Does this dialogue below sound familiar?
Dad was getting ready to go out. Son asks,”Appa, yenggeh poringgeh? Dad slaps his left hand on forehead and wails,”Aiyoyo, kelembum bothu ipdi kekriye, poreh kariyam urupatta maari than.”
Welcome to our myth and superstition laden culture while we gloat that we are modern and progressive.
The significance of asking a person where they are going when they are about to head out of home is, if asked like that, the purpose of their interest outside the house will not be successful. The same goes to it when a cat passes by when one is going out and in those days, seeing a widow before going out also held the same effect. It is said that if one sees the face of a naari (fox) before leaving the house as well as seeing a cow, whatever one intends to do, it will be successful. Ippo naari eh enggeh poyi thedurathu?
Cannot cut fingernails and cannot sweep house at night.
This one is very common. In those days, there were no electricity and light bulbs; illumination at night came from kerosene lamps and candle light. The lights were dim and if one cuts fingernails under the flickering light, they risk cutting their fingers. As for sweeping, since there was little light, the chore will not be thorough, ergo this prohibition which of course is now, redundant.
Cannot buy things and receive/give money on Tuesdays and Fridays.
This is observed on the basis that money exchange on the mentioned days will make money not stay in the house. Again, this is an ancient belief dating way back to the days where banks didn’t exist. This is not applicable in present – if money exchange is stopped on Tuesdays and Fridays, the stock market and economy and banking systems will be crippled. In Vaasthu Shastra, in order to better one’s financial status, one person in the family should buy salt every Friday without fail for 27 weeks. My mom does this religiously and there is some improvement. So, it won’t be fallacious to postulate that this belief is opposed in polarization.
It’s bad luck if other people praise you, drishti and evil eye.
Ever had your grandmother or mother asking you to spit three times into a fistful of salt after they perform a merry go round hand movement from the top to toe of you? It is especially done if you have received praise and if you go to functions like weddings all dressed and dolled up as well as when you return home after a long time. Dhrishti will be taken in order for all the eyes which cast evil upon you would be removed. Sometimes, dried red chilies and your dropped hair will be burnt in a coconut shell along with the salt. If noxious fumes don’t emit from the flames, it is believed that the intensity of the dhrishti is high. A whole ash gourd, better known as winter melon or saambar or kalyana poosanika will be hanged at the top of the veranda during housewarming ceremonies. It is believed that the faster the ash gourd rots and shrinks, the more negative vibes it absorbed, shielding the bad energy from hitting the house’s residents. Also, dhrishti bommai or mirrors will be hanged at the frontyard to expel evils from entering the home.
Pregnant women should be idle when there is eclipse.
It is believed that eclipse rays can harm the fetus and as such pregnant women should not go out during solar or lunar eclipse. Lots of other rituals are followed to protect the unborn baby and pregnant woman during solar or lunar eclipse. It is also believed that if pregnant women do work, especially cutting vegetables and sewing during eclipse, their baby will be born with a cleft palate, extra flesh growth at the ears and have extra digits or born with deformities and congenital diseases. It is said that the Kethu and Sani influence is greatest during eclipses.
Itchy palms means money is on the way.
There is no valid reasons or proof to substantiate this. Maybe a fellow had a lottery windfall when his palms were itchy, and he spread his belief. But, to have money coming when palms itch is as a long shot as winning the lottery – 1 in a million. Working palms are more likely to bring one money than itchy palms.
Should not take bath, sweep and mop house immediately after visiting guests leave.
In a house where there has been a funeral, after the coffin is taken out, the family members of the deceased would immediately take bath, sweep, clean and mop the house. Keeping that in mind, it is underscored that doing all that promptly after the departure of guests, especially family and extended kin, might make them get into some life threatening trouble like accidents.
And then, there are some really funny superstitions:
– Should not take any pins/needles from the hand of another person. The object should be put down on a surface then taken. If taken from hand, the two people are destined to fight.
– Should not cross a person who is lying down on the floor – one should walk around the person, not over them. If you take the bypass then a boil would rise on your butt. Soothuleh katti. 😛
– Should not snap a threesome photo – if it is done so, the 3 persons are bound to separate. I think this is an urban legend.
– Should not shake legs/talk/read while eating. No one follows this nowadays; our faces will be stuck on smartphones when we eat or even shit.
– Should not stretch out on bed; it denotes laziness. Even the Tamil term for this, sombel murithal suggests sluggishness
Most superstitions are boogeymen – poochandi, told to scare us as children and we carry it to adulthood. On why pins with sharp points are told to be laid on ground before picking up is because if given hand to hand, it might prick the fingers. It is impolite and crude to cross over people or babies lying down so our elders say that crossing people over would end in a pain in your backside. If we talk/read/shake legs while eating, the food we eat might get off course – going into the esophagus, causing respiratory convulsions. Poreigh yeridum nu solluvangge. Saapte saapadu, mooku valiya varum or food morsels would get stuck in your sinus cavities.
We have a rich culture but culture should progress with times. There are many more superstitions I can mention but it will sound drawn out thus me stopping at this. We are living in the science age so we should wise up and treat superstitions as they are, SUPERSTITION albeit some having relevance. It is best to tell things as they are to our children, not confuse and scare them up with unfounded myths and superstitions.