friends were convinced by the traditional notion that if you don't manage to finish all the bread on your plate during dinner then 'the gypsies' will come and fight you Talking to my friends, I was impressed by the sheer range of traditional beliefs that exist in Bulgaria. If you sing on the table, I discovered, you may end up marrying a gypsy or an alcoholic, and if you walk around wearing only one sock you're liable to become an orphan. What's more, there are some quite complicated rituals governing the dos and don't s of everyday interaction. If you want to give flowers to a friend, it is only appropriate to give an odd number (even numbers are only intended for the dead), and if you mistakenly give someone yellow roses they'll see it as a sign that you don't like them! The more beliefs and superstitions I uncovered, the more fascinated I became. And when I started exploring traditional British and Irish ideas, I was amazed by the number of these that can also be found in Bulgaria, sometimes the beliefs correspond exactly. Both the British and the Bulgarians will tell you that it's unlucky to open an umbrella indoors (although, curiously, a friend of mine tells me this isn't the case in the Rhodopes). Breaking a mirror means trouble, a wish cast upon a shooting star will come true, and it is a favourable omen to break a glass (although presumably this depends on the glass) whereas a knife dropped in both Bulgaria and Britain is presumed to forecast a male visitor to the house, in the British Isles the theme is extended two steps further: a dropped fork predicts the arrival of a woman, and a dropped carving knife means a policeman will be paying a visit. In Bulgaria, if the palm of your left hand itches it's considered a sign that you'll be receiving money, and if the palm of your right hand itches, you'll be giving money to somebody else. In Britain, so my father told me, a similar belief exists but it works in reverse. Back in the England my parents or grandmother mentions the possibility of ill fortune, or an episode of bad luck that has befallen someone else, they 'touch wood' to avoid 'tempting fate'. In Bulgaria, they engage in a slightly more strange ritual - they knock on wood three times, preferably under the table so that the devil won't hear them. :: And don't think the Balkans hold the monopoly on the weirdest superstitions;
Britain and Ireland can be proud of their fair share, too. When I emailed my friends in England to ask them if they recognised, in the more obscure Bulgarian superstitions, any of their own cultural beliefs, they were, on the whole, pretty nonplussed. Beyond the more popular notions, such as stepping under ladders, black cats and umbrellas, they didn't seem to be aware of their own native nineteenth and twentieth century traditions. The young people I spoke to in Bulgaria showed an understanding of their cultural framework of traditional superstitions and customs, even if they didn't necessarily believe in all of them;
the young people in England didn't. In Bulgaria, these traditions continue to live and breathe as a part of the country's rich heritage. In England, in the eyes of younger generations, the majority of these beliefs have all but disappeared. With this in mind, I asked seven Bulgarian and seven English people, aged between nineteen and thirty-two, whether they considered themselves to be superstitious. Of the seven Bulgarians, all but one told me they considered themselves superstitious, while only two of the English people I questioned felt this to be the case, so I decided to widen the net by emailing friends in Switzerland and Denmark. When I read their replies, I discovered invisible threads connecting all these parts of Europe together for example It is considered lucky to see a chimney sweep in all of these countries, and, with the exception of Britain, you are also apparently blessed with good fortune if you catch sight of a bride. Salt scares away demons in Denmark as well as Bulgaria and Britain (in Bulgaria, there is a tradition of scattering salt on the window sill during times of full moon), and playing with fire will cause incontinence at night in both Bulgaria and Denmark (some Bulgarians believe eating too many melons will also have this effect!).

I could never imagine my parents describing themselves as superstitious, but I could guarantee them taking down the festive decorations twelve days after Christmas. We might be living in the 'rational' age, but I know there'll be a bright smile on my (Bulgarian) friend's face next time she sees a chimney sweep passing her in the street. In different degrees, superstitions and traditional beliefs remain with us, providing a cultural backdrop and an insight into the heritage that connects one country with another. Bulgaria provides a striking example of this - regardless of whether you're young or old, these timeless traditions still appear to be very much alive. Now, where did I put my lucky horseshoe?
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:14 am

