In all the ancient religions of the world, the ritual of animal sacrifice has remained a great means of attaining the nearness of the Almighty. In India, Goddess Kali is known to favor animal sacrifices-goats in particular. Killing a goat in her name is believed to relieve one of negative emotions such as fear,Â anger,Â and jealousy.
There is no scientific explanations behind this tradition apart from having a feast. Sadly this is still in practice in most of the parts in India. Can we justify the act of killing animals for whatever superstitious belief is been passed on?
This is another common myth in India. If you sweep your house after sunset Lakshmi will walk out of the house and hence inviting poverty.
But the real reason behind this is back in the days when there was no electricity,Â light of lamp was not enough to spot any small gold ornaments while sweeping and hence chances of sweeping them away with the dust is high. Hence it wasÂ not advised to sweep after dark.
Crow is the vahana of shani who represents the karmas of past. We are indebted to our ancestors who have given us birth. So offering food to crow is regards as pacifying the hunger of ancestors where ever and whichever form they are reborn. It is believed that crows are being related to our ancestors since the 'treta yuga'.
As per this popular legend,Â once Jayant the Son of God Indra, disguised in the form of crow and hurt Sita. In turn God Rama took hay and used it as an arrow and parted one of the eyes of Jayant. After realizing his mistake,Â Jayant asked for God Rama’s forgiveness. Then Rama forgave him and blessed him with a boon that when food is offered to the crows that will reach the ancestors.
There are a couple of theories about this superstitious belief. Many Christians are believers in the Trinity-that God is made up of three parts,Â the Holy Father,Â the Holy Son, and the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit). A ladder leaning up against a building was seen as a triangle of these three. To walk through this triangle was seen as breaking the Trinity and hence considered as bad luck. Another origin of the superstition was a bit less specific,Â and had to do with the similarities between a ladder leaning against a wall and a gallows. However the fact is that,Â it is simply unsafe to walk under the ladder and you may get hurt or might hurt someone around by knocking the ladder down.
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.
There are various reasons,Â for some,Â it is a blessing,Â a token of love and luck. For some it is the beginning of a new cycle. For some it makes the sum an odd number and indivisible which is a good omen for the married couple. If the rupee is not added the sum total will be separable or it will end in zero which indicates the end,Â so adding the rupee will make the number odd hence assuring continuity.
The myth is that if you throw fallen hair inside the house instead of binning it,Â soon you will see a fight within your family. Well, who would like to pick up a quarrel at home?
But the real reason behind this superstition is if you leave the fallen hair inside the house it may end up falling inside the food when the wind blows.
The number 13 is considered an unlucky number in some countries. The superstitious sufferers try to avoid bad luck by keeping away from anything numbered or labelled thirteen. As a result, companies and manufacturers use another way of numbering or labelling to avoid the number,Â with hotels and tall buildings being conspicuous examples (thirteenth floor). It is also considered unlucky to have thirteen guests at a table. Friday the 13th has been considered the unluckiest day of the month.
One major reason is that,Â at Jesus Christ's last supper,Â there were thirteen people around the table,Â counting Christ and the twelve apostles. Some believe this unlucky because one of those thirteen,Â Judas Iscariot,Â was the betrayer of Jesus Christ. Another major reason for Friday the 13,Â On Friday 13 October 1307,Â King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar,Â and most of the knights were tortured and killed.
Every movement of the wall lizard holds some significance according to Gowli Shastra in India. The colour, spots, stripes,Â chirping or twittering of the lizard and where it falls on a person's body are said to indicate future happenings. However the fact is thatÂ lizards that are poisonous in nature release poisonous chemicals from their body in order to protect them from their enemies. If such lizard comes in contact of a person's body or falls in a food item like milk etc. then is bound to make it contaminated. One should wash that particular spot and area to avoid infectious disease.
The fact that few species of bat drinks blood does not help to the superstitious beliefs revolving around them. There is an old myth that if a bat enters the house or flies around the hose for three times or more then death is waiting for someone in the family. There are many different myths associated with the bats in different countries and culture which adds up to bats being an bad omen.
The real reason behind the bats entering the hose brings death is because of the disease transmitted by bats were deadly back in the days when there was no medicines for these disease.Â Rabies,Â Nipah,Â Hendra,Â Ebola and Marburg are all viruses carried by bats that can cause serious disease in humans. Marburg virus and some strains of Ebola virus can kill up to 80-90% of humans infected.
This is a very common superstitious belief in India,Â 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.
In India it is believed that during an eclipse one must not wander out,Â since it is believed that the Sun is swallowed up by the demon. Pregnant women,Â especially,Â must stay indoors in order to ensure that their babies are not born with any deformities. In fact,Â pregnant women are often not allowed to sew or cut vegetables during an eclipse. Some families avoid cooking and eating altogether during an eclipse. However, the reason behind some of these superstitions can be scientific. For example, one should actually avoid going out during an eclipse in order to keep away from the harmful UV rays.
In IndiaÂ menstruating women are considered impure and unclean. This,Â of course,Â gives rise to many superstitious beliefs. Women who are menstruating are not allowed to enter the kitchen. They are also supposed to stay away from temples,Â mosques and all religious spots in the house itself. A woman on her period is not allowed to perform regular household duties like cooking food. Some might argue that the reason behind this superstition is scientific,Â and that a woman menstruating loses a lot of blood and thus becomes weak and must refrain from strenuous activities. Others claim that there is nothing scientific in this belief and it is just another superstition created to subordinate the position of women in society.
During old times,Â mirrors were not cheap and they were low quality and easily defected. In order to avoid negligence it was told that breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. That was simple scare tactic. Romans were the one who tagged to the broken mirror a sign of seven years bad luck. The length of the prescribed misfortune came from the ancient Roman belief that it took seven years for life to renew itself. If the person looking into the mirror were not of good health,Â their image would break the mirror and the run of bad luck would continue for the period of seven years,Â at the end of which their life would be renewed,Â their body would be physically rejuvenated,Â and the curse would be ended.
Superstitious belief goes like this:Â Alakshmi,Â 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.Â Alakshmi likes sour, pungent and hot things. Therefore at the door,Â Alakshmi will only come up to the door and eat her favorite food and satisfy her hunger and leave without entering the shop.Â It is believed that after consuming lemon and green chillies,Â Alakshmi loses her urge to enter the house or shop. She will turn around without casting her viciousÂ eye.
Scientific Reason: Â 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.Â This is a simple pesticide which came into practice from ancient times,Â which is mislead now superstitiously as explained above.
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,Â whichÂ could be dangerous to open. In fact,Â 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"Â considering the injuries and broken objects,Â which often coincided with the umbrella's opening.
In past days a large portion of the Indians were farmers. After a week of hard work,Â Monday was their resting day. Characteristically majority of them cleaned their homes and cut their hair on that day. So the Barber wouldn't have much deal with Tuesdays and would close his shop. This practice is continued till date but the reason behind it is completely forgotten and lot misconceptions revolve around this.
In ancient times,Â 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,Â hyenas and jackals foxes. These animals have glowing eyes and scare the cows,Â horses or the bulls that pull the carts. That is why the travelling 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.