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Idioms Linked with Religious Traditions

Одним миром мазаны (Tarred with the same brush)

Одним миром мазаны (Tarred with the same brush) is used to compare two persons who have the same bad qualities. It is then understood it has a negative connotation. The word “миро” (chrism) designs an aromatic oily liquid, which is used in church to carry out special rituals. This ritual dates back to very ancient pre-Christian times. Our ancestors believed that the oil that lubricated the human body, repels evil spirits.

Christianity adopted this ritual, but gave it a new meaning. Both in Catholic and Orthodox Church the service ends with “миропомазание” (the anointing), when the priest smears the forehead, the eyes, the ears and other parts of the believer's body with aromatic oil. It is believed that this man receives the divine grace.

This ceremony was very important for the ascent of a tsar to the throne, when a novice was to take the Holy Orders, at wedding. The Russian tsars were called “миропомазанниками” (the anointed one). It meant that they gained power with the approval of God.

If people are tarred with the same brush, then they belong to the same church, and their thoughts and actions may be similar. It seems natural that this expression had no negative connotation at the time. But so far, it is impossible to know why and when it began to be used for the negative characteristics of people.

You can also hear the expression “одного поля ягодки” (the same berry field). And that one, which is known all over the world “яблочко от яблоньки не далеко падает”(an apple never falls far from the apple tree), is used to express negative similarities between children and parents.

Чтоб тебе ни дна, ни покрышки” (Bad luck to you!)

The expression “Чтоб тебе ни дна, ни покрышки” (Bad luck to you!) can be heard from a man who gets angry at someone else. It means that he wishes that person all the misfortune of the world. “Дно” means the bottom and “покрышка” means the cover, the lid.

This expression is also связано с христианскими традициями (associated with Christian traditions). Обряд погребения (burial rites) are one of the most important rites in Christianity. The is the end of earthly life of a man, a kind of assessment. For every Christian, it is very important how he will be treated after his death, how he will be buried. Many older people are saving money specifically for their funeral.

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By tradition, Christians должен быть похоронен в гробу (should be buried in a coffin), with a bottom and a lid. If there are no lid and no bottom, then there is no coffin, and it means that the dead was not respected. Nowadays, few people know the exact meaning of this expression, but everyone understands the negative connotation of it. You can also hear a similar expression “Чтоб ты провалился” (May you failed!)

Одним миром мазаны (Tarred with the same brush) is used to compare two persons who have the same bad qualities.