Why Do People Believe in Superstitions?

Updated on April 18, 2016
Black Cat
Black Cat

After all this modernization and enlightenment that has taken place, superstitious beliefs still persists in our societies. Everyone of us to some extent do believe in such absurd superstitious beliefs and by chance if you disagree with me then how about you check it by yourself.

Are you Superstitious?

If your answer is yes than you are not alone and if no then you might not want to accept it. From the dawn of human existence people have held superstitious beliefs. These are the irrational beliefs that an object, action or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.Now, you might be thinking that if these beliefs are false than why do people believe in such superstitions? You can get your answer to this question by the time you reach the end of this hub.

Superstitions have come a long way in history and have been evolved in this process. Every known civilization that ever existed on the planet had something common in them; these were the myths and superstitions that were a crucial part of their cultures. The word superstition is designated to those beliefs that result from ignorance and fear of the unknown. Many superstitious practices are due to the false interpretations of the natural events. Curiosity also with regard to things that are hidden or are still in the future plays a considerable part, example, in the various kinds of divination. With this qualification in mind, superstitions may be classified roughly as religious, cultural and personal.

All religious beliefs and practices may seem superstitious to the person without religion. Superstitions that belong to the cultural tradition are enormous in their variety. Nearly all persons, in nearly times, have held, seriously, irrational beliefs concerning methods of warding off ill or bringing good, foretelling the future, and healing and preventing sickness and accidents. Even people who claim they have no superstitions are likely to do a few things they cannot explain. A superstition is a behavior that has no rational basis or history or a history that is long-lost. A few specific folk traditions, such as beliefs in the evil eye or in the efficacy of amulets, have been found in most periods of history and in most parts of the world. Others may be limited to one country, region or village, to one family, or to one social group.

Finally, people develop personal superstitions: a student writes a good form of literary piece with a certain pen, and from that moment the pen is lucky; a horse player may be convinced that black horses run well for him.

Sources of Superstitious Beliefs

Superstitions have been there, now for a long period of time. In this travel in history, people from diverse cultures have added their part of blind beliefs in them. The sources which might have been a great source for such superstitions are mentioned below:

  • Leaders/Governments
  • Elders
  • Cultures
  • Imaginative stories
  • Scholars
  • Myths

Superstitious Beliefs and Religion

The borderline between these two words is very thin and often it has been observed that they tend to overlap each other. Religious believers have often seen other religions as superstitions. Likewise, atheists and agnostics may regard religious beliefs as superstitious. Religious practices are more likely to be labelled ‘superstitions’ by outsiders when they believe in extraordinary events (miracles), an afterlife, supernatural intervention, value of prayer, charms, incantations, the meaningfulness of omens, and prognostications.

The Roman Catholic Church considers superstitions to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in God and, as such, is a violation of the Ten Commandments. Same is the case with Islam; it prohibits following such beliefs that are not in accordance with Quran and Hadiths. Islam refers such false beliefs as the way of Shaitan (Satan or Demon).

Do you know why people tend to become superstitious?

If we study the advent of the superstitions we can find an answer to this question.

Believe it or not, stress makes people “more superstitious”.

People feel very desperate to find reasons for all the misfortunes they come across. Being superstitious helps them to hide their mistakes by blaming luck, which according to them no one can control except God. New studies have revealed that stress makes people not only believe in rituals but also in conspiracy theories and as a result, they are more likely to “see” things that actually do not exist.

A feeling of lack of control over their life fuels many people’s desire to impose order and structure on the world.

    The less control people have over their lives, the more likely they are to try to regain control through mental gymnastics.

    Feelings of control are so essential to people that a lack of control is menacing. While some misperceptions can be bad or lead one astray, they are awfully common and most likely satisfy a deep and enduring psychological need.

Some more reasons which make people superstitious are as follows:

  • .... worying about life
  • .... having a strong need of control
  • .... dont like ambiguity in their life

What is Luck?

Luck refers to that which happens to a person beyond that person's control. This view incorporates phenomena that are chance happenings, a person's place of birth for example, but where there is no uncertainty involved, or where the uncertainty is irrelevant. Within this framework one can differentiate between three different types of luck:

  1. Constitutional luck, that is, luck with factors that cannot be changed. Place of birth and genetic constitution are typical examples.
  2. Circumstantial luck - with factors that are haphazardly brought on. Accidents and epidemics are typical examples.
  3. Ignorance luck, that is, luck with factors one does not know about. Examples can be identified only in hindsight.

