Minor Genre: Proverb

“Не пуха, ни пера, к черту” – translate to “no feathers, to the devil”

Context: Before a competition, interview, exam or something that you needed to do well on, your coach, family members, or friends would say this to you. In a personal context, this was said before her ballet competition in Russia every time she was about to compete in order to have good luck. This proverb is used rhetorically as a fixed phrase and was mainly said by elders to a younger audience. This was a very common phrase she heard growing up in Russia and was something she used as encouragement and confidence to succeed in whatever she was doing. She first heard it from her dad when she went to school for an exam and from then on it became a very common phrase used by the people around her, and eventually her ballet coach. Whether she was at school, in a tournament, or about to do something exhilarating, this was the phrase heard every time.

Analysis: This phrase is very similar to one we have in American culture, “break a leg,” which has the meaning of good luck and is said before an important event that you want to succeed in. As a fixed phrase used to give a blessing, the metaphorical meaning behind it is similar to the American version of this proverb. Nobody wants you to actually break your leg, but instead it’s a backwards metaphor saying good luck to you. This was apart of Russian “paremiology” where essentially everyone knows this basic proverb. Similar to the United States, everyone knows the phrase “break a leg” and the real meaning behind it.