Greek tradition——Superstitions

Greek superstitions are coming either from religion or paganism. They vary from region to region.


The Evil Eye (Mati)
Some Greeks, especially in villages, believe that someone can catch the evil eye, or matiasma, from someone else's jealous compliment or envy. A person who has caught the evil eye usually feels bad physically and psychologically. In this case, an expert in xematiasma must tell a special pray to release the person in pain from the bad effects of the evil eye.

To avoid the matiasma, those who believe in it wear a charm, a little blue bead with an eye painted on it. Blue is believed to be the color that wards off the evil eye, but it is also believed that people with blue eyes are most possible givers of the matiasma.


It is believed that spitting chases the devil and the misfortune away. That is why when someone talks bad news (deaths, accidents, etc), the others slightly spit three times saying ftou, ftou, ftou. Another example is that someone that compliments a baby, a child or even an adult for its beauty, has also to spit three times on the complimented person so that he doesn't give him the bad eye (mati).

Black cat
If someone sees a black cat, this is supposed to be bad luck for the rest of the day. Also if a glass or mirror breaks, it is believed to be bad luck for seven years.

The hobgoblins are known as kallikantzari in Greek. According to the folk Christmas traditions, the hobgoblins are short, ugly creatures with many deformities. All year round, they live underground and saw the tree of the year. From Christmas until the Epiphany Day (January 6th), they come up to the world and tease people with many pranks. On Epiphany Day, the priest of the village goes from house to house and sprinkles the rooms with blessed water so that the hobgoblins return underground.

Tuesday the 13th
Unlike the western belief, in Greece, the unlucky day is Tuesday the 13th and not Friday the 13th.

The expression Piase Kokkino
When two people say the same thing together at the same time, they immediately say piase kokkino (touch red) one to another and both have to touch any red item they can find around them. This happens because Greeks believe that saying the same thing is an omen and that the two persons will get into a fight or an argument if they don't touch something red.