What causes Good Luck?

From centuries people have believed in good fortune and widely agree that luck can be influenced through spiritual means by performing certain rituals or by avoiding certain circumstances.

One such activity is prayer, a religious practice in which this belief is particularly strong. Many cultures and religions worldwide place a strong emphasis on a person's ability to influence their fortune by ritualistic means, sometimes involving sacrifice, omens or spells. Others associate luck with a strong sense of superstition, that is, a belief that certain taboo or blessed actions will influence how fortune favors them for the future.

List of Good Luck Superstitions

  • If you sneeze it means someone is missing you.
  • If your right hand itches, you will earn money.
  • If you find a four-leaf clover, you will have good luck.
  • If you see a horseshoe which was lost, you will have good luck.
  • If you throw rice on a new bride and groom, they will have so many children.
  • If you dream about a white cat, you will have good luck.
  • If your right ear itches, someone is speaking well of you.
  • You can hang up garlic in your house for good luck.
  • If you put a mirror just across the door, before you will have good luck.
  • If you put the sugar into the cup first, the tea, you will have good luck.
  • If you step on your shadow, it brings you luck.
  • If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake in one blow, you will get whatever you want.
  • A lock of hair from a baby’s first haircut should be kept for good luck.

Broken Mirror
Broken Mirror

What causes Bad Luck?

To begin with, we have to admit that sometimes events are just random, or at least with causes beyond our ability to understand at the moment.

Blaming and making excuses are ways to avoid taking responsibility for one's own life. It is a common trait among majority of the people.

Many people point out the activities and the circumstances for their bad luck, but they cannot see what their own contribution to their situation is. Blaming and excuse makes a terrible approach to life. It eventually makes looking for causes outside the control of oneself automatic. It is difficult for such a person to ever recognize the personal changes they need to make.

 But the habit of concentrating on who or what is to blame doesn't motivate a person to do what is necessary. Just the opposite! It is a big part of what causes bad luck, because it gets in the way of the three steps needed for success:

1. Learn your lessons.

2. Take responsibility.

3. Take action.

List of Bad Luck Superstitions

  • If you break a mirror, it will bring you seven years of bad luck.
  • If you walk under a ladder, you will have bad luck.
  • If a dog howls at night, death is near.
  • If you drop a dishcloth, you will have bad luck.
  • If you eat from the pot, it will rain at your wedding ceremony.
  • It is bad luck to see an owl in the sunlight.
  • If a bat flies into your house it is bad luck.
  • Many people believe Friday 13th is an unlucky day.
  • If a black cat crosses your path you will have bad luck.
  • It is bad luck to open an umbrella in the house.
  • If you break a mirror you will have 7 years of bad luck.
  • If you walk under a ladder, you will have bad luck.
  • It is bad luck to let milk boil over.
  • Cutting your nails after sunset will bring bad luck.
  • If you dream about a dog, you will have a lot of enemies.
  • You have to get out of the bed on the same side you got in on or you will have bad luck.
  • It is unlucky to rock an empty rocking chair
  • f you open an umbrella indoors, it brings you bad luck.
  • If your left hand itches, you will lose money.
  • If you sleep with your feet towards the door, a nightwalker will steal your soul.
  • If you whistle at night, a nightwalker will come to your home.
  • When a cat sneezes three times indoors, it will rain in 24 hours.
  • If an owl hoots in your garden, it brings you bad luck.

Are you Superstitious ?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image


        7 months ago

        This was a good article, but just watch your grammar, and make sure you don't repeat the same points over and over again.

        Kudos to you though!

      • profile image


        10 months ago

        good article

      • profile image


        11 months ago

        I believe some but some not so much.

      • profile image


        13 months ago

        thanks for giving this article.

        this article give me lot of information about superstitions for my ncsc project.

      • profile image


        14 months ago

        thanks for your good sharing..it would be help a lot for my English lecture :))

      • profile image


        17 months ago

        thanks for your article. Very complete . I was able to prepare my english class for tuesday, I have created a debate trough the class, It was my goal. Thanks

      • profile image


        17 months ago

        1.shatter a mirror and you'll have years of bad luck

        2.children should not go out after dark

        3.washing your feet and hands when you come home

      • profile image


        17 months ago

        1. singing in the kithen whilst cooking.

