General

Superstition of Modern India

Watching the Winchester brothers summoning demons at the cross roads with a pinch of blood and some not so easy to find ingredients and a cool spell seems pretty cool when watching supernaturals. However how would seeing a hooded figure do the same at 2 a.m at a cross road just 50m from your house feel? Not that cool right. It was no different for me.I freaked out the other day when I was coming from the airport after seeing off a friend. Didnt think much of it then other than just being plain relieved of not attracting any attention then and just slipping by.

However this did get me thinking after a few days… for a few days. Not that I didnt know that these things happen around me. Have always seen red lemons, egg shells, chillies at these cross roads for years. Never did really gave it any second thought. So cant deny really that this was something very new. However seeing this happen did freak me a little.

India is a country of diverse culture and people. We come from different faith, religions, cultural up-bringing. We are neither backward nor the wrong kind of orthodox and yes… we do believe in science. We have achieved the feat of launching 104 satellites on a single rocket. However we do have our fair shares of weird rituals and superstitions. Thought would dig a little on some these and try to know how and when these came into practice.

 

Lemons and Chillies to your cure

if you are having health problems, to remove the bad drishti you the elder must take lime and dried chillies tied together with a string, and rice; circle it around your head and then throw it on the road. It is said that the person who steps on the lime will take away your misfortune and take it onto themselves (people avoid stepping on lime and chillies on the road.

 

Hang Lemon and 7 Green Chillies first…Now lets do some Business!

Indian mythology says: Alakshmi, god of misfortune brings bad luck to the shop owners or business. In order not to allow her entering the shops they hang these 7 chilies and lemon. Alakshmi likes sour, pungent and hot things. Therefore at the door, Alakshmi will only come up to the door and eat her favorite food and satisfy her hunger and leave without entering the shop. It is believed that after consuming lemon and green chillies, Alakshmi loses her urge to enter the house or shop. She will turn around without casting her vicious eye.

Scientific Reason:  The cotton thread which is used to pierce the chillies and lemon absorbs the acid from the fruit whilst it is fresh. This smell keeps the pests and insects away from the shops. This is a simple pesticide which came into practice from ancient times, which is mislead now superstitiously as explained above.

 

When Eating food goes wrong

If you bite your tongue, someone is cursing you.

If you choke on your food, someone is thinking about you seriously

No idea about how this came into being.

Building it the right way

Vaastu is often followed in houses to bring good fortune. This however is more science than superstition as the rooms are arranged or preferred to be designed in a very logical way so as to keep you healthy and fit.
Vaastu is the broader knowledge about architecture and design theories from ancient India. Since Vastu vidya is a collection of ideas with or without support of layout diagrams. the latter being the broader knowledge about architecture and design theories from ancient India does make a lot of sense when tried to co-relate it to not even science but plain common sense.

Sleeping the right way

sleeping with the legs facing south is a bad omen (dead bodies are buried facing this way)

Cutting Nails and Shaving After Sunset

In the olden days there was no electricity and shaving or cutting nails would result in cuts after sunset because of darkness. Hence our ancestors advised not to cut nails or shave after sunset. In Later days it was believed that the night spirits will be awaken and come in the search of flesh. People have been warned to get attacked by these evil spirits in the darkness of night if people cut nails or shave hair after sunset which continues as a superstition.

The dark is never good

midnight on the night of the new moon (amarvasya) is said to be the night of ghosts

 

Again Black is never good

black cats in the path in front of you are seen as a bad omen, and are seen as carriers of witchcraft

Odd man out?

it is bad luck to travel in groups of 3’s – either use an object to act as a 4th person; or 2 people leave the house first, and the 3rd person leaves 5 mins after

Odd man out but Odd money in???

if you are giving a gift of money, it must always be in odd numbers (51 INR, 101 INR)

It is common in India to give money for weddings and auspicious occasions. It is considered auspicious to add a rupee to the sum total.

No idea where this came from yet. Will update as soon as I know about this.

May be because spirits love nature…

trees such as Marichettu (banyan), Peepal, Tamarind, and Kumkurukai are to be avoided as evil spirits are said to reside there

 

Eye of the Dead

This is a very common superstitious belief in India,  if a dead person’s eyes is left open it is believed that the other soul around the dead body will be taken away with him through his eyes. But the real reason behind this is to make the dead person look as if he is sleeping peacefully and nothing more or less.

I am a left hander! and so was Genghis Khan!!

left hand is inauspicious – you should not give or take anything with the left hand, especially food, gifts or money

 

Dare to Cross

In ancient times, during night people used to travel through forests in bullock carts with a light of kerosene lantern. The carriage animals get past big cats like leopards, hyenas, jackals and foxes. These animals have glowing eyes and scare the cows, horses or the bulls that pull the carts. That is why the traveling party halts nearby and help the animals refresh themselves before they pull the carts for the long journey ahead without any stress.

Travelers shared their hard experiences and told other travelers not to proceed travel while the cats crossing the roads and in the course of time changing, the cat crossings got live and the people forget forest cats and took the domestic cats instead.

 

Opening An Umbrella Inside The House

Restriction of opening umbrella inside house had a sensible reason back in the days. The umbrellas were built with hard metal spokes and spring triggers, which could be dangerous to open. In fact, opening one indoors could pose a danger to people and fragile objects nearby.

Warning people not to open an umbrella indoors served to protect the health and safety of people and property indoors. Later this was considered as “bad luck” considering the injuries and broken objects, which often coincided with the umbrella’s opening.

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