What is superstition? Is superstition real or not? Can I get addicted to superstition? Am I even obsessed with one already? What are the common superstitions? I know you want to know these things about superstition and a lot more. Well, this article will help you have a better understanding of superstition and a proper in-depth knowledge into this topic.
However, before we go deep into what superstition is all about, you may want to know if superstition is a form of religion. Well, NO superstition is not a religion of any sort. You may also want to know if everyone on earth believes in superstition. The answer is NO. Not everyone believes in superstition. This means a larger percentage of the world population may fall in the category of those who believe in superstition, while the lesser percentages are those who do not believe and it may also be vice versa.
What then is superstition? It is a form of belief or practice of some activities as a result of ignorance or fear that not believing or practicing such activities may bring bad fortune.
It can also be a belief in the possibility or the supernatural. It can also be said to be a conviction about a notion that is not true, but remains a conviction because of the fear of the unknown. In other words, those who believe in superstition because they would rather not risk having a bad outcome as a result of their uncertainty, they would not take chances. If it’s the other way around, if the outcome of the superstition is proposed well, they would take their chances in case it comes out good or in the assurance that it will turn out good. While the remaining people who don’t believe in superstition would not acknowledge any kind of superstition because to them, it is not real.
Many people believe in superstition because of fear of what they don’t know, in search of good luck and simply ignorance. Not everyone bothers to take time to search if a superstition is true or not. In the case of passed on tradition and heritage, a lot of people believe in superstitions with no real explanation.
IS SUPERSTITION REAL OR NOT?
This question has remained one of the most asked questions with bare a confirmed answer. As a result of the vast cultures and countries around the world, superstition is one of the uncertain beliefs in the world. According to countries and cultures, there are various ways these people perceive superstition. What is considered as a superstition in a certain culture is considered a lie in another culture and vice versa? These cultures have played a lot of impact in making people believe in superstition because these cultures are taught from one younger generation to another to preserve the heritage of the culture.
One thing that is for sure is that most of these superstitions are some sort of guideline that should be followed in other to avoid a bad outcome or in the good sense, it is to keep the people on hoping for pleasant things to happen and stay positive. For instance, in the Yoruba culture it is said that if you do your laundry at night, it will rain on your wedding day.
Well, no one would like to have rainfall on their wedding day-day, so they will rather not do their laundry at night. But after an extensive research, it was explained that the reason why you should avoid doing laundry at night is because you will not be sure if the cloth washed is clean or not.
There is also a superstition that when you want to go visit a person at home and on the way you hit your left foot on a stone, you will not meet the person at home or you will not get a good response from the person. In other words, that is bad luck. Well, I am sure that a lot of people have been in a situation such as this one, and they have had good results or bad results. It is not depending on whether they hit their left foot on a stone.
DOES YOUR BELIEVE REINFORCE SUPERSTITION?
The most common western superstitions are said to be:
• Friday the 13th is bad luck
• A black cat crossing your path is bad luck
Is this true or not? Let ” s see how belief affects superstition. What is believed? Believe is an assurance that something is real especially with no proof. Whether or not you have a piece of evidence, you are strongly convinced that it is true, that is what belief is. Believing in something engages the mind to partake in the creation of scenarios in our lives. The mind is like a powerhouse where thoughts and information such as superstitious words are processed to give a result. The result may be you believe in what you have heard and processed in your mind or you not believing at all.
Believe will reinforce superstition when you accept that a superstition is real. For a superstition to happen, then it means you believe in it consciously or by chance. When a superstition predominates your thoughts and you believe it, your mind will begin to mould your actions and reactions towards such superstitions. Not believing in superstition is one way to confirm, that you believing in superstition, will reinforce it.
10 COMMON SUPERSTITIONS AROUND THE WORLD
• In Japan, it is said that you should never stick in your chopsticks straight down into your food because it looks like the unlucky number 4 which represents death.
• Whistling in Nigeria when the sun is up and brightly shinning will draw a snake to you.
• In Russia, you are not to wish someone a happy birthday earlier than the main day. It is considered to bring bad luck.
• There is a superstition in the Philippines that you should never go home straight after a funeral. If you do, an evil spirit will tag along and enter into your house.
• Another superstition in Japan is that you should never sleep with your head in the north direction it is said to bring bad luck because that is how the dead is laid.
• This is common in most countries around the world that itchy hand means a financial provision / money is coming soon.
• In Egypt, hearing or seeing an owl means there is bad news coming on the way.
• Whereas in Italy, when an owl ends up in your home, a member of your family will die.
• In Serbia, if you spill water behind a person it will bring good luck.
• Meanwhile, in Rwanda, superstitious women do not eat goat meat because they are scared of growing facial hair.
BY CHANCE IS SUPERSTITION OF ANY HELP TO THE PEOPLE OR THE SOCIETY?
