Russia: Black Cat

Informant: This is another superstition my family really believes in. A lot of people have this superstition and I’ve seen it play out all around the world but I think the Russian version has an interesting take on it. It basically states that when you see a black cat crossing the street it’s bad luck so in order to counter that bad luck you need to take 10 steps back from where you were standing. The superstition only applies if the black cat is crossing the street and taking back 10 steps is crucial in order for the bad luck to not set in. This is a very controversial superstition for me because I love cats and hate the idea that I need to fear them or take certain preventative actions in order to avoid bad luck. However, I still feel compelled to participate in this superstition just because my whole family participates in it and the idea of bad luck makes me nervous. 


This is another example of how superstitions are used and the power they hold. I found it interesting that the idea of a black cat being a symbolism for bad luck can also be found in Russia; it is quite common to believe in this superstition in America. However, the fact that Eliza demonstrates how they have their own version and approach to the superstition delineates how folklore varies from culture to culture. I think it is very important to highlight how Eliza claims that she participates in the superstition because her family participate in it as well. This, combined with the inherent fear in having bad luck, shows how superstitions work. It is interesting that it is specifically the black cat which is believed to be bad luck. This might be because black is the opposite of white; black is usually associated with death and evil whereas white is associated with purity and goodness. Therefore, it might be the symbolism of color which works to promotes this superstition. Overall, I think this is a fairly common superstition and demonstrates a more global approach to folklore.