India is a singular nation sheltering a variety of religions. With every state that you cross into, you are greeted with a newer language, ethnicity, credo, and beliefs. This motley of practices seeps into the variety of festivals and culture that we have. However, more often than not, such religious fanaticism also spawns some of the most absurd superstitious practices. Most of the prevalent superstitions are not direct offshoots of any religion but in some way are associated and influenced by these factors. We Indians grew up falling prey to such practices inadvertently and without ever pausing to consider the logical/scientific rationale behind it. We have simply accepted these superstitions as a part of our daily consciousness. However, if, say, someone in the western nations witnessed our practices and behaviour in certain situations, they’d certainly feel terrified by it all.
Let us look at some of the preposterous superstitions we Indians blindly follow without any logic or science:
- The story of Lemon and Chillies
In India, it will never be a surprising sight to find string of lemons and chillies hanging in front of doorway of shops, offices, homes, cars, and rickshaws. The main purpose of doing this is to ‘ward off evil’ and welcome good luck. The mythological belief is that by tying this Nazar Battu, you dispel and banish Alakshmi, who is Goddess Lakshmi’s sister, and also known to bring poverty and misery. Generally, people thread one lemon with seven chillies. Oh and a piece of Charcoal too.
2.Cutting Nails and Washing Hair
These two simple activities have been surrounded by a lot of superstitions for centuries. They are extremely common in most of the households. According to some theories, one should not cut their nails on a Saturday or Tuesday. If this wasn’t strange enough, then you would be aghast to know that it is considered as bad luck to wash one’s hair on a Saturday or Thursday.
This hindi phrase ‘nazar utarna’ literally translates into “getting rid of the evil effects caused by the evil eye.” The effects of evil eye are believed to range from bad luck to ill health. The method to offset the evil is by placing a small spot of kajal (kohl) on the forehead or behind the ear of children.
Eye twitching is something that everyone experiences at one point of time or the other. The variety of superstitions that surround this phenomenon is shocking. Apparently, twitching of right eye is good for men. Twitching of left eye is good for women. Furthermore, eye twitching also signifies that someone’s arrival!
5.Black Cat crossing the way
This superstition has such a strong influence in the minds of the people that they have actually forgotten that it is just another superstition. Essentially, black cats are evil, and people change their route or expect others to cross the road first in case they see a black cat crossing the road. People actually believe that something bad might really happen to them if they walk the path crossed by the black cat.