Superstitions in India

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Superstition is the belief in supernatural causality—that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two events—such as astrology and certain aspects linked to religion, like omens, witchcraft and prophecies, that contradict natural science

The word superstition is generally used to refer to the religion not practiced by the majority of a given society – such as Christianity in Western culture – regardless of whether the prevailing religion contains superstition. It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy, and certain spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific (apparently) unrelated prior event.


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wonder how superstitious our society is. I think only in India, a common priest with a lemon knows better how to run a vehicle’s engine than an automobile or mechanical engineer! If this case spreads out to the generations to come, people may start demanding to fix a lemon as a default in all vehicles. There is a strong chance of that happening. Not crossing the road when a cat has crossed your path is a widely seen phenomenon in Indian society and is considered to bring failure in the work of the person who crosses that road. The height of selfishness and superstition extends up to breaking pumpkins on the road which is listed as one of the reasons for road accidents. That’s really a nightmare for any two-wheeler.


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Hindus believe that it's inauspicious to cut hair and nails on Saturday because it angers planet Saturn (shani), which then brings bad luck. However, ask people who cut their hair and nails on Saturdays, and we bet they'll tell you their hair looked better and their nails neater, and no planet hovered above them with bad luck.

Hindus believe that cutting nails and hair on Saturdays brings badluck

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Poor black cats. They are blamed just for being black (no racist joke here). It's a popular belief in the west too that, if a black cat crosses your path, it’s a bad omen. For the west, the origin of this superstition came from Egypt. Egyptian culture believed that black cats were evil creatures, whereas the Indian explanation is that black represents Shani and therefore brings bad luck. It is said that if a black cat crosses your path, then your day’s tasks get delayed or postponed. Which reminds me, when we were kids and went for our exams, and if a black cat crossed, never once was the exam delayed or postponed. Now say?

 If a black cat crosses your path, then your tasks get delayed or postponed.

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An onion and a knife is kept under a new-born child's bed to drive away bad dreams. It is also believed that placing an onion under your pillow while you sleep will bring you great insight when dreaming about who your future partner in life will be. We suggest all single people try doing this to prove how wrong this belief is!

Shaking legs is not just a sign of nervousness. It also drives away your wealth. It is believed that if you shake your legs, prosperity will flow away from you. That explains, why we are so broke at the end of the month right!

Keeping onions and knives under your bed will drive away bad dreams.

You lose your wealth, if you shake your legs.

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It is considered that the right eye twitching is good for men, and the left one brings good news for women. Now everytime your eye twitches you simply believe that the day is a lost cause. Eye twitching or the sudden involuntary movement or spasms in the eyelids is only a common condition

Because 13 is unlucky and 1 is a lucky number. The shagun must hold an amount which ends with one. It should be gyraah rupaye ka prasad or ek sau ek ka present at Indian weddings and pujas. 

Eye twitching.  Adding one rupee to a gift sum is auspicious.

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Not washing clothes, not shaving or not buying oil/iron or not eating non-vegetarian food on certain days of the week are also some of the most followed superstitions in India. Hair salons and beauty parlours are closed on Tuesdays, as it is believed that it is bad luck to cut hair/shave on this day. On Thursdays clothes are not washed. Non-veg food is not consumed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, oil or iron is not bought on Saturdays.

The wall lizard can boast of having the most superstitions surrounding it. Every movement of this reptile, holds some significance, indeed, a science called the Gowli Shastra enumerates these. The colour, spots, stripes, or twittering of the lizard and where it falls on a person’s body are said to indicate future happenings.

There are also many superstitions related to pregnant women, which originated for their protection. Some of the most widespread are: A pregnant woman should not wander out alone at night or enter an empty house because evil spirits might infest her. The husband of a pregnant woman should not build a house as that might arouse the wrath of the earth spirit. He must not bathe in the sea for the seashore is thick with ghosts. All these rules were imposed on people, as ways to protect the prospective mother and father against any form of danger.

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So, Where did it all begin…

Superstitions in India in the past.

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SatiAccording to Commission (Prevention) of Sati Act 1987, Sati is defined as the act of burning alive or burial of a widow (or any women) along with the body of her deceased husband (including relatives, or object belonging someone like that), irrespective of whether it was voluntary.[11] After he watched the Sati of his own sister-in-law, Ram Mohan Roy began campaigning for abolition of the practice in 1811.[citation needed] The practice of Sati was abolished in British India in 1829 by Governor General Lord William Bentinck.Although it has been therefore illegal in India for almost two centuries, some incidents have been recorded in recent years.

