Russia is a unique and quirky country that often puzzles foreign tourists. There are a lot of things that Russians do on a daily basis that may seem odd to a foreigner who is visiting this country for the first time. By understanding these differences, people get to learn more about the country and experience it from a different perspective. Here’s a list of the top 10 things foreigners find weird about Russia:
1. Russians are very superstitious
And I mean, very. A vast majority of Russian households believe in a wide variety of superstitions that range all the way from more familiar ones, such as avoiding black cats, to more puzzling ones, like the idea that whistling indoors is bad luck.
2. Soviet nostalgia is widespread
A lot of Russians still experience nostalgic feelings that will often result in them returning to Soviet art or literature over and over again. It wouldn’t be uncommon to encounter people rewatching popular Soviet films and cartoons just to revive the spirit of that bygone age.
3. Russians love toasting
Whenever there’s an occasion that warrants a drink or two, every Russian will definitely take the opportunity to toast. The problem is that most Russian toasts are ridiculously long and often involve anecdotes from their life.
4. Guests are welcomed with ridiculous amounts of food
Russians tend to cook vast amounts of food whenever they have guests over. It’s not uncommon to have multiple zakuski (starters) followed by a hearty main and plenty of alcohol. Luckily, the majority of Russian food is delicious!
5. Russians rarely smile
This is one of the reasons why Russians are considered to be cold and unwelcoming, which certainly isn’t the case. Unfortunately, a lot of Russians still retain the Soviet mentality of being weary of strangers, and as a result, rarely smile on the street. This is one of the top things foreigners find weird about Russia.
6. All females are referred to as young ladies
The Russian word for young lady, devushka, is often used to address any woman regardless of her age. Even if you’re clearly talking to someone who’s much older than you, it would still be appropriate to refer to them as devushka. It is in no way offensive but rather the opposite – it can be seen as a compliment.
7. No household throws away plastic bags
I can guarantee that every single family in Russia has a plastic bag somewhere in their house that is used to store a multitude of other plastic bags. This phenomenon doesn’t really have a proper explanation unless you consider the whole “you never know when you’re going to need it” reason sufficient.
8. Most adults still live with their parents
Traditionally, most females rarely move away from their parents, and instead have their husband move in with them. However, you quite often find large families living together in one apartment. This may be the case because in the Soviet times few people had their own house and as a result had to live in one crowded place. This is one of the biggest things foreigners find weird about Russia.
9. New Year is a bigger deal than Christmas
Russians wouldn’t normally celebrate the 25th of December because they follow the Orthodox branch of Christianity, which means that their Christmas is on the 7th of January. However, most people don’t even celebrate then – instead, they go all out on New Year’s Eve.
10. Russian women dress up to the store
A typical Russian woman will dress up whenever she leaves the house, even if it’s simply to pop down to the local shop for a pint of milk. This is why you’ll see lots of women walking around in high heels and dresses, seemingly for no reason.
Do you agree with these things foreigners find weird about Russia? Let us know in the comment section below!
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