A black cat or even a cat crossing our way when we get out on an important work will bring failure, a widow taking part in an auspicious occasion like, receiving a newly wedded couple is bad omen or seeing a single `mynah’ is bad omen bringing sad hours or having a lot of saffron will make the newborn fairer or diseases are curses of gods and so on. All these are superstitions prevalent in our society. Today, science has reduced these wrong notions but we still find such beliefs in very conservative population and the rural villages.
Some superstitions existing today did exist even long ago but some superstitions are very personal- like, some are superstitious about wearing a particular dress of a particular colour during important occasions, some are superstitious about particular number and use them or choose them.
Superstitions or blind beliefs must have come because of the fear of the unknown, the unexplicable or due to ignorance, during the evolution of different civilizations. Some of the superstitions do have a reason though, if we analyze. Like, selling a sewing needle or borrowing it after dusk is not acceptable even now. (The shopkeepers here still follow it). The reason may be to discourage stitching after dusk when it is less lit (keeping those days in mind) to avoid little accidents. We have heard our grandmother say not to talk about the next day’s plan or work after dinner- especially to the children of the house. The reason probably must be to discourage delays to go to bed or to simply shut their mouth! Children today will not stop before asking some tough questions to dear grandma! !
Some of the superstitions which caused harm to the people and society at large though not believed to a large extent are still found in the illiterate population. There are people who encourage & spread superstitions to cheat people in villages.
Every culture has superstitious beliefs and they vary from culture to culture. Some of the beliefs are based on religious practices. Though the Catholic Church doesn’t encourage superstitious beliefs, walking under a ladder and `Friday 13th’ is believed to bring bad luck. Blowing out all candles in a single blow and making a wish will make it true. In India, pregnant women are told to avoid going out during eclipse, spilling mustard seeds may results in quarrel between husband and wife and so on.
Most superstitions or blind beliefs are not based on reason. They are related to things or events which are not fully understood by man. They are simply passed on & people follow it blindly.