The History Behind Popular Indian Subcontinental Superstitions

This writing explains some of the popular Indian subcontinental superstitions and how, contrary to popular belief, they remain an integral part of our lives even in the 21st century. Holding history as a lamp, it explains how our ancestors might have formed the popular superstitions during ancient times and for what purpose, if any.

Recently I was editing the second chapter of my manuscript, currently named [the chapter] ‘Immutability’, when I realized how it is practically impossible to finish a detailed investigation on the Indian subcontinent without the referencing of popular Indian subcontinental superstitions  ­— a belief in something beyond reason.

The word superstition started from the Latin word ‘superstitio,’ which implied over the top dread of Gods. In spite of the fact that they serve no premise in science or rationale today, huge numbers of them do have explicit convictions behind, which helped our ancestors amid their time.

It’s nothing unexpected, at that point, that numerous such superstitions are discovered everywhere throughout the world and are for the most part dependent on religion.

Following similar advances, Indians likewise pursued innumerable customs yet with time, when different pieces of the world began to advance and left these anarchic practices, India did not part with their retrogressive practices — a tradition that still proceeds.

The following are superstitions sub-Asians unreasonably follow in their lives, alongside their trusted implications — if there exist any — portraying how they may have shaped in any case and for what reason to serve.

A Black Cat Being A Bad Omen

Just like a generally trusted superstition, the dark felines were viewed as an epitome of witches even in the Indian subcontinent. It is believed that in the event that one crosses your direction, it will result in death. A solution to prevent this is to either hang tight for another person to cross the way, change the route or in serious cases, spit thrice times in transit.

A Cow Passing Your Direction Brings Luck

The cow is viewed as sacrosanct in Hinduism, the mother religion of the Indian soil, which is the reason it is fortunate on the off chance that one crosses your direction. Indeed, even the neighborhood Muslims, as tribally changed over from Hinduism, have a solid faith in this today.

Breaking The Mirror Brings Misfortune

It was the Romans who originally begun the superstition identifying with broken mirrors as an indication of misfortune. Superstitions concerning mirrors evolved from a period once the first man saw his appearance inside the water, believing that the picture in water was of their spirit.

As indicated by an antiquated story, mirrors have mystical forces. Along these lines, a broken mirror would evaporate its forces, and the spirit would be separated from the body which will bring setbacks upon the one whose reflection it last held. It is likewise believed here that if you put a mirror outside on a stormy day, it will make the downpour stop.

Don’t Trim Nails And Hairs, Or Use Scissors After Dusk

Spreading such gossipy tidbits has more likely than not been a mother’s approach to prevent their youngster from dropping excesses in the house. Additionally, nail scissors or scissors were sharp cutting edges which required accuracy and light to be utilized without which one could get injured since there was no light around then.

Shaking Legs Bring Misfortune

It was maybe viewed as discourteous in the public arena. The solution for forestalling individuals, particularly kids doing it was to spread the rumor that doing as such will cause you loss of riches. From that point forward it is viewed as misfortune in the event that one shakes his legs, just as whistling inside is thought to bring bad tidings.

Do Not Sweep After Sunset

It is identified with one of the Gods in Hinduism, the goddess Laxmi would not go into the place of the practicer. Another reason could be fear of important things getting swept away in obscurity.

Venturing Out During An Eclipse Causes Loss Of Eyesight

Watching the sun amid a solar eclipse can cause retinal burns or eclipse. Based on this observation, our forefathers most likely thought it apt to associate the action with a bad idea and propagated that it was not prudent to set out amid a lunar or solar shroud.

Abstain From Going Under A Sacred Fig (Peepal) Tree At Night

It is commonly believed that apparitions dwell in obscure trees during late evenings. The Sacred Fig, local to the Indian subcontinent, is a densely thick and evergreen tree. Even today, many believe that going under a Fig or any tree for that matter is akin to disturbing the peace of these apparitions and simply inviting trouble.

Drawing A Black Dot On The Forehead Fends Off The Evil Eye

It is widely accepted that when a person or thing looks delightful, the hostile stare of envious individuals will influence that individual or thing rather badly. The best solution for which was to make that thing of beauty soiled. What else would explain a mother putting a black mark on the face of her son or daughter with her kajal, or Pakistanis hanging old shoes to just-purchased cars? If all else fails, the mere ‘nazar-e-bad duur’ makes do most of the time to ward off evil eyes.

A Widow Or Even Women In General Brings Misfortune

This is a broadly acknowledged faith in the Indian subcontinent. Widows can never experience life as before and are pushed away from many routine activities of normal life. It is trusted that they bring misfortune to any place they go. They are barred from going to weddings, as their presence might bring misfortune for the bride. The Satti system — the burning of the widow alongside her better half’s carcass — was likewise founded on a similar notions.

One widely believed ancient book from India, ‘The Kamasutra,’ written between about 200-300 AD even says: “A girl who is called by the name of one of the twenty-seven stars, or by the name of a tree, or of a river, is considered worthless, as also a girl whose name ends in “R” or “l”.

Days And Weeks Have Explicit Implications Behind

Astrology has assumed a crucial role in Indians’ lives since ancient times. Numerous individuals still want to do beneficial things, for example, moving, fixing a marriage, beginning a business, and so forth n accordance with the suitability of days. Heard about the shubh mahurat we see in almost every Indian movie? Yep, that is the stars and days at play and dictating actions.

Mental Illness Is A Curse

Dysfunctional behavior and mental issues are viewed as an experience with the fallen angel or presences of evils who have assumed control over one’s body and psyche. Some additionally trust it is brought about by the dark spells (black magic) performed by adversaries and envious people. Such convictions frequently give the favorable position to counterfeit peers and baba jis, who confess to having extraterrestrial forces at their beck and call, fit for performing black magic, enchantments and spells.

Some Others Superstitions Include:

  • Right eye twitching is useful for men, and the left one is useful for women.
  • Lemon and green chilies can fend off the evil eye.
  • Lizard falling on you brings good karma, and sometimes back luck.
  • Bat entering into the house can cause demise.
  • Gemstones have mystical powers.
  • Wearing an amulet protects you.
  • Itching in hand brings money.

Logic can never change an opinion if it wasn’t used to form the opinion in the first place. Contrary to popular belief these archaic practices are prevalent not only in rural areas but metropolitan areas as well. But despite of the fact that they have no premise in science today, superstitions remain a fundamental part of our day-to-day lives, and we, as dwellers of the Indian subcontinent, are influenced by them; whether we like it or not, or admit it or not.




The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and policy of The Academia Magazine.

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