Breaking Glass in Romania
“Breaking glass is a sign of breaking bad luck in Romania. Its not about breaking glass intentionally, but if it so happens that glass breaks in front of you or you accidentally break glass, you say, ‘Oh it means my bad luck is gone’.”
The informant who told me about this folk belief was born and raised in Romania until she came to high school in the US. Given the fact that she is a native Romanian, she knows a lot about the customs and traditions of the country, especially due to her large family, and the setting she grew up in from an early age.
This is a widely held belief in Romania, and can be considered a “conversion” folk belief, such as knocking on wood, in that it takes an action, the glass breaking, and converts it to a meaning, in this case bad luck disappearing. A key thing to understand is that breaking glass is not good luck, but it eliminates bad luck. Also, this is very different to a mirror breaking, because the belief in that, as it is here, is that it will lead to seven years of bad luck. Romanian culture is based heavily on the concept of luck, and due to this, there are countless folk beliefs shared among people. The informant does not remember where she first heard this belief, but it could have been her grandmother, given that she is quite prolific in remembering and still actively believing in all of this folklore.