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 person who stepped first. It is said that they thus avoid a future conflict. Birthday parties should be celebrated on or after one's birthday, not before. So when one's birthday falls during the week, it's best to celebrate the following weekend. And never give someone birthday wishes before their birthday. Talking about future success, especially boasting about it, is considered bad luck. It is considered better to be silent until the success has been achieved or to even sound pessimistic. Returning home for forgotten things is a bad omen. It is better to leave it behind, but if returning is necessary, one should look in the mirror before leaving the house again. Otherwise the journey will be bad. Many Russians consider giving sharp objects, like knives or scissors, as gifts, to be taboo. You can avoid this taboo taking symbolic little money, for example one Russian ruble, in exchange as if it is a trade, not a gift. Birds that land on a windowsill should be chased away. If they tap on the window, or fly into it (open or closed) it is considered a very bad omen (often of death). If a chicken crows at you three times before noon, the death of a close family member can be expected within a fortnight. The chicken should be killed, but not eaten, as consuming it will bring about further misfortune. Things bought for a newborn baby (such as clothes, toys, furniture, etc.) should only be purchased after the baby is born. This is usually done in a big hurry. It is often considered taboo to step over people, or parts of their body, who are on the ground. It is often said that it will prevent the person from growing (if they are not fully grown already). It is better to politely ask the person to move or to find a way around them. If one accidentally steps over a person (or people), it is sometimes standard to step backwards over them. Unmarried people should not sit at the corner of the table. Otherwise they will not marry. This mostly applies to girls, and often only young girls. Sometimes it is said that you will not marry for 7 years, making it all right for young children to sit there. When giving an animal as a gift (a cat, dog, bird, etc.), the receiver should give the giver a symbolic sum of money, for example one Russian ruble. A purse (or any other money holder) as a gift requires a little money inside. Given empty it causes bad financial luck. A funeral procession brings good luck. But one should never cross its path or it is bad luck. A woman with empty water buckets coming towards you is considered a bad omen. A group of two or more people should not talk on different sides of a tree. They should all keep to one side or the other. Bread should only be cut with a knife, not with your hands. Otherwise, it is said, that your life will be broken. The opposite is held true by some people. Two or more people should never use one towel at the same time to dry their hands or bodies, or it is said to bring conflict. A stranger should not look at a newborn baby before it is a certain age (between two months and one year). If one looks at the baby it is considered bad luck to compliment it. Instead, one could say, "Oh, what an ugly child!". It's good luck to trip on your left foot.
One should never hand a knife directly to another person, as it is said that the two will get into a fight. Instead a person should always place the knife down on a surface, and only then can the other person pick it up. In several cases you can give it directly, but only pointing the sharp end to yourself and making the knife's handle accessible for the opposite person. If one feels that he or she may have been cursed by someone (had the "evil eye" put on them) or just has the feeling of a hostile presence, it is recommended to remove one's coat and then put it back on starting with the hand opposing the usually used one. It is also recommended to pin a French Pin inside your clothing to avoid the curse of the evil eye in the first place. One should not to shake hands or give something through a threshold. Whistling in a house would bring misfortune to that household (see origins below). It is considered taboo to give something that is broken or has a defect as a gift. Before one takes an exam, someone else would say, "ни пуха ни пера!" which roughly translates to "neither fur, nor feather!" which means good luck. To this, the one taking the exam would reply, "К чёрту!" which means, "Go to the Devil!" or "To the Devil!" which is a way of securing good luck