Sociology Index

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Superstition

Humans by nature are superstitious. Superstitions arise when human brains can't explain some superstitious phenomena. Black cats crossing your path is bad, though millions Americans keep cats as pets. Superstition in India is a widespread social problem.

The superstitious practices may range from harmless lemon-and-chilli totems to ward off evil eye, to serious concerns like witch-burning. - "Indian mob burns 'witches'". BBC News. 3 July 2003.

Superstition refers to any belief or practice which is explained by supernatural causality, and is in contradiction to modern science. A study has found that superstitions can sometimes work, because believing in something improves performance. This superstition arises from old beliefs in magicians and witches.

Michael Jackson the magician in Remember the Time, turns into a cat. But the Japanese believe that all cats are good luck. Don't walk under that ladder! a Christian belief in the Holy Trinity, since a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle. Actually the reason is the risk of knocking down someone on the ladder.

Just saying "fingers crossed" is enough to get good luck. Actually anything forming the shape of the Christian cross is thought to bring good luck. In the Bible in the Book of Revelation, 666 is given as the number of the "beast," and is the mark of Satan.

Superstition in India. A crow cawing at your door is indication of a guest’s arrival and an owl is an indicator of impending death. But the common superstition in India that menstruating women cannot attend religious ceremonies and rituals as she is supposed to be impure is most bizarre.  Innaiah Narisetti, chairman of Center for Inquiry (India) and Pushpa Bhargava, the former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, pointed out the lack of scientific temper among Indian scientists.

The beliefs behind child sacrifices vary from inducing rainfall to helping childless women conceive. Between 1999 and 2006, about 200 cases of child sacrifices were reported from Uttar Pradesh. - "Horror of India's child sacrifice". BBC News. 12 April 2006.

Friday the 13th superstition is that Judas Iscariot was the 13th guest at the Last Supper and Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

The origin of this well-known superstition "Knock Twice on Wood to Reverse Bad Luck" dates back to a time when some cultures believed that gods lived in trees.

Blessing someone after he or she sneezes is actually a common superstition because in the 6th century Europe, people believed the person was expelling evil spirits.