It’s Austrian superstitions time! Welcome to Cultural Tidbits Monday folks. This week, I decided to switch it up from Traveling through Food and delve deeper into cultures by resuming the World’s Superstition Series. It is crazy to see how many of them overlap from country to country and today we’ll see if this is the case or not when it comes to Austrians!
* Speaking of colds, what’s the no-fail remedy? According to Austrian superstitions, that shall be sliced garlic, mixed and downed with yogurt, while still raw. Hmm!
* Girls, listen up: Don’t sit on the sidewalk or steps outside while it’s cold, unless you want to get a dangerous UTI! As strange as it sounds, apparently, the cold can somehow penetrate your woo-ha (!?)
* According to Falkor.org: “Mentioning how much success you have, may cause bad luck. Therefore, knock on wood will prevent that good fortune/luck will leave you.” This is not only part of Austrian superstitions, but also other Western Europeans’ (including Dutch, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Ukrainian) and America!
* Now these Austrian superstitions findings are golden: They were printed on The Clinton Morning Age newspaper back in June of 1897!
* It is unlucky to enter the house with your left foot forward
* It is unlucky to ride behind a bobtailed horse at a funeral
* Woe to the man or woman who sneezes while looking at the new moon
* It is unlucky to sneeze before breakfast or to tell dreams before taking a drink of water
* If a man owns a white horse, a white cow, and a white cat, and then caps the climax by carrying a white umbrella, the average Austrian will not associate with him
Now, are you ready for, quite literally, the crème de la crèmeof the Austrian superstitions? As told by Kate Reuterswärd on her blog about expat life in Sweden:
My all-time favorite, although I think this is an Austria-only superstition, is definitely the Topfen Treatment. Topfen (also known as Quark, Weißkäse, or Kesella) is a lot like cottage cheese, and in Austria, it’s a common filling for desserts. When my friend, Elaine, got carpal tunnel syndrome in Vienna, her doctor told her that surgery was unnecessary because all she needed to do was let her wrist rest in a good amount of quark, as the cheese would “draw the inflammation out.” Right.
Aww Kate, too bad, I was about to splatter some cottage cheese on my wrists! Speaking of which, they are hurting, so I’m going to go and take a little break now…
Previously featured countries:
Well, I just wanted to tell you that some of those things you mentioned as superstitions are, in actuality, not superstitions. I am an American who has lived over 25 years in Austria and, like you, I at first laughed at the idea of “topfen” as a remedy for health issues or catching a cold “down under” if you sit on a cold place etc., but I can tell you that there is truth to some of these things. In fact, this is knowledge–homeopathic if you will–that has survived here in Austria, unlike in the States. Go ahead and try natural cream cheese on painful joints or a cabbage leaf on a breast infection caused by nursing. You will be amazed. And people who live in a country with lots of snow and comd weather will tell you that you can definitely cause an inbalance in the flora of your privates if you sit a long time on a cold stone bench.
that’s good to know! As an outsider, of course, were not sure. you will also have certain people from that country that might not agree with one thing or the other, so as to taking everything as a grain of salt, I was careful and when I looked up Australia’s superstitions, these were the ones that popped up 😉
Thank you so much for the insight! this is why I love writing about culture — I get so many different opinions/comments with some people confirming and others denying certain beliefs I put forth. Love it!