Common Superstitions and Indian Superstitious beliefs

Superstitions are deep rooted and irrational beliefs which have no profanity. Superstitions are the legacy of every civilizations and are inherited by the following generations. It was once believed that superstition could be rooted out with the spread of education. But these have continued to linger with the generations.

Origin and history of Superstitions :

Superstitions originated perhaps, when man was at the mercy of the natural elements. He respected and worshiped the forces of nature like the sun, the moon, water etc. He worshiped fire because of its destructive ability. When man started falling prey to diseases he started appeasing the gods with offerings, penances and sacrifices to ward off evil spirits.

All civilizations have their respective superstitions. But some like beliefs in ghosts, sorcery, witchcraft and spirits are universal. The western civilizations although very progressive have their own superstitions. The number 13 is unlucky in the west because the Last Super Lord Jesus dined with his twelve disciples and later was crucified. Salt was spilled on the table on which they dined and therefore even now, spilling of salt is considered ominous.

New England in America was infamous for its witches. All women who were suspected of practicing witchcraft, were held to the stake and burnt alive. Later it was realized that such executions were carried out at the behest of some people who had some selfish motives.

Superstitions are deep rooted and irrational beliefs which have no profanity. Superstitions are the legacy of every civilizations and are inherited by the following generations. It was once believed that superstition could be rooted out with the spread of education. But these have continued to linger with the generations.

Superstitions originated perhaps, when man was at the mercy of the natural elements. He respected and worshiped the forces of nature like the sun, the moon, water etc. He worshiped fire because of its destructive ability. When man started falling prey to diseases he started appeasing the gods with offerings, penances and sacrifices to ward off evil spirits.

All civilizations have their respective superstitions. But some like beliefs in ghosts, sorcery, witchcraft and spirits are universal. The western civilizations although very progressive have their own superstitions. The number 13 is unlucky in the west because the Last Super Lord Jesus dined with his twelve disciples and later was crucified. Salt was spilled on the table on which they dined and therefore even now, spilling of salt is considered ominous.

New England in America was infamous for its witches. All women who were suspected of practicing witchcraft, were held to the stake and burnt alive. Later it was realized that such executions were carried out at the behest of some people who had some selfish motives.

In India too, people are confronted by a number of superstitions. A cat crossing one's path, the sight of a Brahmin or a sneeze means the purpose of the journey which was being undertaken would remain unaccomplished. Hooting of an owl, howling of a dog augurs an impending death or a doom. Contracting chicken pox is considered to be wrath of a goddess 'Durga'. So the goddess is appeased with offerings.

Some of the Indian Superstitions and beliefs are :

  • A lot of augurs concern on birds and animals. The luckiest augur is to view an elephant while one gets on a journey,as the elephant is a symbol of Hindu god 'Ganesha', the lord of good fortune and the destroyer of troubles.

  • The sound of a crow near the surroundings or on somebody's home forecasts the arriving of guests.

  • During a journey, the vision of a peacock is said to be beneficial but listening its high-pitched call signals looting by the persons along the path.

  • A dog wailing nearby a sick person's region forecasts his death or poor fate.

  • Viewing a cat or the face of a cow early in the dawn imparts misfortune.

  • A sparrow is boosted to construct a nest in a fresh house for fortunate fate.

  • A golden or off-white matter fallen on the doorstep by a cow signals the gain of precious things such as gold or silver.

  • Departing for a tour or a journey is a really crucial occasion and cares have to be adopted depending on the grandness of the travel. The astrologist is referred to decide an lucky time to start.

  • There are a lot of beliefs related with beginning a travel. Sneezing or words of dissuasion suchlike "stop, do not go", or "Why are you going? or "You shouldn't go" used by chance by somebody at this important time are ominous things and a person should begin once again if this befalls.

  • It is believed lucky to witness cow chip, grains, paddy, cotton wool, hay or a fresh married prior to beginning a journey.

  • Every day living is also regulated by do's and don’ts for differently for different days in a week. For instance, Monday isn't a lucky day for trimming and shaving or Tuesday for rinsing hair or Saturday for purchasing oil and beauty products.

