Superstitions are a fascinating part of a country’s culture, as they reveal many things about its past and the experiences of its people.
The belief in supernatural causality has a long history in Greece. Greek polytheists in antiquity, who modeled their relations with the gods on political and social terms, scorned those men who constantly trembled with fear at the thought of the gods, as the slaves fear their master.
However, in recent years, many of the superstitions that were passed on to modern Greeks by the previous generations became part of the country’s folklore and it is not uncommon to find superstitious Greeks even among the most educated parts of the population.
This is a list of the weirdest – for foreigners that is – Greek superstitions that you may find interesting.
Known as “mati” in Greek, the evil eye is a curse believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, given to a person when they are unaware. Belief in the evil eye dates back to Classical antiquity.
Strangely enough, some Greeks value their spittle as a charm against all evil. So if someone spits on you in Greece don’t be offended! Good luck is ensured!
The itchy hand
This superstition is common in a number of cultures. In Greece, if your right hand is itchy it indicates that you will receive money. If you’re left hand is itchy it indicates that you will give money.
The itchy nose
Another superstition about an itchy body part. Some Greeks believe that if you have an itchy nose, there’s a good chance you’ll get beaten.
The gift of perfume
In Greece it is customary that when you give someone a perfume as a gift, they must give you a coin in return. If they don’t do that your relationship may be at risk.
If you are invited to dinner by Greeks, never hand someone a knife. Set it down at the table and let them pick it up, or else you will get into a fight with that person.
Orthodox priests are revered in Greece. However, some people believe it a bad omen to see one walking in the street.
The Greeks have a secret weapon for getting rid of unwanted guests in their homes. They just sprinkle salt behind them and, a few minutes later, they are gone.