“Superstition, the mother of those hideous twins, fear and faith, from her throne of skulls, still rules the world.” – ROBERT G. INGERSOLL
There was a time, when I used to think that I needed a few days off at home. In which, I will do nothing, no stress, no tension of going out or meeting people. No getting up early and running to college. But just sit, relax and devote my time to all my skills that have been craving for my attention from so long. This time its about Superstitions, Fear and Faith. However, it’s been six months now and here I am sitting at home living a life that I asked for and pondering about the quote
“Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it.”
common superstitions in our society
I never thought staying at home with the people we call “mine” can be so frustrating. However this quarantine was not that bad. At least I got time to work on my skills.
Moreover, this new habit that I inculcated in myself that is discussing with you people my worries and issues. It has been really helpful and hoping that it might have been helpful to you too.
Thanks to this time that I got, I started looking into issues more properly than I ever did. Like the one which I am going to discuss today is ‘superstitions’.
Some Cliche dialogues in every household
‘Don’t wash or cut your hair on certain days.’
‘Use lemons and green chilies to avoid buri nazar.’
‘Throwing coins in fountains and rivers bring good’
‘No Cleaning of the House After Sunset’
‘A black cat crossing your path is meant to signal that tasks get delayed or postponed’
And many more like these are in line.
The Deep roots of superstitions- fear and faith
As kids we were forced to believe some of these since our parents were way too involved in them. While we know that most of these don’t hold any scientific logic. Yet we stop by each time a black cat crosses the road.
India is a country of diversity and multi ethnicity and cultural traditions. This country is respected all over the world for how we still have maintained our culture even after being one of the leading developing countries. However, the taboos and stained belief is something which is pulling us down the ladder of success.
In this scientific era of many discoveries and inventions, science makes the impossible possible with the blink of an eye, there’s no place for superstition. Science and superstitions are poles apart. Yet they are the two sides of the same coin unknown of their interdependence.
Before moving further I’d like to paraphrase what I read about superstitions during my graduation in sociology class.
“Superstitions are self-imposed selfish beliefs, something imaginary yet unimaginable disbelief, or mere beliefs. Superstitions have neither beginning nor an end; it is complete in itself.”
It sometimes astonishes me that even after being the product of this scientific era and reading so many books and achieving degrees, we are a prisoner to such beliefs.
How did it come into being?
It is said that the earliest superstitions were created as a way to deal with ignorance and fear of the unknown. Superstitions are thus a way of attempting to regain control over events in one’s life. Many believe that superstitious beliefs originated during the earliest days of humanity. Faced with natural phenomena like thunderstorms and earthquakes, as well as the unpredictability of illness and food supply, human beings attempted to create an understandable world of powers that could be influenced by action.
There was nothing that could afraid a man but only one thing, that is God. Hence to keep people in check, the elderly made some beliefs in the name of God, which were accepted everywhere. And like a legacy generation after generation they were being passed without a change and people kept on following blindly. However, the imp fact we missed here was that“When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.”
When we decide to remain stuck with all those old beliefs, we are not only restricting our growth but also giving shape to the negative impacts that it may cause to the society and on the people around us.
Scientific reasons behind some beliefs
In today’s article I’ll be discussing some of the scientific reasons behind certain superstitions and would also like to hear from you people the weird traditions that your families might follow and if there is any scientific reason behind it. So, go flood the comment section with your stories….
1- No cleaning of the house after sunset
It was because of the fact that earlier technology wasn’t that developed. There were houses with no proper electricity supply and hence there used to be darkness after sunset. It was believed that, if you will, sweep the floors in darkness then with all the trash you might even throw out some valuable stuff. So, to avoid mishaps they made it a superstition and also attached it to God’s name so as to increase its value.
2-Black Cat crossing your way
It is a very common superstition prevailing not only in Indian society but also in the old western culture also. It is believed that if you are going out of your home for any work and a black colored cat is crossing your way, you should stop for a while or return back for a while and drink water by letting the other people go first.
However, the real reason behind it was, in the ancient times people had to travel across the forests using the muddy ways with lots of bushes and flora and fauna. There was a possibility of a cat being chased by some wild animals which might even attack the humans. Thus, it was indicative of some impending danger.
3- Hanging Lemon & Chilies
It is customary with most of the shop owners or with the offices or with the drivers to offer a string with the lemon and chilies in front of the gate of their business establishment. Or hang it in front of the vehicle just to appease the deity. But the scientific reason was by placing the lemon and chilies you try to wand off the small insects and other parasites.
4-Fidgeting can lose Wealth
The practice of shaking legs while sitting or lying down is called fidgeting. Science has proved that it is a mental disorder and is caused by hypertension. Earlier people knew that it is not a good habit but did not have an explanation, so they started saying that if you shake legs you will lose money and as expected it stopped them from doing this act.
5- Peepal tree becomes haunted during nights
Actually, according to science Peepal trees during the day time inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen while at night time the process is opposite. Due to the process of guttation, droplets of water use to fall from the leaves. These falling droplets scared the old people as they had no apparent reason for the sprinkle, which was quite apparent during the summer season.
I can go on for hours and hours talking about superstitions and the scientific reasons behind them, thanks to my sociology teacher 😂. Sometimes, I tried explaining to my parents the reasons behind superstitions. But, the roots were so deep that it seemed impossible to completely remove it from their system.
I am not defending them or going against them, but simply sharing the possible reasoning that might just make us understand the origin of them all. Some may not have any logic but some surprisingly sound scientifically right. Yes, we do believe them but remember that every coin has two sides. There is no harm in keeping our minds open and giving a chance to the explanations for everything. So concluding it, I would like to say
“before going behind the mob blindly try to find the reason and then follow. “
Also read 5 Confusions about Feminism
I would like hear about the superstitions followed at your place…in the comment box.. 🙂