I remember that when I was in school to learn German here in Berlin, we discussed superstitions – or Aberglauben- that you may come across here in Germany!
Actually, we had to explain what superstitions we grew up hearing, and it was interesting to listen to the different views from each culture and discuss them with each other.
Let’s take a look at some of the german superstitions and their explanations!
1) black cat
In Lebanon, black cats are widely looked upon as bad omens. Poor kitty!
But in Germany it depends!
The saying goes:
Schwarze Katze von Rechts bringt Unglück. Von links Glück
A black cat (that comes) from the right (side) brings bad luck. (Coming) from the left brings luck.
2) wishing someone happy birthday
One rule to follow in Germany: NEVER wish someone a happy birthday before their actual birthday as it is considered bad luck to the Geburtstagskind!
I actually learned about this when I went to a birthday party but wasn’t able to wish the host a happy birthday- not until the clock strikes midnight anyway!
So I researched it a bit and found the reason for that:
From what we can tell, this ties into a superstition that the person might die before they reach their special day.via https://smartergerman.com/german-customs-and-traditions/birthday-tradition-germany/
Well that’s a bit extreme folks. I’m definitely staying on the safe side there and adding this to my own list of superstitions.
3) prost! now look me in the eye!
Alright first of all, I’m not even sure who does this, but you would be wishing your drinking buddies death if you toast with water. Even as a joke.
Second, it’s believed that, if you don’t maintain eye contact while raising a toast and clinking your glasses together, you’ll have bad sex for 7 years.
Look each other in the eyes goddamn it!
4) press your thumbs
You know how you cross your fingers to wish someone good luck?
I was surprised to learn that this applies almost everywhere except in Germany.
Instead, you basically have to press your thumbs with your fingers!
So rather than telling someone that you’re crossing your fingers for them, you would say “Ich drücke dir die Daumen.” (“I’ll press my thumbs for you.”)
These are really interesting things to learn especially if you plan on visiting Germany one day- regardless of the fact that these are only superstitions.
So the next time you are here, press your thumbs to wish someone good luck and don’t forget to look them in the eyes while raising a toast!
Cheers, until next time ❤