Wednesday, 2 November 2016

12 Superstitions around the world



- Contributed by Salil Naik


Indians are superstitious and many still believe in a lot of superstitions, be they living in the big metropolitan cities and more so in small towns and villages. It’s not just Indians, but all over the world, people are superstitious and believe in superstitions. These superstitions have been passed on from generations. The new generation with modern education, different outlook and beliefs tend to ignore these superstitions, but many a times they too believe in it.

Every country has its traditions and stories. Among them are superstitions, which influence culture more than you think. Some are good practices, such as not opening an umbrella indoors, or like in India its considered bad to cut nails after sunset, while others make little sense, like spitting when a black cat crosses your path or crossing your fingers while walking past or under a ladder or like in India its inauspicious if a cat crosses your path.  Although people claim to be less superstitious these days, the rituals haven’t completely gone away.


Here are 12 of the more bizarre ones from all over the world that are still prevalent.

Brazilians do not leave bags on the floor -
Leaving your bag on the floor is considered very bad luck in Brazil. It is believed that if you let your bag or wallet hit the ground, you will lose money.


The French step on poop -
In France, it is believed that stepping on dog poop with your left foot will bring you luck, while stepping on poop with your right foot will bring misfortune. Perhaps, this is why it is not a widely practiced custom for the French to pick up after their dogs.


Koreans never sleep with fans in a closed room -
In South Korea, locals believe that sleeping in a closed room with a fan running will kill you. This phenomenon is called Fan Death and has even lead to electric fans being made with shut-off timers.




Egyptians fear and revere scissors -
In Egypt, it’s considered bad luck to open and close scissors without cutting something. It is even worse luck if you leave them open. Conversely, they do believe scissors bring some good as there is also a popular belief that scissors kept under a pillow can cure a person of nightmares.


Rwandan women avoid goat meat -
In Rwanda, there is a widespread belief that eating goats’ meat causes you to grow a beard and women are traditionally discouraged.


Vermont homes have slanted windows -
You’ll find that many farmhouses built in the 19th century in New England and specifically Vermont, have slanted windows. It was commonly believed that witches would not be able to fly on their brooms into your home if the window was built at an angle.


Chinese avoid the number 4 -
In China, the number 4 is widely feared due to its similar pronunciation of the word for death. This number and numbers in combination with it (14, 24, 34 etc.) are considered so unlucky they are not used in addresses, phone numbers and building floors.



Vietnamese students skip bananas -
In Vietnam students hoping to excel at school avoid eating bananas. In Vietnamese, the words for "slip" and "fail" are similar and because bananas are associated with slipperiness and students look for other healthy snacks.


The Japanese hide their stomachs during thunderstorms -
Japanese children are told to cover or hide their stomachs during thunderstorms. It is believed that if you do not take care of this, the god of thunder, Raijin, will come after you and try to eat your belly button.


Touch red in Greece
The Greek equivalent of jinx is called piase kokkino which means "touch red". Whenever two people say the same thing at the same time, they need to say piase kokkino and touch something red.


The Turkish worry about nightfall -
In Turkey, there are several activities avoided at night because of superstition. Gum is not chewed as it is believed you are actually chewing the flesh of the dead. Whistling is also avoided because it might call the devil. Nails are not cut as it might shorten your life, and sweeping is avoided because it is believed to cause poverty.


The Swedes jump over manholes -
In Sweden, you might encounter pedestrians wary of walking over manholes. The country’s manhole covers are marked with either “K”, representing fresh water and love or “A” representing sewage and broken love. Some Swedes believe that your romantic fortune is determined by which manhole covers you step over.








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Picture Post:
Velankani Church, Tamil Nadu, India.
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