In India, and other parts of the world, a lot of people tend to believe in superstitions. But the question is, how did they start? There must be some sort of logic to the superstitions that many people across the country still abide by to this day and age. We look up the scientific logic behind common superstitions.
Opening An Umbrella Inside The House
People believe that it brings bad luck to open an umbrella inside a house. But how can an umbrella be responsible for things going wrong in your life?
The truth is, back in the day, umbrellas were made with hard metal spokes and spring triggers. Opening one inside could most likely injure people or break fragile objects nearby and this is why people refrained from opening one indoors. Whenever someone did open it, it led to injuries and broken objects which was interpreted as ‘bad luck’. And therefore, down the line, opening of an umbrella indoors became associated with bad luck.
Hanging Lemon and Chillies in Business Places to Avoid Misfortune
It is believed that Alakshmi, God of misfortune brings bad luck to stores and businesses. So, store owners hang 7 chilies and a lemon to stop her from entering the establishment. It is said that Alakshmi likes sour, pungent and hot things. Therefore, Alakshmi will only come to the door, eat her favourite food, and satisfy her hunger which will make her lose the urge to enter the house or shop.
The real reason is however a little different. In ancient times, the chillies and lemon were used as DIY pesticide. The cotton thread which is used to pierce the chillies and lemon absorbs the acid from the fruit. And the smell helps keep the pests and insects away. But over the years, people have started to believe that it has something to do with misfortune.
Breaking a Mirror Brings 7 Years of Bad Luck
If you break a mirror by accident, will that mean that you will have to live with 7 years of bad luck? Most people think that is true but this superstition is scare tactic that was used in the olden times. Mirrors used to be expensive back in the day. The quality wasn’t that great which means that they would easily break. Therefore, to make people be more careful around mirrors, it was told that breaking a mirror can bring 7 years of bad luck. Actually it was the Romans who first associated mirrors with 7 years of bad luck. The length of the prescribed misfortune came from the ancient Roman belief that it took seven years for life to renew itself.
Evil Spirits Will Attack if You Cut Nails and Shave after Sunset
There are many people who refrain from cutting nails or shaving after the sun has set. It is believed that anyone who does so will be attacked by evil spirits.
Actually, the real reason why this tradition was followed by our ancestors is not because they were attacked by spirits but because they wanted to avoid nicks and cuts. Back in the day, there was no electricity and after sunset, people had to make do with oil lamps which were not very bright. If you tried to cut your nails or shave, it is most likely, that you would end up hurting yourself and that is why people refrained from cutting nails and shaving after the sun had set.
Walking under a Ladder is Bad Luck
There are many theories behind this superstition. One theory is that many Christians are believers in the Trinity; that God is made up of three parts, the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit). A ladder leaning up against a building was seen as a triangle of these three. To walk through this triangle was seen as breaking the Trinity and hence considered as bad luck.
But the simple fact behind this superstition is that it is unsafe to walk under a ladder. If you knock the ladder down while walking under it, you will not only injure yourself but will also put the safety of people standing nearby at risk.
Peepal Trees are Haunted at Night
Many people, till date, do not go near the peepal tree at night for fear of being attacked by evil spirits. But can this really be the real reason why our ancestors did not go near peepal trees at night.
Actually it is more likely that our ancestors knew that plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen during the day (photosynthesis) and inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide during the night (respiration). They also knew that it was not good for humans to inhale carbon dioxide which is why they recommended people not to go near trees at night.
A Black Cat Crossing Your Way is Bad Luck
Are all black cats evil? Do they mean you harm if they cross your path. Many believe that it’s best to take a few steps back when a black cat is crossing the path but is it because it brings bad luck, or is the real reason a bit different?
In ancient times, people used to travel by bullocks carts or horse driven carts for long distances. When carriage animals used to see big cats and their glowing eyes on the road, they used to get spooked. This is why, carriage drivers used to stop after a cat crossed the road to offer water or treats to the carriage animals to calm them down before resuming their journey.