There are many superstitious beliefs in India of which some have scientific background. Here are twenty such beliefs
1. Cats Crossing Your Path
In ancient times, during night people used to travel through forests in bullock carts with a light of kerosene lantern. The carriage animals get past big cats like leopards, hyenas and jackals foxes. These animals have glowing eyes and scare the cows, horses or the bulls that pull the carts. That is why the travelling party halts nearby and help the animals refresh themselves before they pull the carts for the long journey ahead without any stress. Travelers shared their hard experiences and told other travelers not to proceed travel while the cats crossing the roads and in the course of time changing, the cat crossings got live and the people forget forest cats and took the domestic cats instead.
2. Hair Cut On Tuesday
In past days a large portion of the Indians were farmers. After a week of hard work, Monday was their resting day. Characteristically majority of them cleaned their homes and cut their hair on that day. So the Barber wouldn’t have much deal with Tuesdays and would close his shop. This practice is continued till date but the reason behind it is completely forgotten and lot misconceptions revolve around this.
3. Opening An Umbrella Inside The House
Restriction of opening umbrella inside house had a sensible reason back in the days. The umbrellas were built with hard metal spokes and spring triggers, which could be dangerous to open. In fact, opening one indoors could pose a danger to people and fragile objects nearby.
Warning people not to open an umbrella indoors served to protect the health and safety of people and property indoors. Later this was considered as “bad luck” considering the injuries and broken objects, which often coincided with the umbrella’s opening.
4. Hanging Lemon And 7 Green Chillies In Shops And Business Places.
Scientific Reason: The cotton thread which is used to pierce the chillies and lemon absorbs the acid from the fruit whilst it is fresh. This smell keeps the pests and insects away from the shops. This is a simple pesticide which came into practice from ancient times, which is mislead now superstitiously as explained above.
5. Breaking Mirror Brings 7 Years Bad Luck
During old times, mirrors were not cheap and they were low quality and easily defected. In order to avoid negligence it was told that breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. That was simple scare tactic. Romans were the one who tagged to the broken mirror a sign of seven years bad luck. The length of the prescribed misfortune came from the ancient Roman belief that it took seven years for life to renew itself. If the person looking into the mirror were not of good health, their image would break the mirror and the run of bad luck would continue for the period of seven years, at the end of which their life would be renewed, their body would be physically rejuvenated, and the curse would be ended.
6. Cutting Nails And Shaving After Sunset
7. Lighting 3 Cigarettes With One Matchstick
‘Three on a match rule’ apparently was a tale told to the young ones after the World War 1. When it was night and you lit a pipe or cigarette if you lit three people off the same match a sniper would have time to zero in and he would kill the third man. Would you want the enemy knowing exactly where to lob a grenade because you lit the pathway for him? This story was twisted around as the time passed by and considered to be bad luck.
So folks, as long as you are not in war zone you are safe to light three cigarettes. Oh, hang on you are not safe until you quit smoking technically.
8. Pregnant Women Not Allowed To Go Out During Eclipse
9. Menstruating Women Are Considered Impure And Unclean
In India, menstruating women are considered impure and unclean. This, of course, gives rise to many superstitious beliefs. Women who are menstruating are not allowed to enter the kitchen. They are also supposed to stay away from temples, mosques and all religious spots in the house itself. A woman on her period is not allowed to perform regular household duties like cooking food. Some might argue that the reason behind this superstition is scientific, and that a woman menstruating loses a lot of blood and thus becomes weak and must refrain from strenuous activities. Others claim that there is nothing scientific in this belief and it is just another superstition created to subordinate the position of women in society
10. Do Not Leave A Dead Person’s Eye Open
This is a very common superstitious belief in India, if a dead person’s eyes is left open it is believed that the other soul around the dead body will be taken away with him through his eyes. But the real reason behind this is to make the dead person look as if he is sleeping peacefully and nothing more or less.
11. Bats Entering The House Brings Death
The real reason behind the bats entering the hose brings death is because of the disease transmitted by bats were deadly back in the days when there was no medicines for these disease. Rabies, Nipah, Hendra, Ebola and Marburg are all viruses carried by bats that can cause serious disease in humans. Marburg virus and some strains of Ebola virus can kill up to 80-90% of humans infected.
12. Lizard Falling On Human Is Bad Luck
13. Friday The 13th And The Number 13 Is Unlucky
One major reason is that, at Jesus Christ’s last supper, there were thirteen people around the table, counting Christ and the twelve apostles. Some believe this unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ. Another major reason for Friday the 13, On Friday 13 October 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar, and most of the knights were tortured and killed.
14. Fallen Hair Around The House Will Bring Fight In Your Family
The myth is that if you throw fallen hair inside the house instead of binning it, soon you will see a fight within your family. Well, who would like to pick up a quarrel at home?
But the real reason behind this superstition is if you leave the fallen hair inside the house it may end up falling inside the food when the wind blows.
15. Twitching Of The Eye Is Inauspicious
16. Adding One Rupee To A Gift Sum Is Auspicious
It is common in India to give money for weddings and auspicious occasions. It is considered auspicious to add a rupee to the sum total.
There are various reasons, for some, it is a blessing, a token of love and luck. For some it is the beginning of a new cycle. For some it makes the sum an odd number and indivisible which is a good omen for the married couple. If the rupee is not added the sum total will be separable or it will end in zero which indicates the end, so adding the rupee will make the number odd hence assuring continuity.
17. Walking Under A Ladder Is Bad Luck
18. Crows Are Referred As Our Ancestors
Crow is the vahana of shani who represents the karmas of past. We are indebted to our ancestors who have given us birth. So offering food to crow is regards as pacifying the hunger of ancestors where ever and whichever form they are reborn. It is believed that crows are being related to our ancestors since the ‘treta yuga’.
As per this popular legend, once Jayant the Son of God Indra, disguised in the form of crow and hurt Sita. In turn God Rama took hay and used it as an arrow and parted one of the eyes of Jayant. After realizing his mistake, Jayant asked for God Rama’s forgiveness. Then Rama forgave him and blessed him with a boon that when food is offered to the crows that will reach the ancestors.
19. Do Not Sweep The House After Sunset
But the real reason behind this is back in the days when there was no electricity, light of lamp was not enough to spot any small gold ornaments while sweeping and hence chances of sweeping them away with the dust is high. Hence it was not advised to sweep after dark.
20. Sacrifice Of Goats To God
In all the ancient religions of the world, the ritual of animal sacrifice has remained a great means of attaining the nearness of the Almighty. In India, Goddess Kali is known to favor animal sacrifices—goats in particular. Killing a goat in her name is believed to relieve one of negative emotions such as fear, anger, and jealousy.
There is no scientific explanations behind this tradition apart from having a feast. Sadly this is still in practice in most of the parts in India. Can we justify the act of killing animals for whatever superstitious belief is been passed on?