10 Indian superstitions and theories behind them

10 Indian superstitions and theories behind them

In India, there are many customs and many superstitions as well. Most of the Indians believe in these myths even if they are very educated, they say they don’t believe in this nonsense but they know somewhere deep inside them they do believe in this willingly or unwillingly. Only some will be bothered to give it a thought while the rest just follow the customs and myths blindly as it is followed since generations so no one raises a question on these customs and myths.

Lets us look at some common customs and superstitions followed in India and what might be the scientific reason behind them.

Myth 1: Snake captures your image if you kill it.

In India, it is believed that if you kill a snake and leave it there then the counterpart of this snake pair will take revenge from you. The other snake of this snake pair will get to know about you from the image that has been captured in the dead snake’s eyes. So one should burn it or bury it deep in the earth after killing it for your safety.

According to an explanation when someone kills a snake and watches it from less distance he found his reflection in the dead snake’s eyes and it feels as if the snake captured his/her image but the fact is that snakes don’t have eyelids so when the snake is dead than also its eyes remain open and it reflects anything that comes in its range. The image created in snakes eyes due to reflection is very small so it’s impossible to identify who is there in that eye.

Even when a snake is dead its poison remains lethal for several hours. To avoid injection or intrusion of this poison to any leaving being by any means it’s recommended that one should burn or bury a dead snake so its poison can not affect any living being. So it is recommended to burn or bury the snake after killing it.

Myth 2: Spilling of salt brings bad luck

The spilling of salt is considered a bad omen and is said to bring bad luck. Salt should always be dissolved in water before throwing away. Salt should never come under your feet nor swept away with a broom it should be ideally dissolved in water and then thrown away. Salt absorbs negativity and should be respected even while discarding. Salt kept in small bowls in corners of the house is believed to absorb negativity.

Myth 3: Don’t sweep the floor after sunset

It is an old saying in India not to sweep the floor at night else Laxmi will be wiped out. It is believed that goddess Laxmi generally pays a visit after sunset so, if you sweep the floor after sunset, she won’t come in. In ancient times there was only candlelight which is not enough to identify if anything important is wiped out so they said not to sweep the floor at the night.

Myth 4: Don’t go under a peepal tree at night as Ghost hover around

It is saying that in the night there are ghost hovering around a Peepal tree and will haunt you if you go near to Peepal tree at night and sleeping under it is forbidden. But according to scientific view in the morning, when the photosynthesis is occurring in them, they absorb carbon dioxide, change it into energy and give out oxygen in the air which we breathe, while plants give out carbon dioxide (CO2) in the night and if you sleep under it and breath CO2 it will certainly affect your health. So people still believe the ancient saying that ghosts will haunt you means your health will be affected if you sleep under a Peepal or Banyan tree at night.

Myth 5: Lizard falling on men and women

Lizard falling on the right side of men and left side of women is considered auspicious and is said to give favorable results. While lizard falling on the left side of the man and right side for women gives unfavorable results. While lizards falling during the night gives neither positive nor negative results. Myths of lizard falling on certain parts of the body.

Effect of lizard falling on Men

Head – Be ready for disputes / Clashes
Top head – Afraid of death
Face – Expect financial profits
Left eye – It’s for good
Right eye – Unsuccessful / Fail / Lose
Forehead – Lack of involvement / Separation
Right cheek -Sadness

Effect of lizard falling on Women

Head – Afraid of death
Hair Knot – Worry about sickness
Calf of the leg – Expect visitors
Left eye – Get love from your man
Right eye – Creates mental stress
Chest – It’s for good

Myth 6: Black cat crossing is a bad omen

When a black cat crosses your path it will bring a bad omen so you should try to avoid it or let others pass before you do. As black in India is associated with planet Saturn and this planet causes failures and delays in our tasks and ventures. When a black cat crosses the path, it means that the particular task at hand would not be fruitful or would get delayed. It means that planet Saturn is not working favorably for him or her.

Myth 7: Broken mirror brings bad luck

Mirror in Hinduism is a form of Goddess Lakshmi and if it is broken means money will not stay in that house. It is also believed that Romans created such rumor as a mirror in ancient times were expensive and of low quality, so for saving their breakdown, they created this rumor. Anyone who purchased it was asked to handle it with great care.

Myth 8: Never to shave or cut nails after sunset

We are always told not to cut nails or shave after sunset as evil spirits are always roaming around in search of fresh flesh and if anyone cut then he will be attacked by those evil spirits. But the truth may be that in ancient times there was no electricity and with no lights shaving and cutting nails in dark may result in serious cuts.

Myth 9: Pregnant women are not allowed to go out during the eclipse

It is a strong belief that pregnant women shouldn’t go out as the sun is eclipsed (swallowed by a demon) and can affect the unborn child badly. But the reality is that during an eclipse the harmful UV rays may cause harm to pregnant women.

Myth 10: Women are not allowed certain things during menstruation

In India there is a belief that women during the menstruating time are impure and unclean, so she is not allowed to enter the kitchen or in the temple. But the fact may be that women during menstruation lose too much blood so she becomes weak and stressed and thus to give her rest and save her from burden this fact was made.

We have other beliefs like:

  • No haircuts on Fridays and Tuesdays
  • If the right palm is itchy for women, bad news
  • Left palm itchy, the good news (also precursor to dry skin)
  • Just as we leave the house, if someone sneezes, woe betides you
  • No payments on Friday
  • Crow cawing? Expect visitors
  • Serious discussion. Lizard chirping. Good omen.
  • Eating sweet yogurt before going out for something important, like an exam, is good.
  • Broken mirrors, black cats, opening an umbrella indoors, walking under a ladder, and other stuff that brings bad luck.

Suggested Read: What is ‘Nazar Battu‘ or Nimbu-Mirchi totka

Avatar for Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.