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Indian superstitions

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This morning I broke my mirror! An Indian-hand-made mirror, that I’ve been with for a few years. Now the glass is broken and I not only can no longer see myself, but now I have seven years of bad luck, right?

Maybe I have to put some effort now and find some four-leaf clover or blow a lash with a wish away?

Superstition exists not only in Germany, but throughout the world and they are particularly strong widespread in India.

I live together with three Indians. When I started sweeping the room late at night a few years ago, all three suddenly became very excited and insist to postpone the sweeping until the next day or at least not to turn the dirt out. For, it is believed, in the dark hours one would sweep along the dirt, also also all the wealth out.

Also, all the old houses here in this region have very low doors, through which one can only get through while bending strongly. The reason for this is the belief in spirits who cannot bend over.

There are many otherinteresting Indian customs that are based on believes of the Indians.

Thus, the eyes of a dead person should always be closed, otherwise the spirit of the dead will draw the surrounding souls along with him.

The Indian hairdresser closes on Tuesdays because cutting hair on that day, can bring misfortune. The real reason for this, however, is that people used to work on the farm all week, and only on Mondays, had time for a new haircut. So it was unnecessary for the barber to be open on Tuesday.

Aberglauben

Another nice ritual is to always round up one rupee when making money gifts. Instead of 100 rupees, you give 101 rupees here. The reason for this is, that odd numbers are recognized as beneficial on the one hand, and on the other hand, the number “One”  symbolizes the continuation of wealth and not the stagnation like “Zero” would..

indische Rupien

A less beautiful superstition of the Indians is, that the Indian woman during her menstruation is considered unclean and must therefore stay away from the kitchen and sacred places, such as temples. In some regions, women even have to sleep the first night of their bleeding in a separate room, outside the house. Defenders of this tradition believe that the bleeding weakens the woman and therefore simply should have extra rest.

Frauen in Orissa

Women in Orissa

Indian travellers will have noticed that a chain of chillies and small limes often dangle outside the doors of the shops. This chain serves to prevent the goddess of misfortune, Alakshmi, from coming in and bringing misfortune to business. The Alakshmi likes it sour and spicy. With the seven chillies and lemons, she is already soothed at the entrance with her favourite food and does not even come in, but moves on.

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I also like the scientific reason for the lemon chilli chain: the smell of the fruits drives flies and other insects away- a simple pesticide from ancient times.

Funnily enough, Indians also know many of our superstitions, such as those with the black cat crossing the road.

But there are also stranger ones: If you dream that a person dies, it will bring happiness. If you dream about your marriage instead, that’s not a good sign!