Rituals, Traditions, Superstitions and Good Luck Symbols in India
by: Shymli Thakur
India is certainly an epitome of the saying ‘Unity in diversity’.
The country is an abode to various cultures, religions, and tribes.
This makes it an ideal holiday destination that ought to be in your travel bucket list.
At the same time, it is an undeniable fact to the whole world that India is also the land of unbelievable superstitions, myths, and legends which people follow passionately.
Get familiarized with some of the well-established eccentric credulities in India!
In this article I’ve master-crafted a list of good luck rituals and traditions, widespread beliefs and sacred amulets.
Good Luck Rituals, Superstitions and Traditions in India
India is one of the nations with the highest literacy rate in the world however, majority of the population tightly hold to the rituals and traditions that are supposed to shower individuals with immeasurable happiness and good fortune.
The land of mystique is sure to fascinate you with a plethora of bizarre good luck rituals that are beyond the realm of rationalism.
Some of the rituals and traditions Indians that are believed to bring better luck are:
Baby Tossing in India
Let’s commence with the one that’s sure to give you Goosebumps! Baby Tossing is a common practice in some parts of India that is thought to bring good fortune in toddler’s life.
This ritual is not a friendly toss but a terrifying one where the newborn is dropped from a height of whopping 50 feet, preferably from the top of a temple.
While the father is responsible for the insane act of dropping the infant, other family members wait at the base with a spread-out sheet to catch the baby. The startling ritual has no scientific evidence at all but still the natives hold on tight to this controversial custom.
Marry a Dog
Do you like dogs? Of course, they are adorable, friendly and faithful creatures! But what do you think of having a dog as your suitor?
In India, it is not uncommon if you hear some girl has been married to a dog prior to getting engaged to her human suitor.
As wired as it sounds, it is customary for females to partake in this ritual if they are born with the astrological problem of ‘mangal dosh’.
As per this condition, women with ‘mangal dosh’ are said to endanger the life of their to-be-husband. In the worst case scenario, the husbands have the probability of dying within a short span of their married life.
Therefore to exorcise the woman of this condition, she is married to an animal first which ought to get rid of any evil she has and bring happiness in the married life.
Add One Rupee for Good Luck in India
The priceless value of one rupee coin! The materialistic possession that you can get from one rupee in India is either a candy or a chewing gum.
However, it can bless you with a lifetime of happiness and luck. In India, it is a long-standing tradition to give money as a gift on weddings and other special occasions, for instance, birthday celebrations or achievements.
It is customary to add one rupee to the sum you are giving as it is considered to be a blessing that will shower the receiver with love and luck.
Even during the religious ceremonies, the offering should have a rupee to the amount of money that is put forward. So it should be 101, not 100 or 1001 instead of 1000.
Curd and Sugar for Luck
Have a spoon of curd and sugar before you head out! From metropolitan cities to small towns to remote villages, people follow this tradition almost everywhere in India.
It is the duty of a mother or grandmother to feed a spoon of curd and sugar before any of the family member steps out of the house to do some important work. Usually, this is a common practice when someone is going to take an exam or give an interview.
This tradition has science backing it up, unlike many other old wives’ tales. While the curd is to keep individuals cool in the tropical climate of India, sugar is to provide immediate glucose to people who are leaving their house to go and carry some work.
Next time you have an important work to do; make sure to have some curd and sugar.
Wear Your Gemstones
Don’t just collect gemstones, wear them!
It’s an ordinary sight in India to see men and women of varying age-groups wearing jewelry with shiny and colorful gemstones embedded on them.
Having these precious stones on you is believed to bring you good fortunes. But you cannot just pick any gemstone that you find pretty.
Why not, you may wonder?
In India, astrologers are held in high regards and they make the decision on your behalf. They study your horoscope, detect obstacles and then provide you with the most compatible gemstone or in some cases gemstones.
Wearing these chosen stones ascertains that your life will become a bed of roses.
Traditions to Keep Evil at Bay in India
If there are unbelievable rituals to invite in good luck, there ought to be traditions to cast away evil shadows. Indians have an endless list of traditions to adhere to when it comes to protecting themselves from any unfortunate happening.
There are some unreasonable and illogical traditions that are considered as precautions to not get tangled with anything that eludes negative vide.
Some of them are:
Alakshmi – Goddess of Misfortune
When life gives you a lemon, thread it along with chilies to keep misfortunes at bay!
In the land of millions of deities, it should not come as a surprise that Indians believe in the existence of ‘Alakshmi’, the goddess of misfortune.
The natives reckon that if she enters any building, she brings along a package of misfortune along with her.
In order to avoid her unwanted entry to the house or shop, people thread 7 green chilies and lemon together and hang it at the threshold of the building.
