"Russians are very superstitious and are attentive to various omens. The majority of these omens emerged in the pre-Christian era, and neither the traditional religions that arrived in Russia more than 1,000 years ago nor the ideologues of the Communist regime during the almost 70 years of Soviet rule were able to stamp out faith in them. If you’re going to live among Russians, you have to know what these superstitions mean and how to react to some of them." - Anna Varyonova
SO if you find yourself in Russia, you should probably know the following (so as not to offend someone)....
1. Spit on and touch wood: Russians believe in the evil eye. So, anytime someone is discusses potential good things or success, they will spit three times over someone's left shoulder and touch wood. This superstition is said to keep the evil eye at bay. Sort of like knocking on wood!
2. Do not carry an empty bucket: This is considered a very bad omen. If you see someone walking with an empty bucket, it is believed you will have a bad day.
3. Never give scarves, clocks or knives as gifts: These are all considered bad omens. The scarf symbolizes tears, the clock the idea of leaving, and knives of enemies. If you get someone one of these gifts, do not be surprised if they give you a small coin in return. This helps them feel as if they "bought" the item, therefore getting rid of the omen.
4. Avoid the threshold at all costs: The thresholds between rooms in your house is considered to be a place of great evil. Nothing, no talking or handing of items, can happen across the threshold. If the delivery guy comes, you must go outside or he must come in.
5. Don't sit on a table: This is considered a foreshadowing of death and poverty.
6. Sit down before you go: Before leaving for travel, everyone in a Russian household must sit down right before they are about to leave. They must sit for one minute to ensure safe journeys.
7. Not that bench: Young women are scorned if they sit on benches outside if it is a cold day. This is derived from an old myth that sitting on a cold bench will jeopardize her fertility.