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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Superstitions and beliefs.

Some days back we had gone for a Puja to a friend's house.After the the Puja I just overheard two ladies talking. One of them was the hostess. The other lady asked her why had she  organised the Puja on a week day. She said that if the Puja had been held on the week end it would have attracted more guests.The lady of the house,without even a blink  in her eyes said the day is not auspicious. Moreover, the Puja had been kept to ward away the the effect of  Shani  from her son's  horoscope. This  conversation  set me thinking.   It was only the result of superstitions,which are deeply ingrained in our mind.

What is Superstition? What is the basis of superstitions? They are beliefs, notions and happenings which cannot be explained scientifically  or  no reasoning can  be given. Such  beliefs are generally baseless and irrational,which cannot be reasoned. It has been observed that these are mainly related to good/bad luck. In some cases it is connected with religion. For example, there is a belief that  we should keep a door open on Diwali so that Goddess Lakshmi can enter the house otherwise the Goddess will not visit the house.This religious faith has no basis,but people believe it.  A black cat is considered unlucky .If a black cat crosses your way , it is a bad omen and the work  for which you are going will not  be  accomplished.  Friday,the 13th is considered ominous because it is a belief that Jesus was crucified on Friday ,the 13th . So much so that people avoid the number 13  for their house. In some high rise buildings there is no 13th floor.  After the 12th floor comes the 14th floor.

   There are innumerable superstitions which neither have any base nor any explanation. We may call ourselves advanced but  in our heart of hearts we cling to some superstition. I know one gentleman  who signs  important documents ,sitting in the same chair, using the same pen and facing the same direction. Can you beat it? Maximum number of superstitions are  connected with examinations,going for interviews,marriage and child birth. When the children are going to write an exam, it is auspicious if they eat curd. When a lady is pregnant, she is prohibited from seeing  solar or lunar eclipse.It is a belief that if she does so, the child will be deformed. Another superstition is that if a woman , during pregnancy ,eats sweets the child will be a boy and if she likes spicy food , a girl child will be born.

The days of  a week  are all similar, but some days are considered to be inauspicious.  On Tuesdays people  do  not have haircut. Even some barber shops are closed. On Thursdays we don't wash clothes,don't have hair bath and  don't shave. There is no reason. Can anyone explain. There is also a belief that  some  time  of every day   is inauspicious,which is termed Rahu Kalam.  During this period no important work can be undertaken and  we are not supposed to leave the house if we have to go for a  journey. Many superstitions are related to  the theory  of reincarnation, spirits,luck, good or bad events etc. In fact any subject for which no rationale  can be given  becomes a superstition.

I have compiled some superstitious  beliefs. Can anybody throw some  light  on  the origin of superstitions and the intensity of their hold  on the people.

1.A cat, especially a black cat, crossing the  road.

2. Not walking under a ladder.

3.Twitching of the eyes.

4. Breaking of a mirror.

5.If a crow is  on the wall

6. Spilling of salt.

7.A broom  placed upright.

8.Many superstitions  about falling of lizards.

9.The  ringing of bells in a place of worship.

10. Itching of the hands/feet.

  I have mentioned only a few but there are several  more superstitions . In fact  every important event  from birth to death is associated with   beliefs  which  neither have any scientific  base nor  religious background.  They  have been  followed by our ancestors and are  observed down the line. Without giving  explanations these   go on  from  generation to  generation. I have also got several obsessions and compulsions. In  fact I have posted this  at an auspicious hour!!

Image of the cat: courtesy Google















  1. It is correct .Superstitions are baseless. Still our powerful mind keeps some superstitions means our body acts in tune with that and so the result will favour the belief. In all the countries one way or other most of the people revolve around such beliefs.

  2. Thank you Rudrapragya. You are right. The human mind is set in such a manner that we fear that certain beliefs, if we do not follow, something bad will happen.

  3. True, most of us feel, it is better to follow these superstitions than to let 'misfortune' fall on us! :P

    1. Thanks Shilpa. I always look forward for comments specially from you. I am thankful that you don't disappoint me. You are very correct that somewhere deep within us ithere is a lurking fear that if we ignore a belief ,it may resultin something bad.

  4. I truly agree with Shilpa..I dunno why even after knowing clearly that these are just superstitions ,as and when time comes we follow them..Great post..

  5. As a rationalist I find superstitions extremely frustrating, but I try to be tolerant towards my friends. After all they have compulsions of living complicated lives :-)

  6. I have a difficult time with people who are superstitious. I often bite my tongue so that I don't say anything to offend them. It is especially hard for me to understand the good luck charm.

  7. It's amazing to me that people can take superstitions so seriously! That said, as an avid hockey fan, when our team makes the playoffs (sadly, an infrequent occurrence), we do try not to "jinx" them by predicting a win or a goal. LOL