Superstitions! I‘m sure most of us have had Grandma warn us of doom whenever we try to whistle a tune at night or decide to get the bathroom a new mirror. I’ve definitely had my fair share of mumbo jumbo warnings, as I was a clumsy child, and have more than once, broken mirrors of many shapes and sizes. But anyway, all has been well. And those seven years of bad luck? I think reaching puberty and having a hectic school life is already bad luck! Anyway, I digress.
Determining the origins of superstitions will take us back to a time when our ancestors tried to decipher weird circumstances or events with the little knowledge they had. Scientists have run countless experiments to discover the truth behind rituals, and each experiment has proven that these superstitions are as mythical as a unicorn. Still, people tend to fear and dread Friday the 13th, the number 13, black cats and the sound of crows. People use black magic, lucky charms, mantras and any kind of prayers to get rid of bad luck or loneliness in their lives.
Why are there still many people who believe in superstitions? The brain believes whatever it wants to believe, and sometimes, this is where superstitions fit into the mould, no matter how ridiculous they are. However, some say that superstitions are a good way to teach children to be more obedient.
One of the more common superstitions we’ve heard is if a black cat crosses in front of you, you’ll get bad luck for the rest of the day. On the other hand, if you and another person break a turkey wishbone (it looks like an inverted ‘y’) while making a wish, the person holding the larger piece will have their wish come true.
I kind of like this one: If your left palm itches, scratch it on wood, and you will be sure to receive money. If your right palm itches, do not scratch it at all or you will lose money. This superstition has the most variations and, sadly, most of them are the total opposite of one another. Now tell me, how can this be true?
A superstition that my overly superstitious mother has shared with me has to do with the opening of an umbrella in the house,. It brings ‘visitors’ and bad luck to you. There is a bit of truth here. As we all know, umbrellas have pointy ends that can get into one’s eye and cause damage. It also makes the living room look a little unflattering, no?
These beliefs and rituals are all part of human nature, which makes it harder to let go. As with everything, there are two ways to look at superstitions. First, they guide us towards luck and give us a sense of security, and secondly, we all want some wonder in our otherwise mundane lives. All in all, we should all be sceptical when it comes to spending money on petty beliefs to avoid getting cheated, and we should practise critical thinking.