Brian1 wrote:
I started thinking about Bulgarian superstitions and traditional beliefs recently and decided to write them here and to ask others of their thoughts.
Bulgaria has a wealth of such time-honoured ideas. To a foreigner, such as myself, they range from the familiar to the downright bizarre. It came as no surprise to learn that Bulgarians consider it unlucky to walk under ladders, but I couldn't stop myself laughing when my friend told me that if she sees a dead animal on the street, she must hold onto her hair until she catches sight of a bird or an open window. A distinction can be drawn between 'superstitions' and other kinds of folklore belief. A superstition requires some kind of 'magical' or 'supernatural' element, such as the idea that a black cat crossing your path will cause you to be struck by bad luck (apparently, the Bulgarian remedy for this is to turn around three times in an anti-clockwise direction before throwing a stone at the unfortunate feline omen :Very funny 2:In some cases, trying to determine whether a particular outcome is supposed to be caused by magic or merely circumstance can be an ambiguous task. When somebody pours wine from their glass onto the floor as an offering for the dead, is this considered to be purely 'symbolic' or is it actually deemed to provide some kind of 'nourishment' for the deceased? One of my Bulgarian friends thinks the former, another is convinced of the latter. With this in mind, I decided to focus on all forms of traditional belief. My first step was to ask my Bulgarian friends about the notions and superstitions they'd grown up with in the towns and cities outside Sofia (the one thing my 'local' friends all have in common is the fact that they're not actually local at all). My friends expressed scepticism towards some of the traditional ideas they described, but revealed a determined belief in others. For example, they considered it very unlucky to return to the house to retrieve something they'd forgotten. On the other hand, none of my friends were convinced by the traditional notion that if you don't manage to finish all the bread on your plate during dinner then 'the gypsies' will come and fight you Talking to my friends, I was impressed by the sheer range of traditional beliefs that exist in Bulgaria. If you sing on the table, I discovered, you may end up marrying a gypsy or an alcoholic, and if you walk around wearing only one sock you're liable to become an orphan. What's more, there are some quite complicated rituals governing the dos and don't s of everyday interaction. If you want to give flowers to a friend, it is only appropriate to give an odd number (even numbers are only intended for the dead), and if you mistakenly give someone yellow roses they'll see it as a sign that you don't like them! The more beliefs and superstitions I uncovered, the more fascinated I became. And when I started exploring traditional British and Irish ideas, I was amazed by the number of these that can also be found in Bulgaria, sometimes the beliefs correspond exactly. Both the British and the Bulgarians will tell you that it's unlucky to open an umbrella indoors (although, curiously, a friend of mine tells me this isn't the case in the Rhodopes). Breaking a mirror means trouble, a wish cast upon a shooting star will come true, and it is a favourable omen to break a glass (although presumably this depends on the glass) whereas a knife dropped in both Bulgaria and Britain is presumed to forecast a male visitor to the house, in the British Isles the theme is extended two steps further: a dropped fork predicts the arrival of a woman, and a dropped carving knife means a policeman will be paying a visit. In Bulgaria, if the palm of your left hand itches it's considered a sign that you'll be receiving money, and if the palm of your right hand itches, you'll be giving money to somebody else. In Britain, so my father told me, a similar belief exists but it works in reverse. Back in the England my parents or grandmother mentions the possibility of ill fortune, or an episode of bad luck that has befallen someone else, they 'touch wood' to avoid 'tempting fate'. In Bulgaria, they engage in a slightly more strange ritual - they knock on wood three times, preferably under the table so that the devil won't hear them. :: And don't think the Balkans hold the monopoly on the weirdest superstitions;
Britain and Ireland can be proud of their fair share, too. When I emailed my friends in England to ask them if they recognised, in the more obscure Bulgarian superstitions, any of their own cultural beliefs, they were, on the whole, pretty nonplussed. Beyond the more popular notions, such as stepping under ladders, black cats and umbrellas, they didn't seem to be aware of their own native nineteenth and twentieth century traditions. The young people I spoke to in Bulgaria showed an understanding of their cultural framework of traditional superstitions and customs, even if they didn't necessarily believe in all of them;
the young people in England didn't. In Bulgaria, these traditions continue to live and breathe as a part of the country's rich heritage. In England, in the eyes of younger generations, the majority of these beliefs have all but disappeared. With this in mind, I asked seven Bulgarian and seven English people, aged between nineteen and thirty-two, whether they considered themselves to be superstitious. Of the seven Bulgarians, all but one told me they considered themselves superstitious, while only two of the English people I questioned felt this to be the case, so I decided to widen the net by emailing friends in Switzerland and Denmark. When I read their replies, I discovered invisible threads connecting all these parts of Europe together for example It is considered lucky to see a chimney sweep in all of these countries, and, with the exception of Britain, you are also apparently blessed with good fortune if you catch sight of a bride. Salt scares away demons in Denmark as well as Bulgaria and Britain (in Bulgaria, there is a tradition of scattering salt on the window sill during times of full moon), and playing with fire will cause incontinence at night in both Bulgaria and Denmark (some Bulgarians believe eating too many melons will also have this effect!).

I could never imagine my parents describing themselves as superstitious, but I could guarantee them taking down the festive decorations twelve days after Christmas. We might be living in the 'rational' age, but I know there'll be a bright smile on my (Bulgarian) friend's face next time she sees a chimney sweep passing her in the street. In different degrees, superstitions and traditional beliefs remain with us, providing a cultural backdrop and an insight into the heritage that connects one country with another. Bulgaria provides a striking example of this - regardless of whether you're young or old, these timeless traditions still appear to be very much alive. Now, where did I put my lucky horseshoe?

