9 Indian Superstitions and the Scientific Reasons Behind Them

Superstitions are self-imposed beliefs, or sometimes widely believed blind notions of being. In practicality, most superstitions are nothing but rules and customs that were devised by our ancestors, who imparted ideas through the knowledge of their experiences. As a warning, or as a way of instilling a habit for the welfare of the community, these superstitions found a place in the day-to-day lives of people. Consequently, with time, these scientific and practical logics were twisted to make unwanted social norms.

Below are 9 such beliefs with their scientific explanation:

1.Hanging lemon and chillies at the entrance of shops or new establishments

Indian Superstitions
Image Source: Subhash Chatterji's World

Have you noticed a bunch of lemon and chillies hung by a cotton thread at the entrance of shops or homes? It is believed that the lemon and chillies ward off ‘the evil eye.’

Scientifically, the cotton thread which is pierced through the citrus lemon and the chillies forms a combination of chemicals which prevents insects and pesticides entering a space.

Also See | Bharud

2. Menstruating women are impure!

Indian Superstitions
Image Source: Quora

In the year 2019, the Supreme Court of India gave a historic judgement of letting women inside the Sabrimala temple of Kerala. It smashed the age-old superstition that menstruating women should not be allowed to enter temples or auspicious physical spaces.

The reason behind this popular belief was most probably out of concern for the women of the household who had to travel long distances to visit the temple or were too much in pain to work in the kitchen. Somehow over time, it is considered as a mandatory custom in many homes, a clear misinterpretation.

3. Cutting fingernails or sweeping floors after sunset is not recommended

Indian Superstitions
Image Source: Dharam Vigyaan

Dusting off shelves or walls, sweeping the floors or cutting finger nails after sunset is frowned upon by most Indian parents or grandparents. While getting yelled at for throwing away the wealth of our homes with the dust, we realise the science behind this blind belief.

In the time when there was no electricity, there were high chances of someone accidentally throwing away valuables while dusting or sweeping floors,. Therefore it was advised to clean the houses in daylight. Also, because of the same reason, it was feared hurting oneself with sharp objects while cutting nails, it was advised to finish off the chore before sunset.

4. Having curd and sugar before heading out

Indian Superstitions
Image Source: Indian Express

Remember how before any important exam, test, or interview our mothers come with a small bowl of ‘dahi shakar’ (Curd with sugar)? The underlying motive of our mother’s belief is that curd brings luck for the day.

Though scientifically, in earlier times, important work required long journeys and with the atmospheric conditions of India, which are largely hot and humid, having a bowl full of curd kept the stomach cool. Further, sugar has glucose that provides the required energy to go through the day without feeling low or uneasy.

Also See | Lord Kamadeva

5. Sleeping with the head towards the north direction is not recommended

Indian Superstitions
Image Source: Unsplash

Sleeping with the head towards the north brings mental illness or death! At least that's what our ancestors believe.

Astronomy explains that the symmetry of the magnetic fields of earth’s north pole and our body leads to erratic blood pressure levels and other internal issues. Therefore, it is advised to sleep with our heads in the southward direction.

6. Broken glass brings bad luck

Indian Superstitions
Image Source: Unsplash