Superstitious Beliefs

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Over a period of time, superstitious beliefs have rooted themselves firmly in our society, so much so that it is virtually impossible for the person to ignore them. They have made a place for themselves in all the walks of life, including politics and sports. Politicians resorting to the astrological predictions is not at all rare. On the other hand, examples of superstitions in sports include cricketers carrying a coloured handkerchief in their pocket, or soccer players putting their right foot first when they enter the field. Such superstitious practices are found all over the world. Basically, superstitious beliefs and practices are illogical assumptions based on one particular incident, which are then followed. Much older superstitions usually involve supernatural forces like evil spirits, witches, etc. This paper discusses about various superstitious beliefs around the world. ORIGIN OF SUPERSTITIONS

The origin of superstitions can be traced to beliefs people held, in the olden times. While most of them arise out of fear, some are meant to drive fear away. Superstitious beliefs are an outcome of ignorance and lack of rational thinking, but then they are beliefs after all. Beliefs become notions, then become opinions, and then begin to prevail in society. For instance a cricketer who casually carried a red handkerchief in his pocket and played a magnificent innings that day is bound to believe that the good luck was brought upon him by this very handkerchief, and therefore carry it in his pocket every time he goes out to bat. With passing time, some superstitions were rendered false, while others 'succeeded' in establishing themselves as truths. Many superstitions become the basis of certain social customs and go on to become traditions. Such is the power of superstitions that they turn from being false beliefs to becoming strong notions and masses start following them. MOST COMMON SUPERSTITIONS AROUND THE WORLD

Black cats
The origin of this superstition can be traced to ancient Egypt. Back then, their goddess Bast was a female black cat. Christians, at that time, wanting to eradicate all other religions from society, convinced people that black cats were demons. Also another reason that black cats are considered to be bad luck is, by the 17th century, the cats began to be associated with witchcraft. Some believe cats can see spirits and can hence guard you against evil spirits. Ths the good luck or bad luck of black cats depends on where you live in the world. In Britan and Japan, it is considered good luck to have a black cat cross your path, where as in USA, India and several European countries, it is bad luck to have a black cat walk by. It is also believed that if a cat walka toward you, it brings good fortune but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it. Fingers crossed

This is probably the superstition that is most widely used today. If one crosses their fingers, good luck will result. Often used when hoping for a good outcome at a critical gambling, etc. the idea was that it was a shorthand way of showing the sign of cross, and therefore could be used to ward off evil spirits thus preventing the evil spirits from destroying our chances of good fortune. Lucky Horseshoes

A horseshoe is one of the widely known good luck charms. It is considered lucky for its distinctive shape and function. The shape of a horseshoe, a typical U, similar to that of a crescent moon, is believed to bring good luck. Secondly, a horseshoe protects the horse, and is hence believed to protect humans too. Since making horseshoes is related to blacksmithy, which is considered to be a noble profession, horseshoes are also associated with nobility and hence believed to bring good luck. Also it resembles the Greek letter Omega (Ω), the last letter of the alphabets, which was been painted on the walls of the house to protect against diseases. There is a Christian story of St. Dunstan, who once saw...
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