The reasoning behind this tradition is the goddess’ fondness of sour and hot edibles. If there are lemon and chilies as offerings at the doorstep, she will satisfy her hunger and not set foot inside the house.
This tradition also has a logical usage that is yet to be scientifically proven- the odor of lemon and chilies is a natural pesticide to keep the pest and insects away.
Evil Eye is a big deal in India. The natives of the country are highly prejudiced about evil eye which when befalls on someone is bound to cause great damages.
It is believed that acquaintances and even close relatives will get jealous of the prosperity in an individual’s life and this may send a negative vibe over the person resulting in unwanted incidents.
Even toddlers can become a victim of the evil eye.
In order to prevent the unfortunate happenings, you will get to see newborns smeared with black kohl. Indian women are also mostly seen with kohl on their eyes and a dot on their forehead.
Now you know it is not just a fashion to accentuate their eyes but a centuries-old preventative measure to ward off an evil and negative vibe.
Why You Must Not Sweep after Sunset in India
No sweeping after sunset! You can only do so if you are ready to get a good scolding from your mother. According to Indian tradition ‘Lakshmi’, goddess of wealth, visits mortal’s house after the sun goes down.
People believe that if you sweep at dusk, then you will be walking the goddess out of abode which is considered very inauspicious. The belief is you would be sweeping away wealth she might have bestowed upon after her arrival.
No matter what happens you are strictly prohibited from sweeping after sunset. After all, nobody in their sane mind would think of chasing the goddess of wealth, isn’t it?
How to Avoid Nightmares
Tired of nightmares? In India, there is a superstition that is as long as the human race itself and is supposed to prevent you from getting scary dreams.
The natives rely on placing an onion and a knife under the pillow to drive away the bad dreams. It has no scientific evidence at all but even the highly educated Indian abide by this tradition.
Menstruating Women – Do Not Enter
Imposing limitations on menstruating women in India is not something to be surprised of. Women during their monthly cycle are thought to impure thus there are numbers of old wives’ tales weaved that’s linked to this natural phenomenon.
Till date, menstruating women are barred from entering any holy place in India for the fear that the god residing in the temple will get angry and the people will have to face the wrath of the deity.
There’s not a tad bit of reason behind this myth other than the explanation that people are unwittingly following this mindless tradition.
Top 10 Commonly Accepted Superstitions in India
There is the existence of some indigestible myths in India that natives adhere to knowingly or unknowingly. The credit for this goes to the fact that inexplicable superstitious notions have permeated in everyday life in the country. Some of the ridiculous beliefs to make you wonder are:
Why You Must Not Sleep Under a Peepal Tree
1. If you have listened to spooky Indian folklores you might have realized that ghosts like to hover around Peepal tree at night.
The tale that scares children even at present is that if you sleep under this tree then the ghosts will kill you.
This myth has kept many children and even adults from being around the tree at night.
Why We Close a Dead Person’s Eyes
2. Ever wondered why do we close a dead person’s eyes?
While the rest of the world believes the action is carried out to make the dead look peaceful, the legend in India states that if the eyes are left open the dead will take the people around through the eyes.
The Crow’s Poop
3. Do not lose your temper if a crow’s poop lands on you. Why not, you may ask? The answer: it is a mystical way to hint that you are about to receive some money.
Next time you see a crow, don’t shoo it away.
Why You Must Crush the Head of the Snake
4. Can you imagine being avenged by the relatives of the snake that you may have killed to protect yourself? It would be both ridiculous and terrifying to have snakes plotting to take revenge.
However, Indians cling to the legend that one should crush the head of the snake after killing it. If this is not done, then the family of the snake will find the image of the person in the dead snake’s eyes and venture out to seek revenge.
Why You Should Never Shake Your Legs in India
5. Did you know that as per the Indian encyclopedia of superstition shaking legs is not just the clear sign of anticipation? The myth states that the more you shake your legs, the more wealth will flow away from you.
In some regions of India, people also believe that shaking your legs will kick away the knowledge and wisdom that you carry.
From now on no matter how nervous you are avoid shaking your legs. You don’t want to be both dim-wit and broke, do you?
Do Not Get Your Hair Cut on a Saturday in India
6. No Salon Saturday! It is considered extremely inauspicious to cut hair and nails on Saturday because it may anger Shanidev (Planet Saturn), one of the many deities in India.
The natives believe that under no circumstance should Shanidev be made angry otherwise the individual will have to face bad luck for seven long years.
Pregnant Women Beware
7. Do you want your newborn to have an ugly scar? If not then you have to be extra careful about your posture during an eclipse.
The natives blindly believe that if a pregnant lady sits cross-legged when the eclipse is occurring, there is a hundred percent chance the baby will have a hideous birthmark on the body.