  • Whenever there is itchiness in the palm of the right hand, it signifies luck and coming of money and the inverse holds for the left hand. This refers simply to the clean (right) and dirty (left) portions of the body.

  • Ironically, flipping of the right eyelid is believed to be unfortunate and the blinking of the left eyelid is considered to be prosperous.

  • Many individuals are likewise very superstitious about the start of their dawns. It is considered that the entire daytime is impacted by the morning. Viewing a bride, the memorial of a god, or a Brahmin is believed to be prosperous, while seeing widow woman, infertile women and unfortunate people is believed to be ominous.

To avert the danger of witnessing any awful thing in the morning, a lot of individuals see the palms of their hands just after they wake up in the morning and then they recite this spell: "In the crest of the fingers lives Lakshmi (the Hindu goddess of wealth) ; in the center lies Sarasvati (the Hindu goddess of Knowledge); in the bottom of the palm rests Govinda (Hindu god of prosperity); viewing my hands, I start my day."

  • There are likewise a lot of superstitious beliefs associated with death. The most crucial between them is that food is not prepared in a household where death of somebody has happened. At this time, all the family members of such family are believed to be impure and so they are not allowed to go in the kitchen. Neighbors and other persons are asked to make and send eating items for them. This superstition probably is the outcome of the reality that when a death happens in a household, then the relatives of the died do not have the desire and nor the time to make food. This belief likewise reinforces the sense of community during the times of difficulties.

  • It is also believed that eating such a unit of fruit or vegetable which contains 2 units of the fruit or vegetable joint together is harmful
  • Dirty period : In a few regions of India, an adult female is believed to be unclean during the postpartum time interval and during the days of the menstruation. They are averted from entering any ceremonial occasion and even not permitted to go in to the kitchen as the food she will touch will become impure. Although a few observations supports this thing, e.g. if a women is menstruating and she touches the pot or box of pickles then it gets spoiled
  • Whenever an individual hiccups, it's believed that somebody is discussing or thinking about him or missing him. If this really happens, then I am astonished on thinking about famous personalities and celebrities around the world. May god save them!!! :)
  • The falling down of a lizard on a person is considered extremely bad and harmful unlucky for the person on which it falls. And further ill predictions are made based on the part of the body on which the lizard falls.
  • Tying lemon along with chillies on anything saves it from threats and evil eyes of bad people.

My Views on Superstitious beliefs :

In today's scientific world, it is necessary that we do not blindly follow all the superstitions that were handed over to us by our ancestors. We are modern, both in our outlook and the age we are in. Therefore we should have a judicious look for some logical reason behind every superstition before accepting it. We would then be able to give up those superstitions which have no rationality and applications in today's life. It is only in this way that we can lead or normal lives. Experiments are on to find out that man has the soul which leaves the man when he dies. People are said to have confirmed ghosts and premonitions at several places. But it remains to be proved that ghosts do exists and possess the power they are supposed to exhibit. Dogs are very sensitive to changes around them, they become sexless before the onset of a natural calamity and wait to inform their masters of the impending doom. So, one can not just simply reject this superstition. In south India people bath early in the morning and apply sandalwood on their forehead. People have now realized that sandalwood keeps the forehead cool and soothes the brain and hence the practice has been there since time immemorial.

I personally believe that some of the superstitions are important and necessary but a majority of them are unwanted and are based on useless stuffs. But this 'superstitions' topic also has two parts. There are some things in this world which are unexplained, even science doesn't have enough capabilities to find the answers for them, so we must not completely deny any belief by saying that it is a non-sense stuff. Science has already proved the existence of paranormal forces like evil spirits, ghosts by using proper devices and experiments. So, there is no doubt in accepting this fact. And if all the superstitious beliefs are false then the activities of exorcism and other ghost hunting activities would not have been effective (as I saw it in the 'Haunting' of Discovery channel and also from my personal experiences). However we should use our own senses and logical abilities before merely following any superstition. Though we should believe and practice superstitions but excess of anything is harmful. Most of the time we adopt any superstitious belief by seeing its prosperous effects on a person who adopted it. We don't search for the logical reason in this, we just blindly follow that superstition. For instance, in India, eating curd before giving any examination is considered lucky. Let's go to the origin of this belief, in past somebody would have worked hard for his exams and would have eaten curd in his meal before his exam. It is obvious that he will get good results since he has worked hard. But all the credit was given to the 'curd' he ate before his exam. And since then it is believed that eating curd before any exam brings success. Now it is worth thinking that how could 'curd' bring success in an examination? Suppose I don't study for any exam and I just eat curd before the exam then will I get successful??? No!!!. People should use their logical abilities to avoid many of the useless superstitions. But, being a selfish and greedy social being, humans are unable to avoid these, though they know that majority of these are useless beliefs but they merely practice them by thinking, “it won't affect me even if if i do or practice it, there is nothing bad in trying may be it'll come out fruitful later".

