Superstitions, old wives’ tales, and urban legends exist all around the world. Although the people who admit believing in some of them are often ridiculed, we all subconsciously follow some “unwritten rules” that do not necessarily have a rational background. According to Forbes and Psychology Today, superstitions and magical thinking are hardwired to our brain and are essential for our survival.
Here are some of the most common beliefs from (Modern) Greece that are not directly connected to the official Christian Orthodox traditions. The video includes Greek superstitions, old wives’ tales, and urban legends. You will learn more about the vaskania (evil eye) and stories such as the sacrifice to the bridge of Arta.
Superstitions are called “δεισιδαιμονίες” in Greek. Here are some of the superstitions many Greek people still believe:
- Mati/Vaskania (Evil Eye)
- Touch Red
- Gifting Perfume
- Itchy Palms
- Knock on Wood
- Sneezing and Hiccups
- Owl on the Roof
Greek Old Wives’ Tales
Greek old wives’ tales usually revolve around health issues, pregnancy, and motherhood. Here are a few old wives’ tales from Greece:
- Getting a Cold from Being Cold
- Sleeping with Wet Hair
- Shape of the Baby Bum
- Using Garlic and Onions Topically
- Dreaming of the Groom
Greek Urban Legends
Greek urban legends differ, depending on whether they originate from villages, small town, or big cities. In general, urban legends in villages revolve around spirits and hauntings. In bigger cities, urban legends differ:
- The Dead Hitchhiker
- Haunted Locations
- The Stone Bridge of Arta
- White Vans
- Yello, Mormo, Lamia, and Other Boogy(wo)men
- Vampire Islands
You can watch the video and learn the details regarding these superstitions. If you are new here, feel free to explore the rest of Helinika’s pages.
Here are a few English phrases and idioms that you should avoid translating into Greek (+ what you can say instead). The bilingual vlog also includes English idioms that do make sense when translated into Greek.
Helinika has created three printable posters with the Greek alphabet. Students can download the materials for free and use them to decorate their offices/classrooms.