Superstitions are the illogical believes that remain inexplicable, mysterious and strange because of lack of sufficient knowledge and outlook. However, today, superstitions are on the decline because of the spread of education, reasoning and scientific advancement. Yet, they may not be wiped out from society for a long time. Even educated people have their own superstitions. Emotional doubt, religious orthodoxy, blind belief in absurd rituals, customs and practices make people an easy prey of the superstitions.
Superstitions are not limited to a specific part of the globe, people, race or community. They are universal and found all over the world in various forms. They are more common among uneducated and scientifically less advanced people and societies. Superstitions are being passed on from generations, especially through religious practices.
Belief in supernatural powers, evil spirits, ghosts and spiritual healing, etc. have their deep roots in superstitions. For example, sighting of shooting stars and comets, the fear of number 13, cries of certain birds like owls and wailing of dogs, mewing of cats. howling of jackals and braying of the ass at certain hours are still regarded as warning in many communities all over the world. When some occurrences cannot be explained and understood. people start fearing them and give them divine, spiritual and secretive roots.
In spite of advancement of science and technology, the grip of superstitions on human mind is strong. Although India has seen many fast changes, but there are some people who are superstitious and have a strong faith in the local beliefs. Most of the Indian beliefs exist under the impression of protecting them self from evil forces. These beliefs have no scientific reasoning and are unproven and false. There are many Indian beliefs that are absurd. Some people assume that Friday is not a favourable day for haircut while some think that Saturday is good for purchasing new things. Moreover, sneezing when someone is about to start work, is considered inauspicious. Likewise, the crossing of the path by a cat, especially a black one. is regarded as bad luck. Sacrifice of birds and animals to please the Gods and Goddesses is a common practice among many communities all over the world. However, besides these, there are lucky superstitions too, which are regarded as good luck and fortune.
People have actually failed to draw a line between religious faith and blind faith. We regard certain hours and days as inauspicious and thus, consult astrologers to know the lucky days and hours to start our work and journey. Similarly, the time and date of marriage are fixed according to the advice of astrologers and the positions of the planets and stars.
The need of the hour is to cultivate more and more rationality and scientific approach in things, including those that are mysterious. We must be alert and watchful so that none of the superstitions can dominate our abilities of reasoning.