Origins of 8 Extremely Common Yet Absurd Superstitions


    Superstition is the excessive belief or more appropriately ‘blind faith’ in the supernatural. It is the belief in some customs, rites and rituals that are usually baseless. The pale face you have when you see a black cat on the day of an interview. Or the broad smile you have when a ladybug lands on you the same day, simply advocates your belief in these sayings. Even those people who do not believe in these omens try to stand out of the way of the bad ones. Fear? Ignorance? Let’s find out the WHY’S behind 8 common superstitions. 

     Crossing paths with a black cat


    Cats are surely cute but not so much when you cross paths with them on an important morning and God can bless you if it’s a black one! As matter of fact, Hitler….Adolf Hitler , the personification of terror, the man who took over the world single-handedly, was scared of none, but a little black kitty. But why? Well, there are more than one reasons to this superstition. Though cats have been adored for ages, some believe they are interwoven with magic and are ardent disciples of witches. It has even been said that the black ones contain the soul of Satan himself. And the rumors soon turned into beliefs when King Charles I was charged with high treason the day after his favorite black cat died.

     Never walk under a leaning ladder

    Regardless of the superstitious reasons, you should anyways avoid walking under a ladder unless you like bruises or your arch enemy is on the top of that ladder. Common sense, people!!

    The reason of this one takes a big big dive in the history books. It originates some 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. A ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle & to the Egyptians, triangles represented the trinity of the gods (as exhibited, for example, by their pyramids), and to pass through a triangle was to desecrate them. Passing trough this triangle has often been linked with terms like “soul stealing” and “tempting fate”. Well, Triangles are no longer just triangles to me.

     Hang a horseshoe on your door for good luck

    It doesn’t matter whether you live in a  bungalow worth crores or a creaky village hut. What modern architecture and house proofing couldn’t do, can be done by a simple horseshoe. Hang one on your door with the open end up and you are good to go against all evil stuff trying to bring down your paradise.

    The belief in the talismanic powers of horseshoes passed from the Greeks to the Romans, and from them to the Christians and soon the entire world went bonkers. The Greeks believed that iron had the power to shield good against evil. Also, the shape of the horseshoe which resembled the shape of the crescent moon (a symbol of good fortune) helped, further cement their beliefs. Also when witchcraft was rampant in middle ages, horseshoes came to everybody’s rescue against the witches. Some unlucky husbands might find these horseshoes handy!!!

     It’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors

    Well, this one has a couple of reasons to its origin. Just like all the other omens, once again the Egyptians are partly to be blamed here as well. But the genuine source can be traced back to 19th century Victorian England. Opening an umbrella indoors was viewed as a veritable safety hazard due to its stiff, clumsy spring mechanism. No one wants a pointed spoke to pierce your eye!!! And soon a safety measure turned into a worldwide superstition. I don’t know about bad luck. But opening an umbrella indoors definitely does not make any sense to me unless your roof’s leaking.

     Knock on wood to prevent disappointment

    Hand knocking on wood

    A big business deal about to come through or exam results out soon, a tap on wood and you are good to go. This one is definitely the most commonly observed and widely believed superstition throughout the world. But astonishingly, historians aren’t certain of its origins. However, one possible source could be an ancient religious rite of touching a crucifix when taking an oath. 

     Dreadful Number 13-A Common Superstition

    Thor’s evil brother Loki has caused more problems in Asgard than you know of. The guest list of a lavish dinner at a magnificent banquet hall in Asgard comprised of 12 people. But the grandeur of the evening was put to halt by Loki, the God of strife, raising the guest count by 1 and problems by infinity. While the other Gods resented Loki’s presence, Balder, the favorite among them, fell prey to Loki’s malevolence. The dislike of the number 13  became inevitable soon turning into triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13. What if somebody’s born on 13/X/13…..a Friday……Poor fella!!

     Wishing Upon A Shooting Star

    Firstly, shooting stars are not stars. Sounds absurd but this is true. These streaks of light are actually broken little pieces of rock and dust, which enter Earth’s atmosphere at blinding speeds. Secondly, star gazers, your wishes won’t come true by looking at a falling piece of rock. Ptolemy is to be blamed, not me.

    The reason lies in Europe. Greek astronomer Ptolemy, around AD 127-151, wrote that the Gods occasionally, out of boredom, peep down at the earth from between the spheres. Stars sometimes slip out of this gap, becoming visible as shooting or falling stars. Since the Gods are already looking at us at such a time, it’s a great time to wish for anything.

     Bird poop brings good luck

    Don’t know about good luck, but it sure gives way to a lot of disgust. Well, this one has a pretty simple theory to it without the Egyptians and Europeans being involved. The cycle of fortunes is the reason behind the good fortune on your way after getting your suit stained. Since getting shit-stained by a bird is a clear sign of your misery, something good is definitely going to happen to you. So, if you are in desperate need of money, try sitting under a pigeon.

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