Very interesting Brian1. On ethat you seem to have missed for BG is putting your bag or briefcase on the floor - you are only supposed to ever put them on a chair or table. If you put them on the floor, you will lose all your money, apparently!!
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:41 am

:Thank you:for sharing, nice reading with my milky coffee and a freshly baked fruit scone.
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:01 am

i noticed my Bg friend blowing or spitting down his shirt 3 times, when i made him jump 1 day, he couldent explain why? anyone else know why please. sandra
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:03 am

Because his chest was itching?
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:15 am

sandra6 wrote:
i noticed my Bg friend blowing or spitting down his shirt 3 times, when i made him jump 1 day, he couldent explain why? anyone else know why please. sandra


Perhaps a Terantula had hopped inside his shirt to keep warm, you know how cold it gets in BG!!


s s s s
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:16 am

itchyfeet wrote:
Perhaps a Terantula had hopped inside his shirt to keep warm, you know how cold it gets in BG!!

You're as bad as me!!! s s s s
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:12 pm

sandra6 wrote:
i noticed my Bg friend blowing or spitting down his shirt 3 times, when i made him jump 1 day, he couldent explain why? anyone else know why please. sandra

Is it something to do with not allowing any bad spirits into your heart as it jumped? I'm sure this is what I was told a long time ago from a friend of mine who experienced the same thing s
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:32 am

Some good ones added here I'd forgotten about the handbag on the floor so well done George, can't answer the one from Sandra so perhaps you could ask your friend and let us all know? although what Daisy has said could ring true you never know with the Bulgarian's they are a superstitious lot
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

:Good post:It will be interesting to see how many BG superstitions all you peeps come up with.Our friend touches something red when an ambulance approaches!We were also told the bones in our roof were some kind of black magic ritual,but these turned out to be carried up there by owls and weasels! At least our friends were impressed and relieved when I doused the house in salt!
Thanks for an interesting read! g

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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:43 pm

:Good post:It will be interesting to see how many BG superstitions all you peeps come up with.Our friend touches something red when an ambulance approaches!We were also told the bones in our roof were some kind of black magic ritual,but these turned out to be carried up there by owls and weasels! At least our friends were impressed and relieved when I doused the house in salt!
Thanks for an interesting read! g

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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:53 pm

Pavingslabsbg At least our friends were impressed and relieved when I doused the house in salt!
Thanks for an interesting read!]


Did you throw salt over your left shoulder when you had finished??

s s s
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:50 pm

Here's a few more to get you thinking, I got them from a friend of mine so don't laugh

* If you start to hiccup, someone is talking about you.

* If you your cheeks get warm, someone is talking about you.

* If your nose starts to itch, you’ll fight with someone, get beaten or kissed by a madman.

* If your right palm itches, you’ll give money soon. If your left palm itches, you’ll receive money soon.

* If your right eye twitches, that’s a good sign. If your left eye twitches, it’s a bad sign.

* If you sit facing the corner of a table with your chair, you won’t get married.

* If someone is sweeping up the floor and accidentally goes with the broom over your feet, you won’t ever get married.

* If you spill salt, you’ll have a fight with someone.

* If you spill pepper, you’ll argue with your best friend.

* Never wash clothes or do dishes on Sundays.

* Never whistle indoors because your house will be left alone and empty.

* If you pour yourself a drink without completely emptying that glass first, you’ll make babies who’ll have a stutter.

* When pouring drinks, whoever gets the very last drops from the bottle will have to buy the next round. Another superstition is that if you let the last drops from a bottle drip into a woman’s glass when pouring drinks, men’s eyes will be dripping after her.

* If you give money on Mondays, you’ll be giving money all week.

* If someone asks you for scissors, you must always give them closed and with the handles to wards that person you are giving them too. If you give the scissors in the open position, you’ll be in a fight that person. Never put down open scissors anywhere.

* If you step in any kind of shit, it’s good luck.

* When you take an apple, before eating it, start twisting its stem (you know, the twig of the apple or whatever it’s called, we call it “the little tail”) and count how many times you twist it. On whichever number the twig breaks, someone whose name starts with the letter corresponding to that number in the alphabet, is thinking of you. So, if the twig breaks on the second twist, someone whose name starts with “B” is thinking of you, etc….

* Make a wish whenever you eat something for the first time that year. That was especially meant for seasonal fruit ‘cause back in the day we didn't’t have them all-year-round, you had to wait for summer to eat cherries, for autumn to eat apples and so on

.

* This one was very popular donkeys years a go:

If two persons tell you they love you and you want to find out which one loves you more, name one thumb after one person and the other thumb after the other person. Then tie your thumbs together with the same piece of thread, one thumb at one end of the thread and the other at the other end. Then quickly draw your hands apart until the thread breaks. Whichever thumb ends up with the longest piece of thread, that person loves you more.

(You can imagine the bad choices of boyfriends or girlfriends we made because of this superstition)
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:56 pm

Some very interesting ones there Carmen
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:58 pm

Carmen wrote:
* Never whistle indoors because your house will be left alone and empty.

I was always given to understand you were calling up the Devil if you did that.

Carmen wrote:
* If someone asks you for scissors, you must always give them closed and with the handles to wards that person you are giving them too. If you give the scissors in the open position, you’ll be in a fight that person. Never put down open scissors anywhere.

Witches are reputed to use open scissors to lay curses.

Carmen wrote:

* If your nose starts to itch, you’ll fight with someone, get beaten or kissed by a madman.

definitely true in Bulgaria - happens to me all the time s s s
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