We have all grown up being told to follow particular superstitions that have been passed on from our ancestors. Recently, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, a self-proclaimed atheist, apparently changed his car because a crow perched on it. Another Chief Minister wouldn’t visit the Secretariat due to his superstitions. Even film stars, from Tollywood to Bollywood, have their own uncanny beliefs. But do you know the reasons for following them? Well, here are a few rituals and the reasons why they are being practiced.
Twitching of eye: Eye twitches are seen as nature’s way of warning us about some impending problem or good news. This superstition also takes into consideration the gender of the individual experiencing these twitches. However, these happen as a result of various medical reasons. Eye twitching is only a sudden involuntary movement or spasms in the eyelids.
“Impure” women during menstruation: In most Indian families, women are considered “impure” when they are menstruating. The reason behind this is that during the menstrual cycle, a women’s body becomes weak due to excessive blood loss. Women were asked to rest for those days and stay away from tiresome household chores. To ensure that this tradition is taken seriously, ancestors have made it a superstition.
Eat curd and sugar before stepping out: It is considered as a way to ensure good luck. However, we are asked to do so because India has a tropical climate and curd has a cooling effect on the body. Sugar is technically glucose so it gives you more energy before going out for any work.
Don’t step out during an eclipse: Although stepping out during an eclipse is considered a bad omen especially for pregnant women, individuals are only advised to do so in order to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.
Using lemon and chillies to remove buri nazar: The concept of buri nazar came because of people who have negative thoughts about a particular person. They are said to emit negative rays because of their evil thoughts that affect individuals emotionally though not physically. One method of removing this buri nazar is by using chillies and lemon which is commonly referred to as nimbu totka. However, they are used because they are said to be rich in nutrients. Though it isn’t scientifically proved, it is also said to have pesticidal properties.
Bathing after attending a funeral: It is said that after coming back from a funeral, people are supposed to take a bath first thing after entering the house without touching anything or anybody. It is considered that the person coming from a funeral brings the negativity home and that is why they should cleanse themselves before touching anything. However, the reason behind this practice is that in the olden days, our ancestors did not have any medication against deadly contagious diseases and to avoid the infections from the dead body, they have made this a mandatory ritual.
Black cats crossing your path: It is said that if a black cat crosses your path then it brings you bad luck. In ancient times, when people would travel through forests during the night, they would get scared looking at the big cats like leopards, hyenas, etc., the light from their lanterns would fall on their faces and these animals would scare them. As time passed, travellers shared their experiences with others asking them not to cross the path of a black cat but eventually, domestic cats replaced forest cats.
Friday and the number 13: The number 13 is considered an unlucky number by most countries. They avoid doing anything related to the number 13, be it in personal matters or business. Friday the 13th is considered as massive bad luck and the reasons for this trace back to the Bible. One major reason is that at Jesus Christ’s last supper, there were thirteen people around the table, counting Christ and the twelve apostles. Some believe this unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ.
Another major reason for Friday the 13 is that on Friday 13, October 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar, and most of the knights were tortured and killed. Ironically, the Marxist government in Kerala refused to take room number 13 in Thiruvananthapuram Secretariat. A car with the number 13 is also not being chosen by any of the members.