Visiting Someone’s home in India
By: Shyamli Thakur
It is a universal fact that India is a country with endless superstitions that govern every aspect of people’s life.
In fact, these beliefs are so deep-rooted in the society that even the highly educated and most logical citizens adhere to them religiously.
Likewise, it is no exception to come across these old-wives’ tales even while visiting someone’s home.
There are no second opinions that getting invited to someone’s home is a pleasant way to know the host better and bolster the relationship with them.
But if it’s your first time visiting an Indian’s house, you must take some prevalent myths into consideration to avoid any major cultural faux pas!
Here I’ve master-crafted a list of widespread Indian superstitions when visiting someone’s home.
Majority of the Indians thrive on this age-old notion that shoes carry evil spirits into the house. It is believed shoes bring in a lot of plain old dirt and grime inside the clean premise of the house.
What’s more; the shoes also carry microscopic hitchhiking germs, which are always unwanted! For hygienic reasons, it is customary in many Indian households to take off your kicks at the main door.
So, it is always a good idea to politely ask the host if they follow a ‘no-shoe policy’ inside the house. And if there’s no such practice then you can wear them inside the house.
Say ‘yes’ to water
It is quite a common custom in India to offer a glass of chilled water to the guest upon arrival. The natives firmly believe in the old Sanskrit saying ‘Atithi devo bhava’ that translates to ‘guests are equal to god’.
In treating the guests with this noble act, Indians believe that they are providing service to the almighty.
P.S. Avoid saying ‘no’ to this act of hospitality and take a quick sip even if you are not thirsty.
Refrain from giving a gift with the left hand
In India, it is a common, traditional practice to bear gifts when visiting someone’s house!
Bringing gifts that suit your host’s taste mean that you made a serious effort to get the perfect present. This pleasantry can instantly become inauspicious if you offer the gift with the left hand.
The sole reason behind this age-old myth is that the natives are prejudiced that anything on the left is unlucky.
Handing over the gift with the less dominant hand is a bad omen that’s an invitation to misfortunes.
To guard against any gift-related mishap, it is always wise to give and receive presents with the right hand. Always remember a big, beautiful smile.
Shake legs, lose Money
If it is your first time getting an invitation to an Indian house, you must be pretty excited and at the same time nervous about how to act around.
One very common sign of nervousness is shaking a leg. This isn’t considered a good omen in Indian communities.
According to a common superstition if you shake legs then wealth will flow away from you! And we all know that anyone with a sound mind would never want to let the money flow away.
The biggest taboo in India!
Some natives do accept that the monthly cycle is naturally linked with a woman’s body. Unfortunately the majority of the Indians still believe women are having their period are unclean and impure.
Additionally, this purely natural cycle has also been associated with malefic spirits.This is why not every Indian household is open to welcoming women during their monthly cycle.
While this legend holds no scientific evidence, it runs deep in Indian blood. Also, orthodox people do not like to share the dining table with a woman during her cycle. Therefore, it’s always good to ask the host if they are ok with you visiting their place during your periods.
Stay seated and dodge death like a PRO
People in India are very particular about dining etiquette and there are several myths attached to table manners. We are taught since a very young age that it is a bad manner to leave your chair while others are still eating. But did you know in India it is considered a highly inauspicious action?
Standing in the middle of the meal when others are not done eating is a bad omen that signals the arrival of death. So, stay seated or you might be referred to as the harbinger of death and not get invited anymore.
Spilling salt is a big NO!
Would you ever be able to enjoy any dish to your heart’s content if salt was missing? Salt is an ingredient that adds flavor to any meal.
However, in India salt can do much more than that. There’s a widespread superstition that states salt can also lead to an argument.
A disagreement over salt sounds insane but as per one Indian superstition, it can happen. Spilling salt hints that a disagreement is soon to take place. To prevent any kind of quarrel you are advised to throw a pinch of spilled salt over your left shoulder with a good laugh.
By: Shyamli Thakur – also by Shyamli Thakur: Superstitions in India