The most interesting superstitions and space traditions exist in Russian cosmonautics. Some of them date back to our days, some originate from the Soviet era and the first manned spaceflight, and some are even based on ancient Orthodox views.
1) A twig of wormwood
Traditionally, cosmonauts take a twig of wormwood to space, since it retains its smell longer than other plants and reminds them about the Earth.
2) The Gagarin Memorial
Then they go to Yuri Gagarin’s office and write down some messages in the visitors’ book. According to rumors, they also mentally appeal to Gagarin’s spirit, asking him for permission to go on a flight.
3) Coins on rails
It takes several hours to deliver the missile to the launch place by the locomotive. When the train is a few centimeters from the pad, workers lay coins on the rails, which must be flattened by the wheels. It is believed that this action will bring good luck. But the team itself is strictly forbidden to watch this process not to fail.
4) Cosmonauts must have a haircut
6) Watching a movie
The team watches an old movie named “The White Sun of the Desert,” and it is obligatory to do it. The beginning of mandatory watching of the “White Sun of the Desert” is associated with the tragedy of June 30, 1971, when the crew of Dobrovolsky, Volkov, and Patsayev died. The next flight, more than two years later, passed safely, and it turned out that before the start the crew watched this movie.
7) Departure from the hotel “Cosmonaut”
8) Pee on the wheel of the bus
The crew goes to the launch place by bus, decorated for good luck with horseshoes. When they come out of the bus, the whole team repeats the famous Gagarin’s action: pees on the back right wheel. If there are any women in the crew, they prepare a jar of their urine in advance and sprinkle the wheel from it.
9) Wave their hands
Then the crew can board in. At the same time, everyone should repeat Gagarin’s famous gesture, waving his hand. According to the space traditions, nobody says them goodbye in response, it is a bad omen.