India is home to many things and practices which are hard to find anywhere else on the planet e.g. dogs sleeping in ATM’s, cows with ID cards, a family of 5 on a moped, spending a life’s saving on a wedding, spa for elephants and many many more.
But one thing among others that we share with the whole world in equal amount are superstitions!
So today, we come together and try to find out what are the 13 most hip superstitions in the market today and how did they come to be.
1. You should not cut your nails at night
Back in the day, when there was no electricity or nail clippers, people used knives to trim their nails. Now, trimming nails in the dark with a knife is never a good idea. And to add to the trouble, left over nails are a pain to clean in the dark.
But now that we have nail clippers and electricity thanks to Benjamin Franklin, we can trim whatever we want at night.
2. Dogs howling at night means something bad.
As is going to be the case with some of the examples listed here, not every superstition mentioned here originated in India.
This one goes back to the Egyptians and their God of the dead named Anubis. Now, this Anubis dude had the head of canine and was associated with mummification, embalming, cemeteries, tombs and the afterlife. This lead to people believing that a howling dog was Anubis calling a soul to him.
Why do dogs actually do it?
You see, dogs have a super power to listen and smell very well. They can pick up any sounds which are inaudible to the human ear. And at night there are many tiny sounds erupting from everywhere since there isn’t any disturbance like in the daytime. The dogs pick up all these sounds and try to warn their owners or other dogs of what they perceive as danger.
3. Don’t sweep the house after sunset
Two reasons, both old-timey.
Reason #1: With no electricity people used candles, lamps or torches after dark which resulted in inefficient cleaning. There’s also the possibility that you might sweep out something valuable lying on the floor.
Reason #2: People believed that Goddess Lakshmi visits homes in the evening and finding you cleaning at the time will send her away. You wouldn’t want that to happen, now would you?
4. Receiving or giving money from your left hand
This ones very prevalent in India and can end up offending some people.
The idea is that we use right hands to do all the good things, like use tools, communicate and to eat. And for all the bad stuffs, we used left hand, things like wiping our asses and picking up trash while cleaning.
Now, coming to the money. In Hindu culture, the Goddess Laxmi is associated with wealth and so it is insulting to use the “dirty” left hand while transacting money. So there you go.
5. Unlucky Number 13
Why is 13 considered unlucky? Another fruit of the western beliefs and pop culture phenomena.
In the Bible, Judas, the guy who betrays Jesus arrives at the Last Supper as the 13th guest. Loki the god of mischief and turmoil arrived at number 13 in the guest list for a dinner party at Valhalla.
But wait, while the number 13 is considered ominous in the west it is thought to be lucky by the Hindus, Greeks and Thais. Zeus was the 13th and the most powerful God in the Greek mythos. In Hinduism, the 13th of every month is auspicious as its day dedicated to Lord Shiva. In Thailand, the 13th of April is celebrated as the beginning of the New Year.
Oh and by the way, this fear has got its own fancy sciency name – Triskaidekaphobia.
If you’re a true F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan you’ll know this word from a game played by Joey, Ross and Chandler.