India is a country full of traditions that we blindly follow without even questioning them. These traditions and customs were made by our ancestors based on certain logic. And, we associate those traditions to good & bad without knowing their actual reasons. Our ancestors were smart enough. But we are not.
Anyways, here are some Indian superstitions and the possible logical explanations behind them.
1. Never chew tulsi leaves – just swallow
Logical explanation: It is believed that Tulsi is Goddess Lakshmi’s avatar and hence one should not chew it. While tulsi leaf is healthy for our body, but it contains some amount of arsenal which leads to degradation of enamel and causes the teeth to become yellow. Hence, chewing is not recommended.
2. Haircut on Tuesdays is not good.
Superstition: Tuesday is an auspicious day according to Hindu religion as it is the day of Lord Hanuman who was Lord Rama Devotee, Incarnate of Lord Shiva and best friend of Lord Shani.
Logical Explanation: India is an agriculture economy and most of its population is employed in agriculture and farming. So, in the old days, farmers used to work hard in the field till Sundays. Hence, they would get their haircut and other cosmetic jobs done on Mondays. So, Tuesday is a holiday for barbers and salons after working for the rest of week.
3. Breaking mirror brings seven years of bad luck
Logical Explanation: During ancient days, mirrors were considered to be expensive and easily breakable. Therefore, they started to associate it with bad luck. The Romans, along with the Greek, Chinese, African and Indian cultures, believed that a mirror had the power to confiscate part of the user’s soul. If the user’s reflected image became distorted in any way, this could mean a corruption of his or her soul.
4. Falling lizard on human is bad luck
Logical explanation: Lizard releases dangerous and poisonous chemicals which can affect human beings. Therefore, if it falls on humans or any food could be dangerous because of its chemicals.
5. Don’t go near Peepal tree during night
Logical Explanation: Most plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen during the day (photosynthesis) and inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide during the night (respiration).Our ancestors probably knew the process of photosynthesis and respiration and effects of inhaling carbon dioxide during the night. And therefore, it is recommended not to go near plants during the night.
6. Using Lemon and green chillies avoids you from buri nazar
Logical Explanation: Both are rich in different vitamins and thus our ancestors tried to propagate their usage through few symbols during ceremonies and it is also said that The cotton thread which is used to hang the chillies and lemon absorbs the acid from the fruit when it is fresh. This smell keeps the pests and insects away from the shops. This is a simple pesticide which came into practice from olden days which slowly turned into a tradition or superstition.
7. If a black cat crosses your way. Better you Stay back.
Logical Explanation: In ancient period, people used to travel by bullocks carts for long distances with the light of kerosene. The carriage animals get past big cats like leopards, jackals foxes etc. These animals have glowing eyes and scare the cows, horses or the bulls that pull the carts.That is why the travelling people stay back nearby and help the animals refresh themselves before they pull the carts for the long journey ahead without any painful journey & stress.
8. Having curd and sugar before going out.
Logical Explanation: It keeps you cool. Curd, when combined with sugar provides instant glucose and keeps you energetic throughout the day.
9. Sweeping the floor during evenings brings bad luck
Logical Explanation: When we sweep during the night we may sweep off important documents or something precious. Slowly, it got associated with bad luck.
10. Don’t cut nails after sunset
Logical Explanation: When we cut nails during the night or when there is no light, it’s sharpness might not damage us physically. That’s why it is recommended not to cut nails during the night.
11. Taking bath after funeral
Logical Explanation: In old days, there were no vaccinations against hepatitis, smallpox and other contagious diseases. Hence, our ancestors came with the ritual of taking the bath in order to avoid any infection and disease that might affect us as a result of getting closer to the body.
12. Pregnant women not allowed to go out during Eclipse
Logical Explanation: The UV rays during eclipse are so strong and may affect the baby in mother’s womb. Therefore, it’s not good for a woman to go out during the eclipse.
13. Menstruating woman is not allowed inside temple
Logical Explanation: During menstruation period, a woman faces a lot of pain, stress and becomes weak. Therefore, in the old days it was recommended for a woman not to go outside of the house. Slowly this became a ritual and degraded to the form of a superstition.
14. Twitching of the eye is inauspicious
Logical Explanation: Twitching Of left eye is good for women and right is good for men is commonly believed in India. It has nothing to do with luck.
15. Adding a rupee to gift sum is auspicious
Logical Explanation: Adding one to the gift sum makes it odd and indivisible which is a good omen. Second Logic could be if the rupee is not added the sum total will be divisible or it will end in zero which signifies the end, so adding the rupee will make the number odd hence guaranteeing continuity.
16. Crows are referred as our ancestors
Logical Explanation: In Hindu mythology, it was said that, once Jayant the Son of God Indra, disguised in the form of crow and hurts Seeta. Immediately God Rama took hay and used it as an arrow and parted one of the eyes of Jayant. After realizing his mistake, Jayant asked for forgiveness to God Rama , then Rama forgave him and blessed him with a boon that when food is offered to the crows that will reach the ancestors.
17. Touch Wood
Logical Explanation: This expression comes from an ancient belief that good spirit lived in trees. So by touching or knocking on wooden thing you are calling on the spirits for protection.