Count Your Blessings if Your Left Palm Itches
8. Indians consider it a good omen if your left palm itches. The explanation the natives believe is that if it itches you will receive a handsome amount soon. So, one should enjoy the temporary inconvenience and hope to win a truckload of money in the lottery.
The Broken Mirror Superstition
9. Avoid looking into the broken mirror is what you hear grannies telling their grandchildren in India. The natives fear to look at their image in the broken mirror because the consequence might bring you seven years of bad luck.
The myth must have originated in the past when the mirrors were expensive to avoid the negligence of breaking mirrors.
If You Sneeze Stay Home
10. Three continuous sneezes when someone is about to leave the house is a bad omen. In Indian society, this baseless belief is so deep-rooted that almost everyone believes if the person leaves the house he will meet with an accident.
This belief exists among the literate ones as well who are well aware that sneezing is an involuntary action and no matter how much you try to hold it in, you can’t.
Protective Amulets in India
When you are in the mystical land where you have to carefully consider and adhere to infinite myths, you should prepare yourself to own some protective amulets to use a shield.
Quite a lot of Indians believe in the ‘baba’, people with supernatural power to protect you from incomprehensible power and malefic forces.
Some of the most common amulets ‘baba’ recommends you are:
Yantra talismans and amulets are made up of Vedic symbols comprising geometric figures like straight lines, squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles.
The precision of these symbols is extremely crucial for the talisman to be effective. Some specific talismans may even have numbers and letters of ‘Devnagari script’ engraved on them.
The symbols represent the five basic elements and are believed to have the powerful energy to enhance the wearer’s certain traits to make him have a better personality.
These talismans are also used to enervate the annoying and unwanted characteristics.
Om – A Powerful Word
‘Om’ is unanimously accepted as the sound because of which the universe was created. The word is believed to the ‘word of god’ that holds immense power to ward off evil and to protect the person who is chanting it with unwavering belief.
This must be the reason why you will see many Indians wearing a neckpiece with a pendant that has ‘Om’ inscribed on it. Words are indeed very powerful.
Idols of Deities
Consecrated idols of deities are believed to be the abode of the gods that the statue represents and is the source of spiritual energy that is guaranteed to protect the individuals who worship them.
The devotees believe that these idols need to be respectfully placed in a shrine and worshipped. This will cause surrounding areas to remain free of any unwanted vibe and will invite happiness, prosperity, and luck.
Why there are Scary Masks on Houses in India
When you take leisurely walk in your neighborhood you must have noticed grotesque mask hanging on the front of the houses.
These masks are supposed to not only cast evil away but also protect the house from being a victim of the ‘evil eye’. According to the natives the scarier the mask, the more effective it is.
‘The Nazar’, also known as the ‘the blue eye’, is considered one of the influential amulets to protect people against the evil eye, a very common superstitious phenomenon in India.
This powerful symbol also puts the negative energies far away from the bearer or the owner and avoids any unfortunate happenings.
This symbol can be worn as an amulet or used a piece of decoration in the buildings and the vehicles.
The Most Mystical Places in India
It is a common knowledge that India is the land of superstitions some of which are backed by scientific evidence and some are just old wives’ tales.
These myths could have been woven by the ancestors to scare the young ones or keeping hygiene in mind. There really is no concrete confirmation about the birth of unreasonable legends.
In order to strengthen the belief on these notions people of India visit several spiritually powerful places that are believed to shower the visitors with blessings.
Some of the places in the nation that are revered as mystical ones are:
The Hanging Pillar – India
The Hanging Pillar at Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh is one of the places in India where devotees of Veerabhadra, the fiery god created by Lord Shiva, go to ask for good fortune.
The highlight of the temple is the extraordinary floating pillar that stands out of 70 other pillars.
People believe that if they pass objects under this particular pillar, it is definite that they will be blessed with prosperity in their lives.
Karni Mata Temple
Holy rat infested Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan gives the creeps to some people just because of the name. However, for many of the Indians, the place is sacred where the long-tailed rodents are worshipped religiously as they are believed to be reincarnated family members of the Karni Mata, one of the much-worshipped deities.
People travel from distant places to make an offering to the goddess and the rats so that they get healed of their ailments.
Next time you are troubled by your health, Karni Mata Temple is your destination. Also, it is also considered quite auspicious to these rats scamper over your toes and you spot some white rats.
Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi Temple located in Jammu & Kashmir has millions of visitors every year.
This is because the pilgrims believe that only those who are summoned by the goddess can complete the arduous trek of 12 kilometers to pay salutation to the deity.
Once you climb the three-peaked mountain of Trikuta and reach the temple, it is believed any wish you make will come true.
When in the vicinity of the temple, stop at the holy abode of ‘Bhairav Nath’ to complete your pilgrimage and get your prayers answered.
Written by: Shymli Thakur