India is full of superstitions that are uncountable with so many cultures and beliefs all across. Superstitions in India spread across like rumours or myths that emerge as A from one culture and end up as Z in another culture. There is no known source of the beginning of these superstitions. These have been followed down from our ancestors and continue to spread the belief system in the generation ahead.
Since India is known for its various cultures, every culture is led by its superstition, where every single one of them cannot be listed out. However, an insight will lead us to an idea of the kind of superstitions that exist in Indian households.
Let us see a few superstitions that have no scientific logic behind them:
1) Broom superstitions
Broom superstitions in India are fascinatingly common. It could be unimaginable that a broomstick could be associated with so many superstitions. Every household owns a broomstick with which people have created a particular belief system for the broom as it holds common importance in everyone’s daily life. A broom has uncountable superstitious beliefs that are also religious.
Some common superstitions associated with brooms are:
- Broomsticks should not serve the purpose to wipe your feet, or the feet shouldn’t touch the broom.
- Broomsticks shouldn’t be used in the evening or after dark, as they could wipe something valuable, or it would be an invitation to enemies. It is also believed that the Goddess Laxmi, associated with wealth, pays a visit in the evening, and a broom is likely to sweep wealth out.
- Broomsticks shouldn’t be kept upright and prefer to be laid on the ground in the northeast direction.
- Broomsticks are associated with witches and are used to sweep out any evil spirits from the household or are even used to remove spirits from possessed people.
- When shifting to a new house, bringing in the old broom from the old home brings bad luck. A new broomstick has to be bought for the new house.
- A rare superstition also says that a broomstick should be tied and wedded with a tree before using it to sweep for the first time. Although, this practice is done rarely.
- A sculpture of Goddess Shitala Mata worshipped by most families in India portrays a broomstick in one hand and a water pot.
Since the origins of these superstitions are unknown, these are pure beliefs that have no right or wrong. And can vary from person to person.
2) Superstitions associated with animals/birds
Animals signify good luck or bad luck according to different cultures, not only in India but also worldwide.
Some common superstitions seen in every household family in India are below:
- Owl sitting on the house signifies bad luck or a bad omen. If an owl sits on the house porch or anywhere on the house, it indicates death or a piece of bad news, especially in the Hindu community. It is necessary to hoot or clap the owl to fly it off.
- A cat crossing your path signifies bad luck and should wait selfishly until another person crosses the path so bad luck is carried along with him/her instead of you.
- A crow cawing indicates someone would pay a visit to your home.
- A fox crossing your path would mean good luck but coming across a group of foxes is bad luck.
- A snake child found in the house indicates good luck. Though it rings an alarm of having a newborn snake found means a fully grown snake would be nearby. But this superstition gives ease to the fear of snakes.
- If a lizard falls on your head or you come into touch with it in any way, it is advisable to throw salt over your shoulders without looking. The real reason for this superstition? Not known. manner
3) Marriage superstitions
In different cultures and traditional marriages, there are all kinds of superstitions. Some common ones are below:
- Mehendi – A darkening of a Mehendi’s colour is directly proportional to the quantity of love of the husband. A dark or medium, or light Mehendi indicates how much the husband will love his bride. The darker the Mehendi, the more the love.
- Day of marriage – The most auspicious day to get married is Wednesdays. As the poem indicates, Mondays are good for health, Tuesday is good for wealth, Wednesdays are good both, Thursdays are for losses, Fridays are for crosses, and Saturdays are considered pure bad luck.
- Rain on a wedding day signifies good luck or bad luck for a couple. It is believed that raining on a wedding day means a happy wedding life, but it could also mean bad luck, which differs from people.
- Boiling milk in the kitchen results in milk spilling in the kitchen. Apparently, after a wedding, it is not a good sign. The belief is that the bride or groom will be a result of misfortune in the family.
- Entry in the house with the right foot – This means the bride should enter the groom’s house with her right foot as left foot entry is considered bad luck.
- Lending a wedding lehenga to another is considered bad luck for your wedding life but good for them.
There are numerous traditions associated with superstitions that might have a more philosophical meaning behind them.
4) Odd numbers/ even numbers
Numbers are associated immediately with good or bad luck, which might have been followed down and observed for years-
- People in India and around the world don’t keep dates for good plans on odd number dates such as the 13th, 7th, 3rd, etc.