Death of Roop Kanwar:On 4 September 1987, 17 (or 18) year old Roop Kanwar of Deorala village in Sikar district in Rajasthan, who had been married for only 7 months,burned to death on her husband's pyre. It was alleged that the victim had tried to escape, but she was drugged and forced on to the pyre. On 1 October 1987, Rajasthan legislative assembly passed an ordinance against Sati, which was later turned into an Act. It was followed by pro-Sati rallies and protests in Jaipur. On 3 January 1988, the Indian parliament passed a new law, Commission (Prevention) of Sati Act 1987, based on Rajasthan's legislation of 1987. This act also criminalised glorification of Sati. Police charged her father-in-law and brother-in-law of allegedly forcing her to commit the act, but they were acquitted in October 1996.

Human sacrifice:Although, human sacrifices are not prevalent in India, rare isolated incidents happen occasionally, especially in rural areas. In some cases, human beings have been replaced by animals and birds. But after backlash from animal rights groups, in some places they have been replaced by human effigies. The beliefs behind these sacrifices vary from inducing rainfall to helping childless women conceive.It is alleged that some cases often go unreported or are covered up. Between 1999 and 2006, about 200 cases of child sacrifices were reported from Uttar Pradesh.

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Superstitions have been prevalent in society since the beginning of civilization. Our ancestors had sown some beliefs to have control over people and to form a disciplined society. Those beliefs have somehow helped in safeguarding people’s lives.

Of course it’s not good for a pregnant woman to wander out alone, but people are never bothered about the actual reason behind it and hence it resulted in framing such beliefs. That was alright till the period when rational belief and scientific attitude was lacking.

In those days, people had no scientific knowledge about nature and never had any control over forces of nature. In such situations, superstitions were born as a means to satisfy the causes and effects of some mishaps. Our ancestors propagated that such incidences are have been caused by some supernatural elements.

Gradually, these interpretations of events in life received acceptability and were passed onto further generations without any scientific knowledge, which now have become a part of our life.

So, Is it for our good?

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If you're like most people, you occasionally participate in superstitious thinking or behavior often without even realizing you're doing it. Just think: When was the last time you knocked on wood, walked within the lines, avoided a black cat, or read your daily horoscope?

Superstition is one coping mechanism that helps some people manage the unknowns of life and situations beyond control.Humans often use them in the struggle for control over the world and situations that occur.

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No matter how confident or prepared you are for an event -- whether it's a football game, a wedding, or a presentation -- things can still happen beyond your control. "Superstitions provide people with the sense that they've done one more thing to try to ensure the outcome they are looking for."

Friend or Foe?A sense of security and confidence are perhaps the greatest benefits we get emotionally from superstitious thinking or behavior -- like carrying an object or wearing an item of clothing that you deem to be lucky.

Foxman says there is a positive placebo effect -- if you think something will help you, it may do just that. "There is a tremendous amount of power in belief," he says. If the outcome is a matter of pure luck, beliefs don't really have any impact, however, when your performance is a key factor in an outcome, superstitious thinking might give you an extra boost.

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Superstitions, Ignorance & Fear of the Unknown Humans, when unable to rule out a theory, how so ever

irrational it might appear, prefer to take the safer route and make sure that do not do something which can later lead to some adversity, harm or injury. This is why most superstitions are associated with a fear of some harm that may befall the person if he or she does or fails to do a particular thing.

Those who know, and know that they know are always less likely to be superstitious about the things they do know. This does not mean that all learned or educated people are absolutely free of superstition. In fact, the more you learn about this universe and its systems and events, the more comes the realization of our own ignorance. This ignorance is what makes us believe in many supernatural phenomenon, god and religion included. The same ignorance, and the very awareness of this ignorance also makes one believe in superstition.

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There are only two things. One is positive energy and another one is negative energy. If you are positive and believe in yourself, you can do wonders as you are a result of your thoughts. When your belief attaches itself to some unscientific and illogical energy, it’s completely a waste and increases the level of garbage in the society’s ideology. That’s superstition. In the same way when your belief is attached to your self-confidence and attitude it will definitely bring you wonders. Life is not a matter of chance or luck; it is not something out of our control; it is largely the result or effect of our thoughts.

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We believe that every action has a cause, and every cause leads to some consequences. Whatever is not based on rationality and reason should not be allowed to overpower our mind and create unnecessary fear. If you have worked hard, you cannot fail just because a cat has crossed your way. Superstitions are baseless and should be given up. They need to be eradicated from the society. If it tends to continue this way, then it will badly affect the intellectual growth of our society and will then arise to a completely illogical, unscientific wisdom – the dark wisdom.

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Superstition in India is a sequel to fear for the unseen. It seems extremely difficult to erase out

from the mind all considerations of a nameless fear, although it is not an unattainable ideal.

*Aaaaa..chooo*..oops sorry ! We hope the sneeze doesn’t bring bad luck to the next group! :P