Indian Superstitions: Are They Absolutely Baseless Or Are There Any Scientific Facts Associated With Them?

Black cat superstitions

Since childhood we are stopped from doing many things to avoid bad luck and slowly they become part of our habits.

We stop questioning such rituals and blindly follow them. Are those superstitions just an act of belief or is there a scientific truth to any of them?

We analyse some of the most common superstitions and share with you, the scientific rationale, if any, behind them.


1) Don’t Cut Nails/Hair On Saturdays And At Night

Our ancestors had kept specific days for specific things to do to live a more organised life and in their “Muhurat” based timetable,  Saturday was not kept for cutting hair or nails. Over a period of time, it simply became an inauspicious activity out of laziness as no one wanted to go into real reasons! As far as cutting them at night is concerned, it’s only because in earlier days there were no good sources of lighting at night, they wanted to prevent injuries by using sharp tools for grooming purposes!

nail cutting

2) Keep A Knife Or Sharp Object Under Pillow

The whole idea was to sleep in peace with an assurance that one had means to safety in case of an emergency, but it has got a real bad twist. Warning: Blindly following this superstition can cause self-injuries in case you have a habit of pushing your head under the pillow in deep sleep!


3) No Sweeping Of Home In The Evening Or Goddess Lakshmi Won’t Visit You

Again, this practice has its roots in, not having electricity in olden days, so the fear was that something valuable(Lakshmi) might be swept off as garbage in the dark of night. Of course, connecting it with Lakshmi and loss of wealth was to ensure the practice continued without interruptions!


4) Eat Curd And Sugar Before Heading Out For Good Luck

There is sound science behind this superstition. Curd makes stomach cool so when venturing out in a tropical country like ours, it helps to have a calm stomach. Sugar gives instant energy which is required to accomplish the task one is going out for. Associating it with good luck just makes everyone follow it compulsorily.


5) Applying Cow Dung On Floor Is Auspicious

In the historical times, it made sense to apply cow dung in mud houses people used to live in since it worked as a disinfectant. In today’s times, try applying it in your white marble floors at home or in your smooth office floor and you’ll realise any disinfectant bought from a local kirana shop works better!


6) Swallow Tulsi Leaf, Never Chew It

Yes, Tulsi is considered Goddess Lakshmi’s avatar and that’s why it is said not chew its leaves to avoid disrespect. However, real reason is that Tulsi contains a bit of arsenic and chewing its leaves leads to yellowing of teeth or degradation of enamel. So it is actually to maintain glittering smile more than anything else!

tulsi swallow

7) Applying Kajal To Avoid Buri Nazar

In earlier days Kajal/kohl was made at home by burning natural oils and was considered good for eyes. But it lead to itching and was messy so elders used the idea of buri nazar so that kids applied it out of fear. However, nowadays there is no such need! Also, kajal available in cosmetic stores today has paraffin etc which is toxic for skin and seriously dangerous for infants or kids eyes and skin! Another logic used was that black skinned people can’t be hypnotised so even magicians in earlier days used to advice people not to wear black clothes when attending their shows. This became a superstition and kids were smeared with kajal to save them from buri nazar!


We hope some of the confusions related to superstitions are cleared by now. Let’s not follow the rituals and beliefs just because they are passed on to you by generations, instead seek clarity and do only what makes sense and has a scientific logic behind it!

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