Lies that we may believe/tell part 2 (superstitions)

If a black cat crosses your way

It’s bad luck

If you walk under a ladder

It’s bad luck

If you break a mirror

It’s bad luck

Friday the 13th

It’s bad luck

A four-leaf clover

It’s good luck

I think that superstition can be one category of lies. Some superstitions are not really lies, rather they are a morphed version of the truth.

The reasons why these superstitions became famous and were believed blindly may be because of several logical explanations.

These superstitions may have stemmed from daily occurrences which people believed blindly. For instance, a black cat crossing your path may be bad luck because cats were supposedly witches but a totally logical explanation could be that many a time, people would be scared of a black cat at night because they blend with the darkness of the night and their eyes may illuminate and scare people. Maybe they would fall or they would meet with an accident. Moreover, there were no street lights in the dark, which means that these accidents would be more likely. So maybe that’s why people were told that a black cat crossing your path is bad luck. But nowadays with street lights, torches, and better understanding, this is more of a falseness.

Walking under a ladder came about centuries ago when people (in England) drank ale at lunch and drunken painters and handyman would likely drop a bucket of paint if you walk under the ladder.

Broken mirrors were expensive at one time and once a maid broke it and she was sentenced to 7 years in prison. The superstition may have stemmed from this incident. Moreover, if you break a mirror, you may hurt yourself with the broken shards.

The reason that Friday 13th, in particular, is unlucky is due to the massacre of the Knights Templar by Phillip IV of France on Friday the 13th.

Maybe in the future, we would hear stuff which we would term as superstitions but our kids would say that we are lying.

So I think that many of the superstitions stemmed from a drop of truthfulness which was stretched out until the modernity of the current era and many of them are outdated.

Some superstitions are also based on people’s beliefs.

A four-leaf clover is rare. The chance that a person finds one is 1 in 10000. Additionally, it is believed that Eve took one when she was cast out of the Garden of Eden to remind her of the lushfulness of paradise.

Cross your fingers to wish for good luck. One theory of this is that during the Hundred Years War between France and England, archers would cross their fingers before pulling the bow string in order to grant them good luck. Before that, it was also a secret sign between members of Christianity (when it was illegal).

Saying bless you when someone sneezes. This comes from a plague that was spreading in 590 A.D. Italy where most people who sneezed would die. The pope urged others to bless such people and pray for them that they might become better.

The number 4 is deemed as bad luck in China because in Chinese the number 4 is si which is the same pronunciation for the word death in Chinese.

Some of my personal experiences include some very weird ones.

I remember my mother telling me not to cut my nails indoors, or after 6 (when it gets dark), and on certain days because it is bad luck. This could be because nails contain bacteria and it could be unhygienic if cut inside. Given also that there was no electricity in the past, it would have been foolish to cut nails after dark as the chances of hurting oneself would be rather high. And people may have told the young ones that it’s bad luck and this continued from generation to generation.

I remember washing my hair on a Saturday and my aunt would reprimand me for doing so as it is bad luck. Later my mother would tell me oh that’s alright if you wash your hair on one Saturday but it is bad luck if you wash it on 7 consecutive Saturdays.
WHAT? According to Hindu mythology, washing your hair can either be good or bad, depending on the days you wash them and according to your beliefs.

I remember sometimes I would put younger cousin to sit on the table, and my elders would tell me to put her down because otherwise, she will become stubborn. Or if she sits on the table and swings her legs while on the table, bad luck will come her way. This could again be a matter of cleanliness, and hygiene. People eat and write at a table. If there is food or ink or papers, first the person’s clothes may be soiled and then if they swing their feet, they could injure themselves or someone passing near the table.

Sometimes, when my eye would twitch or blink super fast, my mother or father would tell me that something good will happen or something bad will happen, depending on the eye that flickers. But I never remember which eye it is that is good luck πŸ˜› A very plausible explanation could be that my eyes are tired from focusing too much on a laptop or mobile screen or watching too much tv.

If a bird poops on you, go buy a lottery or try your hand at games, you will be lucky. According to this website, a bird dropping poo on you is statistically very low (1 in a billion), which is almost the same as winning the lottery.

If you used an umbrella inside, you will remain the same height for the rest of your life, which is a variation of the one in Western countries which says that opening an umbrella inside is bad luck. This may be because one might hurt someone when opening an umbrella indoors.

Some superstitions stem from a drop of truth, some from people’s beliefs and some from wanting to protect others and act as a shield to prevent other accidents and incidents from happening.

These are the link to some WordPress bloggers’ articles on superstitions:

Aphorism with Abhishek

Otaku Lounge – 10 Japanese superstitions

Hunida’s blog

Here is the link to a poem that I wrote for

I come across

Some more links if you are interested:

Logical explanations for superstitions

Four-leaf clover superstition

Umbrella superstition – Are you feeling lucky?Mths about hair wash in Hinduism


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