Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: April 29, 2015
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish
My informant, KM, explained that Russians believe it is bad luck to whistle under a roof because you are whistling your money away. This is a very strong belief in Russia. KM learned this superstition from her Russian American friend and roommate. Thus, no whistling occurs in KM’s home.
KM saw this superstition in the motherland when traveling in Russia in the summer of 2012. KM was was on a USC trip with eighteen American students. KM and her travel companions were walking outside on a street that was under construction. The sidewalk on which they were walking had overhead scaffolding–basically a roof outdoors. One of KM’s friends began to whistle when walking beneath the scaffolding and immediately received dirty looks from the Russian passersby. KM later realized that her friend was receiving stares from the Russians because he was whistling under a roof. My informant then told her friend and the whole group that whistling under a roof is bad luck.
This belief demonstrates that money is important to Russians and not to be whistled away. It suggests that Russians do not have a care-free attitude towards their money. It also demonstrates that Russians have a strong belief in their superstitions.