Superstitions and old wives’ tales are a prominent part of our lives, no matter how much you deny it. Even if you don’t consider yourself a superstitious person, you probably say “God bless you” whenever someone sneezes, and cross your fingers every time you wish for something. We know superstitions are not logical at all but then don’t we all love the idea of luck and magic?!
Here are some common superstitions that we knowingly or unknowingly use in everyday life. Let’s discover the source of these 13 common superstitions.
Don’t we all have a habit of saying touchwood every time we wish for something nice to happen in the future?! It’s generally done to ward of evil or to prevent a jinx. But to find out where this tradition comes from is a long debated argument with a few plausible theories.
One explanation is that the tradition was derived from the Pagans who thought that trees were the homes of fairies, spirits and other mystical creatures and, if in need of a favour, a person could politely mention this wish to a tree and then touch the bark. Another theory by Christian communities suggests that by touching wood, you are touching the wood of the holy cross.
2. A groom seeing his bride before the wedding is a bad omen
This ancient tradition has been followed for centuries but no one really knows the reason behind it. While some say that doing so would lead to misfortune to the groom and his family, others say that the couple’s marital life goes for a toss. The origin of this tradition, however, is a little disturbing. History suggests that fathers would offer money to men in order for them to marry their daughter known as ‘dowry’. It was often thought that the couple would not meet until the big day and to prevent the groom from fleeing from the altar if he changed his mind upon seeing his bride-to-be, she would be veiled until vows were exchanged. Sad!
3. Fingers crossed
Universally, it’s a sign of wishing for something. However, there are many theories about its origin. As per the old wives’ tale, crossed fingers were used as a gesture to ward off witches and other evil spirits. Another theory was that at a time when Christianity was illegal, crossing fingers was a secret way for Christians to recognise each other.
Also see – Ten Most Amazing Facts You Will Ever Come Across
4. Saying ‘God Bless You’ after someone sneezes
Are you one of those who has a habit of saying ‘God Bless You’ every time somebody sneezes around you? Well, if you are, have you ever wondered why you do that? The phrase “God bless you” is attributed to Pope Gregory the Great, who used to say it to people who sneezed during the plague. Another belief that originated about this phrase was that the soul escapes the body during a sneeze and the heart momentarily stops. Therefore, saying “God bless you” was a way of welcoming the person back to life.
5. Bird’s poop equals riches
The idea of someone’s excreta falling on you, even if it’s a bird, is of course, disgusting, but many people around the world believe that if a bird poops on you, good things are coming your way. It’s said to be a sign of major wealth coming from heaven, based on the belief that when you suffer an inconvenience you’ll have good fortune in return!
6. Spilling of salt should be avoided
Spilling of salt is considered to be a really bad omen and is said to bring about bad luck. According to folklore, salt was an expensive commodity and people back then linked it to unlucky omens only to prevent wasteful behaviour. Really smart, eh?
7. Make a wish when you see a falling star (shooting star)
Legend has it that wishing upon a shooting star makes the wish come true. It is believed to have originated in Europe, when Greek astronomer Ptolemy claimed that, out of curiosity, or even boredom, God peered down at the earth from between the spheres, and stars sometimes slipped out of this gap, becoming visible as shooting or falling stars. Since the Gods are already looking at us at such a time, they tend to be more receptive to any wishes we make. Surreal, isn’t it? But then what’s the harm in making a wish? You never know, it might get fulfilled!
8. Breaking a glass/mirror
Every time I unintentionally break glass, I hear my mom’s shrilled voice in my head saying ‘It’s bad luck’! The funny thing is that I never bothered to find out why! It was only after researching for this story that I found out that it is believed that breaking glass brings seven years of bad luck! Many cultures including Romans, Greek, Chinese, African and Indian, believed that a mirror had the power to confiscate part of the user’s soul. The belief was that if the mirror was broken, the person’s soul would get trapped inside it!
9. Eating yogurt and sugar before stepping out of the house
This is more prominent in Indian families. Most of us have been forced by our mothers to eat a spoonful of curd and sugar before going for a difficult exam. I still remember, all through my student life, my mother used to make me eat this before every Math exam! This custom of having Dahi-Shakkar or curd with sugar before an important event has been in prevalence since the old ages. Science behind this is that curd is a coolant and a digestive agent. Sugar on the other hand, provides instant energy. This combination helps our body to maintain efficiency while performing an important task.
10. Itchy palm brings wealth
According to older beliefs, itching indicates some kind of internal energy that is moving through your palms. The right hand is supposed to be dynamic or active, and the left hand is receptive or inactive. So, an itchy right palm indicates that your energy or services are moving out. This means you are going to be paid for these services. However, an itching left palm means you are in the receptive mode and should expect new services in life. And since new services are always paid for it’s said that money will flow out. Nobody has ever been able to figure out the element of truth behind these superstitions. But still there’s no harm in being hopeful, right?
11. Four leaf clover
Touted as universal symbols of good luck, some say four-leaf clovers do exist. But they’re very hard to find. Legend says that when Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden, Eve snatched a four-leaf clover as a remembrance of her days in Paradise. Since then, lucky attributes have been assigned to all four leaves of the rare plant—each associated with St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity in Irish legend. The big question is, when will I find my four leaf clover?!
12. Stepping on brooms is inauspicious
This is another popular Indian belief that says stepping on brooms brings bad luck. According to scriptures, broom is associated with Goddess Lakshmi and prosperity as it wipes out dirt and dust from the house and helps in keeping the house clean. Therefore, stepping on it shows disrespect and invites Goddess Lakshmi’s wrath.
13. One for sorrow, two for joy
via – indiatimes