Demoralizing Effects :

Superstitions have a demoralizing effect on our life. It ends our self confidence. We can not think in a reasonable way. All our thinking and working power gets paralyzed under the influence of unknown fears. We consult priests, pandits, astrologers and others for making our life 'lucky'. We often use other 'mantras' and spells to ward off evil forces. We are disturbed because of the unknown. We may not do all this unknowingly. The unknown fear hangs over us and we can not get rid of it easily.

No doubt, superstitions are an undesirable part of our life. Ignorant people have faith in something unseen. Even educated people are doing the same thing. We have got all this from our evolution from dark ages. The only cure for unnecessary superstitions is education and awareness. We should develop our reasoning power. We must have a scientific mind, we should try to analyze the things in logical way. Only then we may be free from unnecessary superstitions of mind.

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Comments 18 comments

havocspark 5 years ago

\,,/

gud one............its really awesome


amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

That was really interesting. I never knew India had so many superstitions. Thanks for sharing!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

A splendid hub and very comprehensive.


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Enjoyed your hub very much. GBY.


am@n profile image

am@n 5 years ago Author

Thanks everybody, it's my pleasure that you liked my work :)


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Brilliant hub. Packed with really fascinating information and insights.


am@n profile image

am@n 5 years ago Author

@Seeker7 : thanks for appreciating it :)


Dharmatheja 5 years ago from Andhra india

Viewing indian beliefs with westren educated mind makes everything look superstitious. U should have ample knowldge of vediclife styles before criticing them


CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 5 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

I am glad to have found you on the hubpages again. I have to put my hub reading on a schedule so to not leave anyone out. Anyway, thanks for this informative hub about superstitions. I have learned in life and through my study of my Christian faith that anything that is a superstition takes a person away from the Truth and it interferes with the relationship one has with God, the Almighty creator of the Truth. I do hope that as a writer, you remain objective in your research and have wisdom to understand man's free will in choosing to believe in whatever makes life work for one's own good. Also, superstition is learned behavior, because as a child, everyone looks up to the belief of their parent or grandparent. Just another opportunity to remember what Mama or Grandma has taught.


katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Superstitions are strange things, an interesting hub


mayura 4 years ago

dude it is really fun to study it is really very intresting but now india is changed with time ...... and dude it is so cool and i really injoyed it

facebook.com/bysnk


mayura 4 years ago

dude it is really fun to study it is really very intresting but now india is changed with time ...... and dude it is so cool and i really injoyed it

facebook.com/bysnk


sp20 4 years ago

Intresting,my memory got refreshed with all Indian superstitions. Very impressed with your knowledge of these. You got picture of banana,might have forgot to add this point in article, but if a pregnant lady eats twin bananas there are chances of having twins :). I see scientific reasons too behind most of superstitions, well not all though


Rajeev singh (Army school mathura Cantt) 3 years ago

I request you to all of us you are not belived in superstitions.


diane 3 years ago

When I am in my yard, my East Indian neighbor opens and closes her front door. She does this a lot but does not come outside. Does anyone know what this means?


elliena 3 years ago

thankyou so much for this information! it was really useful..


Amit 3 years ago

Superstitions at one time were truths, reality; today lifestyle, society and almost everything has changed.To understand these superstitions and the basis of these beliefs you need to have the capacity to understand the lifestyle and society when these were facts.


ashu 20 months ago

can you plz tel me the scientufic reasons for the blind beliefs

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