        2. never cut your nail at night.

        3. shatter a mirror and you'll have years of bad luck.

      • profile image


        18 months ago

        My brother was born 13 days late 20 years ago on 13th November 1997. The number 13 as always been lucky and I feel blessed to have a young healthy strapping 20 year old brother who as just started a new job. I'm happy that my mum had a good birth and she to is well healthy and happy that is all that matters. Its great to have still have a happy healthy family

      • profile image


        21 months ago

        good work

      • profile image


        21 months ago

        Thanks google its all about my project

      • profile image

        meme master 

        23 months ago

        nice for my project :D

        helpful 100%

      • profile image


        24 months ago

        Useful for my essay Thanks

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        I am writing an oratory on superstitions and this is very helpful!

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Superstition is the religion of feeble minds. This

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Useful for the superstitious believers. Beware of superstitions! They are contagious.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        I really agree that superstition does not exsit as Allah said in his holy book...

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Superstations are just myth not real BT we believe and that's a reason we have to face grivences...

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        nice it is useful for my project

      • profile image


        4 years ago


      • profile image


        4 years ago

        I do accept that superstitions are irrational beliefs but how to get rid of them is impossible. because i can't take the risk of any action which was told to me not to do as it will bring bad luck. my mind says its bulshit but my heart says don't do that.

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        my girl friend asked me a pen for her exam it is if you gift a person with a pen is it bad luck

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Superrrrrrr....its helpful fr writing my essay

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Haha Cathy, that's a great story, made me smile a lot. I think that is a LUCKy number, becsaue it means....LOTS! And it's half of 8888 - isn't 88 Chinese lucky number? :) Katie. XXX

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        sometimes i too believe in superstitions but in actual i think that people who superstitious are mad because is a scientific world everything in world is real there is only one birth and one death

      • profile image

        Anuska Roy 

        5 years ago

        It just helped me a lot in my school project work.....

        its really a good one....

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        It's hard to ignore all this, after all, it's also the way we got brought up. Parents used to tell us this and that, it kinda etched onto our mind. Until now, I still remembered all that my parents told me. It's hard to get rid of the thinking.

      • profile image

        Vickie Braglin 

        5 years ago

        Yes I am guilty of some of there things, are trying hard too overcome these things but it is so hard when that was the way you were raised!

      • profile image

        ego night 

        5 years ago

        superstition is a wide but compelling stories and beliefs. They came from pagans. They are not real, instead they're denied by God.

      • profile image

        nadia abbas 

        6 years ago

        superstitions are myth not reality, actually we have firm belief on superstitions and just because of this we consider them as real.

      • Valeed profile imageAUTHOR


        8 years ago from Pakistan

        @ beth100 and wilderness. Thanks for your comments :)

      • wilderness profile image

        Dan Harmon 

        9 years ago from Boise, Idaho

        Interesting hub, and well written. I think many people fail to understand the difference between a causal relationship and a coincidental one. Just because one action happened before a second does not mean that the first caused the second. They may not be connected at all.

        This type of logical failure seems to be at the root of many superstitions: I broke a mirror and had bad things happen, so the mirror must have caused them. The correlation between the two actions is tenuous at best, and no reason to assume the broken mirror caused anything at all.

      • Beth100 profile image


        9 years ago from Canada

        Our mind has great power and if we believe enough, we can create what our mind believes. The history and development of myths, supersititions and ceremonies is extremely interesting. Excellent hub!

      • Valeed profile imageAUTHOR


        9 years ago from Pakistan

        You are very right John these false beliefs have become so much rooted in our minds and societies that it is hard to get rid of them. Fortune tellers had made a fool out of millions of people and are on their way to do so in future also. Your wife is facing the same scenario as millions have faced before and continuing to... I hope so she understands the true reality of life. May Allah Bless her and give her health ...

        It was nice to have your short story on my hub :-)

      • Ask Dr. John profile image

        Ask Dr. John 

        9 years ago from Greer, South Carolina

        I'm not superstitious, but my wife is. She has gone to three people who claim to see the future. All three told her she would develop a serious illness at 64, but would recover. Unfortunately, she would die at 67 of a serious disease. She is 64, and has been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. She believes without a doubt, this is the illness she was destined to get, and in three years she'll be dead. My fear is that whatever comes up, she is automatically going to assume that's her fatal illness, and not try to fight back. That's the danger of superstition.


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