One of the reasons why superstition has survived for a long time is because some superstitions are believed to give some sense of relief to anxiety. It has a calm effect on the people because in some ways it gives answers to their unknown and allows them to have a sense of control over their lives. No wonder superstition has survived for a long time.
Going back to history, it was found out that our ancestors had little or no knowledge about the supernatural world, their survival was challenged by some natural actions. Therefore, their way of adaptation resulted in the creation of some superstitions that served as a way of them being aware, being disciplined, read signs and a way they can predict some happenings. Superstition has now unfolded into a false belief that helps people to have a sense of having control over their situations and being aware.
Another thing that may seem as a benefit of superstition is the fact that those who are superstitious are quite good at preserving the heritage or tradition of their community or local area. They strongly believe that culture, tradition, and heritage should be held in high esteem and should be taught to the younger generation.
WHY IS SUPERSTITION STILL ALIVE?
Not only because
• It is a sort of calmness for anxiety because of the unknown
• passed on from one generation to another
• preserving culture, tradition, or heritage.
Superstition is very much alive because people believe they would rather pay a little or no cost to avoid an uncertain outcome than having to pay a lot as a remedy for an uncertain tragedy. Also, it costs them little or nothing to go about with a good luck charm than to miss out on an uncertain opportunity they could have because of the good luck charm.
EFFECTS OF SUPERSTITION IN THE SOCIETY
1. Superstition has affected the society and the beliefs of the people. Its dominance varies from one culture to another. For instance in Asia, superstition is still very much alive. It has positive effects and negative effects depending on the percentage of people in a country who believe in it. An associate professor of marketing at the Boston University who is also a social psychologist Carey Morewedge, says that “people like to have the idea that they can make sense of the world and predict what will happen to them. Thereby causing people to hold firmly to easy notions that can predict occurrences and their outcomes. So it is easy to say, that they know how to walk through life easily because of their superstitious beliefs.
2. One negative effect of superstition in a society is the fact that the people of that society are bound and limited to a certain way of life. In a society where superstitious beliefs are strong, it is quite difficult for the younger generation to think outside the box and try something new. It keeps going from one generation to the next generation with no new additional activities being tried or some negative superstitions being eliminated. Superstitions are being passed on to the younger generation with its psychological effects on the people and then in the society.
India’s sweet superstition as a case study
For instance, it is generally known that Indians believe in eating some sweets before leaving their house in the morning or when you have some sweets, good luck is coming your way. Well, there isn’t anything bad with having sweets once in a while but this superstition has caused a lot of Indians to eat sweets regularly in expectation of good luck and not remembering or being ignorant of the side effects it has on their health. There are underlining health issues that are caused by the consumption of a large amount of sweets in India. This sweet theory was initiated in the olden days when there wasn’t a vast transportation system. A lot of Indians who lived in the village had to walk kilometres to get transportation. So they had to eat something sweet such as sugar to have enough strength to walk those kilometres and still retain strength.
3. Also, a society with a strong superstitious system will make it a bit strange for foreigners to adjust to certain ways of life. But like the common saying that “when you get to Rome, you behave like a Roman”. Therefore, some foreigners can adjust to some superstitions that are not harmful to them in any way while they do not settle for the ones that will harm them in one way or another. For instance, it is common in most parts of the world that giving out something to an elderly person with your left hand is a form of disrespect at least that is the case in Africa. But in some countries, it is not so. Therefore any foreigner who comes from where the left hand is not a big deal and travels to Africa can adjust to using their right hand to hand out things to an elderly person because in this case, this superstition is not harmful. Just like any foreigner can travel to India, have some sweets but occasionally.
4. Superstitions in one way or another has a mental effect on people suffering from (OCD) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. They get stuck with superstitious behaviours and can become very hard for them to do away with these behaviours. Superstitions can trip off obsessive thoughts and other symptoms of the OCD. Also those who have mental health condition like Generalized Anxiety Disorder. They can be negatively infected by superstitions. Underlying mental health conditions may be present in some people when superstition becomes the push force behind them avoiding some activities or engaging in some activities.
Almost everyone in the world is a victim of superstition. Whether they believe in it sincerely or subconsciously and the reason is because most of these superstitions that have turned into habits are harmless. They have little or no effect on the people. We find ourselves engaging in superstitious habits that we most times do not know they are superstitious. For instance, saying “God bless you” after a person sneezes is a superstition that most people do not know. In the earlier years when plagues was sweeping through and killing people, the word “God bless you” was initiates into a response to coughing or sneezing in hope that it would keep off evil and diseases.
Therefore, not all superstitions are evil but for the ones that are quite evil, it causes concern in this modern-day society because of the civilization around the world contradicts most of these superstitions. Also, there are more learned people in the world now that there used to be. In other words, education has helped to eradicate some superstitious beliefs. More so, superstition is not real but tends to happen when a person believes in it. This can happen because a person can think and orchestrate an event into existence. After all, the mind is a powerhouse.