Customs that are more often regarded as superstition
Mothers typically do not show their baby to anyone except the father, the midwife and other close relatives for forty days after the baby is born. Many nationalities have a set of rituals for the guests that they have to follow to see the baby for the first time. Before leaving for a long journey travelers, and all those who are seeing them off, must sit for a moment in silence before leaving the house. It is often conveniently written off as a time to sit and think of anything one may have forgotten. After someone has left the house on a long journey, their room and/or their things should not be cleaned up until they have arrived, or at least a day has passed if they are guests in a house. Knocking on wood is practiced in Russia as in other countries. However Russians tend to add a symbolic three spits over one's left shoulder (or simply with the head turned to the left), and Russians will often knock three times as well. Traditionally one was spitting on the devil (who is always on the left). Breaking a mirror is considered bad luck in Russia, as is looking at one's reflection in a broken mirror. The effect is also more severe than 7 years of bad luck (as in American culture). On examination day, it is bad luck to make your bed, wear anything new, or cut your fingernails. It is bad luck to use physical hand gestures to demonstrate something negative using oneself or someone else as the object. For example, when describing a scar you saw on someone's face you should not gesture on your own face or someone else's. If you must, you can demonstrate in mid-air. If one does it without realizing, it can be countered by making a hand motion towards the body part used and then an abrupt motion away (as if to pick up the bad energy and throw it away). If one person accidentally steps on another person's foot, it is common for the person who was stepped on to lightly step on the foot of the...
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