As soon as they get on a Romanian train, most travellers quickly find out that we are a very superstitious nation. There is this evil thing, called a ‘draft’- it basically means that if you leave windows or doors open and create a ‘draft’, you will be ill: random parts of your body might start to ache or, if you are really unlucky, you will catch a cold! And that is unacceptable!
Even Bram Stoker, who dazed and confused a lot of people and continues to do so, makes a note in his famous novel ‘Dracula’ regarding the superstitious people inhabiting Transylvania. So clearly, we have a pattern here! We’d therefore like to give you a heads up on the matter, as you might come across some of these do's and don’ts.
We’ve selected some of the most interesting samples, but bear in mind that there are more and oddly enough, almost all Romanians are aware of them, and if you are anything like our moms, you will keep them in mind at all times!
Spilling salt means you are going to quarrel. In order to avoid that, one has to throw a pinch of salt that was spilled over the shoulder.
Seeing a black cat in the street, means bad luck. If that happens, just go 7 steps back and apparently that gets you out of trouble!
It is not good to whistle inside a house, because you will lose your money!
Girls watch out! When you sit at the corner of the table you will never marry!
If you began your travel you should not turn half way, even when you forget something, as this will surely bring bad luck!
When your hand itches, this can mean different things, depending on whether it is the left or the right hand (right hand: receive money; left hand: you will give money).
NEVER open an umbrella in the house, as you will become homeless. Normally you only open an umbrella when there is nothing above your head!
Thus, never give 4, 6, 8 flowers to a person. Bouquets with even numbers are for funeral ceremonies or cemeteries.
Never lend money or take away garbage after sun set. This takes away prosperity from your house.
It is not good to sew a hole while wearing the cloth. In case you keep your cloth on, take a peace of sewing thread in your mouth.
If the person you are talking to is sneezing after you said something, it means that what you said is true.
When your nose itches, you will have a party or festivity, an occasion to drink. Or you will receive some news. Other times, it can mean you will get your ass whooped (probably works better with kids).
When drinking wine, one pours out some wine on the ground. This is for the dead friends and relatives so they can drink along.
When you have the hiccups, someone is thinking of you.
You can only have a toast with alcoholic drinks. Soft drinks etc. are not meant to be toasted.
When a person praises a child, like "What a nice child", the child should have something red. This can prevent the child from becoming ill. In case the child did not wear anything red, a person who has experience has to remove the curse and will be asked to work their magic (the exact words are not to be said as they will no longer have any effect). This is also why in Romania horses that pull cards carry threads of red clothes.
Now that you have been initiated in the world of Romanian superstitions, feel free to let us know whether you have come across any other crazy customs while traveling, either here or in other countries! We’d love to learn about your experiences!