Nov 6, 2013

Bosnian Superstitions

Some Bosnians might tell you that they're not superstitious. Well, don't believe them. What some may call superstition many Bosnians take as a natural fact. Where these beliefs have come from nobody knows in full, but rest assured the pagan Illyrians, heretic Bosnian Church, and Islam have all contributed to them. Here are just a few of the long list of superstitions...


* This one can be refuted (at least by the Bosnians) as a medical fact instead of a superstition. Drafts. Yes, drafts. All diseases are carried in drafts so if it's 40 degrees outside and you see all the windows rolled up it's not because everyone has AC. Any earaches, colds, sties, headaches - well, just about any ailment is blamed on that little nip of wind from open windows. Don't be surprised to see people dashing to close the window if there is another one open in the building or car that you're in.

* Drinking anything cold is another great excuse, even in the middle of summer, for why someone is sick. Don't be disappointed, especially American travelers, to find no ice in most places. You'll get sick for heaven's sake!
* Wet hair. On more than one occasion during the war one could find Sarajevans taking a brisk walk through sniper fire and shelling - that was normal. God forbid, though, if you stepped outside with wet hair. That is a big no-no. Wet hair, with the combination of wind (yes, even in the summer) will give you pneumonia, guaranteed. If the receptionist looks at you as if you've just been released from a 'home' she or he is simply worried about you. The general rule is you must first dry your hair with a hairdryer, wait at least an hour and then it's safe to walk the streets. And you think I'm kidding.
* If you knock a glass over or spill something while speaking - that, of course, means it's true.
* When describing an injury or sickness never ever show or explain it on your own body. Never.
* If you spill your coffee, don't fret it, it simply means you are about to be rewarded some material gain.
* An itchy left palm means you are about to get something (positive).
* An itchy right palm, naturally, means you are about to give something.
* An itchy nose means you are about to get angry.
* If you say something you would like to come true be sure to knock on wood three times, but from underneath - the underneath thing is key.
* Whenever entering a building always enter with right foot first.
* Whatever you do don't whistle in the house. It is a sure bet that you have summoned demons and when you leave there is no guarantee that they haven't.
* Bread is heaven's gift. Never throw it away. This rule gained strength in the war due to the extreme lack of food, every crumble was held in high regard.
* Always stir clockwise, it's the natural flow of things.
* It's bad luck to cut your nails after dark. Only daylight cutting please, you don't want to jinx yourself.
* Never stand in the middle of a doorframe... nobody knows why, it's just 'bad'.
* People talking about you makes you hick-up.