Superstition is the belief in the supernatural as the cause and explanation for the occurrence of something. That something is in contradiction to modern science, sometimes even logic. Baffling. There are three types of superstition. The first being the result of coincidence, the second cause and effect and the final through observational learning. The ones we discuss are not your typical black cat crossing your path, Friday the 13th,
Superstition In India
Here’s a list of common Superstitions in India
1. Sati & child sacrifice
Sati is the practice of wife burning after she becomes a widow. She is forced to enter her husband’s pyre and immolate herself in that fire. Child sacrifice is also another major problem in rural India. Between 1999 and 2006, 200 cases of child sacrifice were reported from the State of Uttar Pradesh (UP) alone.
2. Astrology vs Astronomy
Astronomy is the study of the stars, and astrology is the interpretation of one’s past, present and future based on the position of certain stars in the sky (based on birth date, month, year, etc.). One is fiction, while the other is real. NASA has reiterated that astrology is pseudoscience.
3. Animal sacrifice
During a festival (Nag Panchami) in India, thousands of snakes are caught and force fed milk, which results in several thousands of snakes being killed annually. Again this contributes to the rise in prices of essential goods. Also, in lesser developed regions, people believe that being bitten by a dog will cause puppies to form in the abdomen. India skipped 2017 and went straight for the year 2473.
4. Swamis, Gurus and Godmen
These are only people too. Sometimes for the greater good, sometimes, not so much. The crimes of the Catholic church, temple priests and leaders of other religious institutions have time and again been accused of rape, money laundering, molestation, child rape, extortion, etc. In the year 2009, Santosh Madhavan, a self-proclaimed guru was arrested for child pornography, raping underaged women is just one of several cases that have been reported.
5. Vastu Compliance
Is building a house or property in a particular direction as it will bring in good luck and ward off evil spirits. China’s equivalent of Feng Shui. This is not uncommon as people in Japan have a similar fear for the number 4 and it’s considered unlucky to name a floor 14th or door number 4, etc. Same case with South Korea and the number 13. They omit the construction of the 13th floor in a building and all things related to the number 13.
Widows are considered auspicious in North India. Mostly in the same places (such as UP) where female infanticide rates are sky high. Vrindavan (town) is an example of this superstition as it houses more than 5,000 widows abandoned by their families. People also consider it inauspicious to see a widow first thing in the morning.
7. Menstruation and Masturbation
The sexual taboos of the country with the second largest population is quite ironic. Menstruating women are not allowed in temples. Masturbation can cause impotence and lead to health problems. The notions people attach with sexuality in India is astonishing. Sexpert is a daily column in Mirror newspapers that address questions with respect to sexuality and sex and tries to educate the population. Do read the 10 most outrageous questions asked on sexpert.
8. Witch hunts
Not quite like Harry Potter. Widows and divorcees again make the perfect targets for witch hunts. The deeper reason is for financial gain and property robbing. From 2008 to 2013, 768 women had been murdered for allegedly practicing witchcraft in India. In 2013, a couple was hacked to death by people in the streets of Assam. In the same year, a mother was murdered and her daughter was raped for practicing witchcraft in Chhattisgarh.
9. The idol that drank milk
Idol worship is pretty prominent in India. Two incidents, in particular, come to mind. In 1995, when an idol reportedly drank the milk offered to it. It was actually capillary action causing milk mixed with red dye to be absorbed. Everyone was trying to feed their idols with milk which led to a shortage of milk and soaring milk prices.
10. The statue that wept
In 2012, a Christ Statue in Mumbai started weeping and people considered it to be holy water, started drinking it and storing it. Sanal Edamaruku investigated the statute and found faulty leaks of drainage water. He accused the church of miracle mongering and the church filed a case against Sanal accusing him of hate speech towards religion. A case was booked against Sanal and he has been living in Finland ever since.