So many beliefs have been passed down from generation to generation and people often follow them blindly. Indian culture and traditions are shrouded in mysticism and for many, superstitions have become a way of life. While some beliefs are seemingly harmless, some have serious ramifications. In this post, we are sharing with you 10 popular Hindu superstitions and the interesting reasons behind them.
1. Hanging of lemon and chilies at home or shop.
It is believed that Alakshmi, the god of misfortune, brings bad luck to the shop owners or business. In order not to allow her to enter the shop, people hang lemon and green chilies, tied in a thread, at the door or somewhere inside the home or shop. It is believed that after consuming lemon and chilies, Alakshmi loses her urge to enter the house or shop. Scientifically, the cotton thread, which is used to pierce the chilies and lemon together, absorbs the acid from the fruit whilst it is fresh and thus the smell of the lemon and chilies keeps the pests and insects away from the shops. This is, in fact, just a simple pesticide which came into practice from ancient times but is now believed as a superstition.
2. Sweeping the room or floor after sunset.
It is a common Hindu belief that sweeping the floor or room after sunset is bad, and hence people are not encouraged to do that. The reason behind this is that after sunset or darkness falls, there are high chances that the ornaments and other precious items will be swept away. Thus, Indian ancestors preferred to clean their house during the daytime, or when it is bright enough, in order to avoid sweeping away something important.
3. Cutting nails after sunset.
In olden days, there was no electricity and so cutting nails after sunset was considered bad as it often results in getting cuts because of darkness. Later, people came to believe that if they cut nails after sunset, the night spirits would be awakened and come in search of flesh. People were warned to get attacked, worst with death, by those evil spirits of the night if they cut nails after sunset. This belief is held as a superstition still today.
4. Eating curd and sugar before doing some important work.
The climate of Nepal highly recommends the consumption of curd, which has a cooling effect on the stomach. It is also believed that consuming sugar before setting out for an important work provides instant glucose. This combination is thus indispensable for Nepalese. Hence, their consumption has slowly linked to good luck.
5. Girls not doing certain things during menstruation period.
The first sanitary pads were invented in the year 1896, while commercial painkillers were not available before the 20th century. Before that, the stressful days of menstruation, which entail cramps and pain, were dealt with herbal medicines. Probably, women also skipped work during those days because of discomfort. However, slowly, this became a ritual and degraded to the form of a superstition.
6. Crows as their ancestors.
Crow is the vahana of Shani who represents the karmas of past. So offering food to crow is regarded as pacifying the hunger of ancestors wherever and whichever form they are reborn. It is believed that crows are being related to our ancestors since the treta yuga. As per this popular legend, once Jayant, the Son of God Indra, disguised in the form of a crow and hurt Sita. In turn, God Rama took hay and used it as an arrow and parted one of the eyes of Jayant. Realizing his mistake, Jayant asked for God Rama’s forgiveness. Rama forgave him and blessed him with a boon saying that when food is offered to the crows it will reach the ancestors.
7. Crushing head of snakes after killing them.
This superstition believes that one should crush the head of a snake after killing it otherwise its kin might find an image in its eyes and seek revenge. In fact, the reason is that a snake can bite or kiss a person even with a detached head, so in order to completely neutralize it, it is necessary to crush its head. Also, being a cold-blooded organism, even if some of its vital organs stop working, it will stay alive for hours and die a slow and painful death. So it is recommended to crush its head to give it a quick and painless death.