Russian Injury Superstition

Melanie Holpert studies History and Film at the University of Southern California. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois but now lives in Los Angeles, California while she attends university. Her parents are both Russian and practice Judaism—they have strong ties to Russia and are very committed to preserving their heritage. As such, Melanie’s parents and extended family imparted a number of Russian traditions to her and her older sister as they grew up. Of these, Melanie most vividly remembers the superstitions. Below, she recounts one of the superstitions she observed while growing up:

 Melanie: “If I’m describing an injury, or like an illness to another person, I can’t show it on my own body.”

Isabella: “Why is that?”

Melanie: “They say it’s going to happen to you if you describe it using your own body. You can only describe it verbally.”

Here, Melanie describes a superstition that warns against discussing injuries. This superstition implies a great concern for physical health in Russian culture, or at least a particularly strong aversion to sickness and injury. It also suggests that Russians view injury as something that is controlled by other forces (i.e. the Gods, the universe, etc.). The superstition described above serves as a way to avoid any unnecessary injuries or sicknesses.