Russian: Water Superstition

Informant: Ever since I was little my mother and grandmother would let the water run in the sinks every time something bad happened.

Collector: So it was like a way to get rid of bad luck?

Informant: Yeah, exactly. They thought that by letting the water in the sink run their, like, problems or bad luck would wash away.

Collector: And was this superstition just a thing within your family or did other people also do it?

Informant: It was pretty widespread. Everyone I knew knew about it and did it.

Collector: Do you know where it originated from?

Informant: No, it was just a preventative thing everyone I knew in Russia did. I grew up knowing about it and my mother and grandmother have been doing it for their whole lives. It makes them uncomfortable to not do it, which is why they always do it when something bad happens.



I could really relate to this piece even though I am not from Russia. Bad luck is something people are very often scared of so it makes sense that a ritual would exist in order to get rid of it. Even though there is no prove that this works, there is a certain logic to the superstition explained above. They are getting rid of bad luck by literally “washing them away.” The element of water plays a very important part in this superstition and brings forth very interesting insights. For starters, water is often thought of as pure and cleansing. Therefore, it would make sense to have a superstition surrounding water because of the connotations with the element. Moreover, water often symbolizes life and purity. Since the superstition is using water to get rid of bad omens, it makes sense that the water would work as a stand in for having a pure and joyful life deplete of bad luck.

I love hearing the different superstitions people have. I think they are extremely interesting and powerful. Even though there is no scientific prove to them, people continue to participate in them and shape their perspective on good/bad luck based on which superstitions they follow. This is one of many examples of how superstitions work, and delineates how superstitions tend to be very symbolical and active; people are required to participate in order for them to work.