In India, several superstitions and beliefs have been followed from the ancient times. Several superstitions have been masked with religion or bad luck and in some cases even death. Many of these superstitions have a fascinating backstory to support their case while others are just tales told to prevent a mishap.
1. Cats crossing your path
They always said it was bad luck if a cat crosses your path. The truth is that, in the olden days, when people travelled through forests by bullock-carts, the big cats like Tigers and Leopards, whose eyes shone in the dark scared the bullocks. For that reason alone, the carts were halted and until it was safe to travel again.
2. Getting a haircut on Tuesdays bring misfortune
It was a tradition that farmers worked hard in the fields and Monday was supposed to be their resting day. It was on this day that they took the time to get themselves groomed, the barber then shut up shop on Tuesdays as he didn't have many customers on that day.
3. Cutting nails or shaving your beard after dark
We think this is pretty straightforward. Long ago when there was no electricity, it was hard to cut nails/shave without hurting yourself, and hence it was avoided!
4. Menstruating women aren't allowed inside sacred places
Some argue that it is just because a menstruating woman feels tired very soon and hence wasn't allowed do much work or inside sacred places, others just say that it is a mindless belief made up to subjugate women.
5. It is inauspicious if a lizard falls on a person
The direct answer to this belief is that lizards have a way of protecting themselves from predators by covering up with poisonous substances all over, hence it is wise to wash the area where the lizard touched the person.
6. Walking under a ladder brings bad luck
It was considered that the Holy father, Spon and the Spirit formed a triangle (which that ladder also makes) and hence breaking it was bad. The truth is that someone underneath might get hurt if the precarious thing breaks.
7. Take a shower after a funeral, to ward off evil spirits
Our ancestors lacked vaccinations for deadly diseases, heck even a fever was called deadly back then. Just to prevent any kind of infection from the dead person, certain rituals were formed and stipulated after a funeral ceremony.
8. Do not sweep the floor after dark, or else the Goddess of wealth - Lakshmi will walk out of our homes
This one is a simple disbelief, which has logic written all over it! With just lanterns lighting up your homes, you wouldn't want valuables swept away in the darkness! Maybe that's how it relates to Lakshmi, clever!
9. Crush the head of a snake after killing it
It was a belief that a snake's head should be crushed or else it's relatives could see the killer in its eyes and avenge its death. The science behind this belief is that a snake can bite with its head severed from its body and later dies a slow and painful death. Crushing its head prevents anything like that.
10. Do not chew Tulsi (Basil) leaves, but swallow it whole
We worship Tulsi as goddesses and hence we must always swallow it and not chew it. But the fact of the matter is that tusli contains enzymes which can corrode the enamel of the teeth and also turns them yellowish.