In villages, bread is considered as a gift of God; old women bless the bread and make the sign of the cross with a knife before slicing it.
The Evil Eye
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.
To avoid the matiasma, those who believe in it wear a charm: a little blue marble glass with an eye painted on it or a blue bracelet. Blue is believed to be the colour that wards off the evil eye but it is also believed that people with blue eyes are givers of the matiasma.
Garlic is another way to ward off the evil eye, and one can sometimes see it hanging in a corner of some houses. Garlic, as well as onion, is also considered of having a great healing power by many Greeks. If someone is feeling ill, they will advice him to eat garlic.
Greeks never hand knives to someone who asks for it for they consider that if they do that they will have a fight with the person. Therefore they set it down on the table and let the other person take it.
Greek Orthodox priests (popes) are very revered and the custom is to kiss a priest’s hand in respect when meeting one; today this custom is only followed in villages. But it is believed that seeing a black cat and a priest during the same day is bad luck.
Some Greeks believe that spitting chases the devil and the misfortune away. That is why when someone talk about 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.
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” (touch red)
When two people say the same thing together they immediately say “piase kokkino” one another and both have to touch any red item they can find around him. 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 a red thing.