- Quantity in 3 shouldn’t be provided, such as giving 3 sweets or 3 loaves of bread. This is considered bad.
- Surprisingly this isn’t bad all the time. In Indian weddings or on holy events gifting money in odd numbers is considered good luck. For example – Rs 101, Rs 11, etc.
5) Directional superstitions in Indian homes
It involves superstitions regarding the position of objects-
- The direction of the bed (the head) shouldn’t be north-south facing and should be kept east-west. This is a belief that suggests a person shouldn’t be sleeping facing north as that is how they lay a person after his/her death.
- Position of a clock. This superstition comes with mostly an intuition of where the wall clock is good to place. If economic conditions are not favourable, it is suggested to change the position of the clock.
- A ‘mandir’ or temple in homes should ideally be in the northeast direction.
6) Itchy palms and itchy feet
In India, most believe that itchy palms indicate the outflow or incoming of money. The association of this is confused in the right palm or left palm. Some say that if the left palm itches, it is good luck and brings in money, and if the right palm itches, it indicates the outflow of wealth. These vary from person to person as some also say the right palm means inflow and the left palm is an outflow of money.
Itchy feet also have an association with beliefs. If the sole of the right foot itches, it means that a travel journey is upcoming, and in the case of the left foot, it brings bad luck or a failed journey and vice versa.
7) Eye Twitching and Hiccups
Eye twitching has various interpretations and superstitions, but the most common ones signify that if an eye twitches, it is bad luck or good luck, or the worst is about the happen. Body language always gives us a message beforehand, if noticed carefully. Different families interpret it in different ways. The most common are:
- In males, if the left eye twitches, it means something bad is on its way, and the right eye means something good is going to happen—Vice – versa in the case of females.
- Eye twitching is also believed to be psychic energy trying to tell you that someone might be remembering you, whether in a good way or a bad way. The person could either have you on their minds, bad-mouthing you, or might be in love with you.
Hiccups also have the same interpretation as eye twitching which means someone might have you on their mind. It mostly is said that somebody misses you when having hiccups for no reason. This superstition also says that you could know who it is by simply taking the person’s name and waiting for the hiccups to stop.
8) Broken Mirror
Having a broken or a cracked mirror at home brings out negative energy and should be immediately replaced or thrown away. A mirror is an important part of our lives as it shows the reflection of us. Breaking a mirror acts as a curse of misfortune in many beliefs. If a glass breaks by mistake, it is considered to bring good luck. Whereas if a glass has been broken knowingly, it is pure bad luck. This belief is all around the world.
9) Showing one eye
Especially in Bengali culture, it is believed that if a person shows one eye, it is considered bad luck. To cancel it out, they recommend closing and opening both eyes. The exact reason for the belief is unknown. But their belief is mostly associated with positive and negative energy.
10) Eyelash break
This superstition is done as a kid’s tale, which means that if an eyelash breaks, we should make a wish by placing the lash on the back of our palms, close our eyes, make a wish and blow away the lash before opening the eyes. If you happen to find the eyelash again, the wish won’t come true.
11) Sweet curd
Having sweet curd or anything sweet before beginning your day or before going to work is a common belief in Indian households. This is done for good luck and to have a good day ahead.
Before stepping out of the house, if a person sneezes, it is important to stay still for a while or pause the work you are doing. Sneezing before starting something is considered back luck. Sneezing has more interpretations similar to eye twitching and hiccups. If someone sneezes twice, it indicates someone might be bad-mouthing you, and if someone sneezes thrice provided there are no flu or infections, someone might be in love with you, or someone might have a genuine remembrance for you. But again, these are superstitions.
13) Touch Wood
A common superstition in which praise or a boast is cancelled out with the literal touching. So, bad things don’t come upon after feeling appreciation for the things achieved.
Superstitious beliefs and practices are meant to have blind faith in them. Logic does not have a say in these, whether scientific or philosophical. But these superstitions have been passed on as learning from life either by hook or by crook. And to avoid anything bad happening in our everyday lives, these are some beliefs that have been told as either a story to children to make them follow these. Throughout the world, the belief system has a big margin, and it continues to grow.
It emerges from fear, predicting future events, bringing positivity, traditional right or wrong practices, mythology, stories of our Gods and Goddesses, and wars. These uncountable superstitions go on and can take an entire life to understand them and look for the origin.