Yesterday my brother had to go out with his friends and he wanted to get a haircut but my mother told him not to get it done because it was a Tuesday. We all might have come across such situations in our life, haven’t we? A black cat crossed your path and you cannot go for that very important meeting your business depends on. Snakes die every year since they were fed milk on Nag Panchami. My mother was searching for a one-rupee coin to give it to my brother at his wedding.
Wikipedia defines superstition as ” a widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief.” Superstitions have no logical explanations when looked upon. They are to be taken and believed without asking any questions. Has anybody given a thought to this as to why superstitions came into existence? Why are they to be believed? What started these superstitions?
Well, all the superstitions do not have a logical explanation but some definitely have a relation with the older times. So here I would like to give a penny for my thoughts and tell some logic behind those very well known superstitions we have believing in.
#1: Nails should not be cut after sunset
We all might have come across this one some day or the other. Our mothers and grandmothers telling us to cut nails during the daytime. School going children have to cut their nails and if you forgot to cut them during the day then be ready for the punishment on the next day since after it gets dark you are not allowed to cut nails.
The reason for this had been found out way back, that is the time when electricity was not discovered. People used to cut their nails whenever they get free time. At nights since there were no electricity people used to hurt themselves in the process of cutting their nails. The elders then advised the people to cut their nails during day time so that people do not hurt themselves. This trend went on even after electricity was discovered. Our elders have taken a safety measure as a superstition, isn’t it?
#2: Do not cross the path after a black cat
This is heard by all of us. Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine and she told me how she went for shopping and a black cat crossed the road. That day they faced a lot of trouble while shopping like she lost her bag and then her money fell off. My friend blamed the poor cat for what happened to her. When a cat is crossing the path before you cross it the cat is going somewhere.
There was this thing in olden times when people used to travel in carts. The domestic animals like bullocks and cows used to pull the carts. The animals were scared of wild cats such as leopards and cheetahs. While passing through forest area when wild cats used to come in front of the cats it used to frighten the cows and bullocks. They were trained by their masters that they should not cross the path if a wild cat crosses it. After that people started believing that even if a black cat crosses their path it will bring ill luck to them. Poor cats were blamed for ill luck.
What happened with my friend was just misfortune I guess.
#3: Taking a bath is must once you attend a funeral and come back home
When a person goes for attending a funeral and before he steps into his house he is expected to take a bath. It is believed that if a person does not take a bath another death takes place in the family.
The logic behind this superstition is basic biology.When a person dies the dead body starts getting decomposed. As a result, the person attending the funeral is exposed to a lot of germs and chemicals present in the air. So for hygienic purposes, the person should take bath after coming back from the funeral.
#4: Not cutting hair on Tuesdays
If you have to attend a party on Wednesday get your hair cut in advance since a day before haircut will not be possible. Mothers never allow us to go for haircuts on Tuesdays.
Earlier agriculture was the prime occupation of the people. Their weekday rest day was Monday. So all the farmers used to cut their nails and get their hair cut on Monday. As a result Tuesday business was down for barbers, as a result they kept their shops closed on Tuesdays. This was just so that the barbers can get their rest day. This tradition is followed till date without any explanation to it.
Now we have explanations to some of the well-known superstitions. Don’t we? Keep in mind that nothing should be followed without understanding the reason behind it. I hope we will tell this to our mothers and grandmothers. There are many superstitions but some with proper logic have been explained.