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

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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   Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:05 pm

As the saying goes "
Welcome to Bulgaria"
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:07 pm

scott wrote:
As the saying goes "
Welcome to Bulgaria"

Absolutely right :Sunny:According to statistics, at least 1 in 5 Bulgarians suffer from mental problems s s
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:03 pm

[size=55:1na8rgkp]BNR

Popular superstitions of Bulgarians

If your left hand is itching, you are about to receive money. If your right hand is itching, you must get ready to give money. When you leave the house, you’d better go with the right foot first, otherwise you will be running into bad luck the whole day. And if you sneeze, then for sure someone is talking about you at this exact moment. And if are unwilling to challenge evil forces, you’d better touch wood. If your right ear is itching, then someone somewhere is saying nice things about you, and if it is your left year, then it is evil stuff ... Or was it vice versa?
We can hardly count all the superstitions that accompany our daily lives. Most of them have no reasonable explanation and most often they are rooted in common folk practices and beliefs.
What are most common superstitions in Bulgaria preserved to this day?

As defined in the Dictionary of the Bulgarian Language, a superstitious person is one who believes in supernatural forces. The word "
superstition"
is explained as a "
delusion"
and its second meaning is of "
a folk belief”.
Official Orthodoxy denies folk predictions made by using different objects as well as the book of dream interpretation consisting of predictions for the future according to characters, events and images that people have seen in their dreams. And let’s not forget that the church has exactly the same attitude towards astrology and numerology. According to Orthodoxy, the official and the most widespread religion in Bulgaria, God is above all circumstances and has the power to keep all evil away from those who rely on His will. The fortunes of people are determined by God and are not governed by superstitions, numbers, protective amulets, etc. However, many people today still stick to these somewhat ancient and pagan beliefs in signs and omens, constantly seeing them in the surrounding world. Many traditional beliefs have been reflected in religious rituals. There are many examples of traditional celebrations that in meaning and calendar time coincide with major religious feasts. Often they bear the same or similar name, and elements of folk rituals have settled permanently in the church rituals.

Geranium, one of the most popular garden flowers in Bulgaria, is celebrated in countless folk songs. Bulgarians believe that the aromatic leaves of the geranium protect against evil eyes and bring health and strength. Once, the young girls used to give to their beloved ones a bunch of geraniums as a token of love. When men embarked on a long journey, women necessarily gave them a bunch of the evergreen flower tied with a red thread. And this is still done by a number of modern Bulgarian mothers and wives when they send family members away. And we should keep in mind that the red colour also has a magical power to protect from harm and trouble. Even today, on St. George’s Day, we decorate the head of the sacrificial lamb with a wreath of geranium. And priests immerse a bunch of geranium in the miraculous holy water and bless the animal before it is being sacrificed. Priests also use a bunch of geraniums to sprinkle people with holy water at weddings, christenings, major religious feasts, etc.. Very often, this bunch is tightly wrapped with a red thread.

"
You would know what the day would be by the morning"
, a Bulgarian proverb says. And one of the most common superstitions preserved to this day reads: "
If the person you first meet on the day is with full hands, I will be lucky on that day”. And better yet if it is a beautiful, healthy and well-meaning. Perhaps this belief is firmly rooted in the numerous folk customs accompanied by the belief that a rich table attracts fertility. A person with physical health, material wealth and good character qualities will transfer these qualities onto the home he or she visits on certain special days of the year. In Bulgarian folklore, we find many stories in which protagonists are people with bad luck and people who believe in superstitions. Here's a run-down of them: “Once you get outside the gate, try not to meet the neighbours grandmother who has evil eyes, because this will bring you bad luck”. According to another popular belief, one should not return once leaving the house. Otherwise, his luck will be lost. And it is best to cross the threshold with the right foot. And better still, if there is someone to pour clean water over it.
And funnily, many modern Bulgarians still perform these little rituals, no matter whether with a smile on their faces or in good faith.

In many places in Bulgaria, people still comply with the prohibition to greet each other over the doorway of the house. When visitors come, says the legend, wait for them to first enter your home. Only then could you shake hands with them, hug them and greet them with "
welcome"
. If you do it over the threshold, it brings bad luck. Also one should not hand over the doorway other items, such as food, clothes, etc. The threshold is one of the holy places in the home of the patriarchal family, according to traditional beliefs. In folk legends, this is a kind of boundary between the absorbed and unused space. When the bride enters for the first time in the home of her husband, she ritually puts some honey and butter on the threshold – as a blessing for a happy family life, health and welfare. In some parts of Bulgaria, people believe that the snake-holder of the house lives under the doorstep – this snake is a mythical creature, guardian of the house, the field and the whole village. People in the past also used to perform a number of healing rituals and magical acts over the doorstep to their houses.

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sandra6
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:36 pm

i thought with hands it was =right to recieve left to leave, money wise, &
people talking good or bad about you, ears burning= right for spite left for love, there are some really funny ones above, Sandra
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:12 pm

You are not allowed to do any clothes washing on New Years day as you will wash your luck away.

Never walk under a ladder.

The Magpie tale, One for sorrow, 2 for Joy, 3 for a girl and 4 for a boy etc

Touch wood for luck.

Touch your collar when you see a hearse with a body in it.

Crossed knife &
Fork means an argument

An Owl on your roof means a death.

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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:08 am

Hi.
The english place a horseshoe upwards for good luck while in BG they place it downwards for luck, apparently so the devil cannot make a nest in it.
Regards
William
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PostSubject: Re: superstitions   Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:18 pm

In the UK if the horse shoe opening is downwards the luck pours out of it, thats why we put them open end up, i have 1 outside my BG house but still not sold it, we live in hope, actually i now live in hope st in UK, LOL, sandra
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