By Vesna Pajevic
This morning, while I was on my way to the office, I saw a black cat crossing the road.”Seven, nine, thirteen”, - it flashed across my mind, and I barely managed not to spit three times and move three paces backwards. Namely, my neighbour was behind me, and I didn’t want to spoil the impression of a young, educated woman, which, I would say, successfully gained. And then I thought, why should I care at all for the cat of king Charles I which he adored and treated better than any inhabitant of the Royal’s Palace? And when the cat passed away, the misfortune came upon the king so that he was arrested and dethroned. Hence,the legend about the black cat that brings bad luck.
Indeed, I keep wondering how people can believe in the power of ordinary grass?! Of a four -leaf clover, to be specific. Why would an extra leaf, made by degenerated gene, bring me luck? The legend says that Eve brought the clover with her when she was on her way to leave paradise. Well, since she was about to leave paradise, a clover would mean a lot to her. Another legend says that a four-leaf clover represents a solar cross that people once used for orientation - a straight line shows the place where the sun rises or sets. I must admit that I didn’t quite understand this explanation, but it sounds OK to me. However, the things I don’t understand properly are treated as the probable culmination of intelligence. To tell you honestly, I keep the four leaf clover only for one reason-because it seems lovely to me!!!
I also possess a beautiful horseshoe bought a long time ago during some journey. It is said that it brings good luck. I am not acquainted with it but I appreciate it. The belief in the power of a horseshoe originates from the 4th century when the Old Greeks considered a horse as a holy animal, and the horseshoe was pierced into seven places because it was the lucky number. Another explanation says that the power of the horseshoe lies in its semi –circular shape which brings power as well its crescent shape. If, by any chance, you come across an interesting horseshoe, hang it onto your door. Do this for aesthetic reasons, and, also, turn it upside- down…so the happiness could constantly flow from it into your home.
However, the fascination with number 13 is the most interesting to me as this has forever been a global problem which, you won’t believe, has even reached Belgrade. This is accompanied by the fact that many buildings worldwide don’t have a 13th floor and mark it with 12a,some airports don’t have either runaway or seats with this number .In Florence, for example, the houses are marked with 12 and a half and, there is no racing cars with number 13 in F1. As for the world’s economy, it loses millions of dollars every Friday 13th, as people don’t want to invest in the market that day!
This phenomenon of superstitions has spread worldwide. If, by any chance, you come to Belgrade, you will have to get used to some new ones that could seem both funny and silly to you, but by all means you shouldn’t say that out loud.
If you happen to meet little, cute babies in the strollers, do not make an unpleasant mistake by saying how adorable and irresistible they are!!! This is unforgivable; since you have to say how ugly baby is so that you don’t bring bad luck. The only exception is in the case if the baby wears a red thread around its wrist. Then, is completely protected from evil eyes!!!
Also, do not put a purse, yours or somebody else’s, on the floor, because it could cause a lack of money! This has nothing to do with your work and the straightforward way of earning money. Simply, these are just Acts of God!
Furthermore, if you go to a Belgrade restaurant and are, by any chance, happily married, you can sit at the corner of the table, for those in your company who are not in a marriage, should avoid it. Namely, the belief says that the one who sits at the corner of the table is destined to be single and definitely won’t experience the magic of marriage. And that would be a pity, indeed.
Another unusual situation could happen to you during your stay in Belgrade. If you ordered a coffee, and it was spilt by a waiter or the host, be thankful to the heavens for it. It will contribute to the physical appearance of your future partner. According to the logic of the things, the more coffee is spilt, the handsomer or the prettier your husband or wife will be. As for me, I am so skilled in coffee carrying that all my guests should have been married to Miss and Mister of the Universe so far!!!
Not to forget, it is necessary to start all your business with Serbian partners on Thursday. If you see a chimney-sweeper, make a wish. The same thing you should do when you come to somebody’s home for the first time…Why? I have no idea, and you shouldn’t ask because you will always get the same answer that won’t help you to understand it:” It should be done in that way!.
Then, you should just knock on wood, see no Evil, and continue further with the faith in yourself…or in the fairies, magic, angels, as you like.
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