13 Greek Superstitions That People Still Believe In Greece

30 August 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House
Unsplash: Muhammed Zafer Yahsi

There are no rules when it comes to love and luck. And anything goes when it comes to luck and love. But in some cultures, like Greek culture, you can kind of do something to sway things your way when it comes to both luck and love. It’s as if you have a hand in how you want things to go in these matters. You’re not really playing Destiny here, but you’re more or less guaranteeing that the stars are aligning in your favor. For example, you can carry a charm with you wherever you go to make sure you are lucky all day. Or you can place a treat under your pillow so you can dream a love spoiler of the person you will marry.

Perhaps, these examples are just two of the many Greek superstitions out there that reassure Lady Fortune is and will continue to be on your side. Because, believe it or not, there are plenty of Greek superstitions that many Greeks still believe. What are they? Let’s find out!

  1. Mati (The Evil Eye)
    Some Greeks believe that if someone stares at you with intense envy or jealousy, you could catch the evil eye or matiasma or mati. And if you catch the evil eye, you are going to feel sick as well as suffer some sort of misfortune, pain, illness. However, there are several ways to ward off “mati” or undo the curse of the evil eye. One of them is by wearing a charm or an amulet in the shape of an eye. This blue-eyed glass charm aka Mataki can be carried in your pocket, worn as a necklace, clipped as a keychain, or hung on the walls of a house.

  2. Never give someone a knife
    To give someone, like your friend, a knife is considered bad luck. Instead of giving the other person the knife, just place it on the table and let them pick it up. By doing this, you're not only avoiding any bad juju but also preventing a curse from being placed on your friendship.

  3. A bag of dragées under your pillow
    There is a belief that if a single person (one who is not in a relationship) places dragées (bite-sized and egg-shaped candies handed out at weddings) under the pillow before sleeping, they will dream of the person they will marry that night.

  4. Never give perfume as a gift
    In Greece, gifting a bottle of perfume is a big no no. That’s because gifting a bottle of perfume is believed to ruin relationships and bring bad luck. However, if someone does unintentionally give you perfume, all you have to do to get rid of the bad vibes is give the gift giver a coin in return.

  5. Cheers with anything just not with coffee
    You can say “cheers” or “Γειά μας” (yiamas) when toasting with wine, ouzo, beer, or tsipouro. But you can never say “cheers” or “Γειά μας” (yiamas) with coffee, because doing so with coffee invites bad luck.

  6. Piase kokkino (touch red)
    Instead of saying “jinx” when you and another person end up saying the same thing at the same time, just immediately touch something red. By doing this, you would be preventing some kind of fight or argument or issues that many Greeks think will happen soon after.

  7. Spitting for good luck
    To chase away the "evil eye" or bad luck, the Greeks would essentially spit on the person. Though, the spitting is more of like a barely-saliva-spit not a raining-saliva-spit. And they also say the phrase “ftou ftou ftou” when they hear bad news or any kind of misfortune to protect themselves and their loved ones from future harm.

  8. Sneezing
    A Greek superstition states that sneezing means someone is talking about you. And to find out the identity of this person, you can just ask someone around you to give you a three digit number; next, you add these numbers together and the sum should correspond to a letter of the alphabet.
    Example: if the person gives you 343, then you add 3 + 4 + 3 = 10, and 10 corresponds to the letter J

  9. Right hand itching
    Is your right hand itching? This means that you will be getting money even if you’re not expecting some monetary gains at all.

  10. Left hand itching
    Is your left hand itching? This means that you will be giving away money even if you’re not intending to give money away..

  11. Black cat
    Is a black cat crossing your way? This means bad luck to you for the rest of your day. The only way to rid of this bad luck is by whispering a little “ftou ftou ftou.”

  12. Always enter with the right foot in a new house
    As you enter or visit a new house, always step with your right foot to bring in luck and good fortune. Entering the house with the right foot should also be done on New Year’s Eve to ensure that you are going to have a very lucky year.

  13. Sprinkle salt to shoo an unwanted guest
    In Greek culture, salt is a very powerful compound. It is believed if you sprinkle some salt behind an unwanted house visitor throughout your house, it will have them scamper away. Additionally, it is said that before moving into a new home, you should sprinkle some salt in each room's entryway to ward off evil spirits.