Indian Beliefs and Superstitions

India Beliefs

Indian beliefs and superstitions are passed down from generation to generation. These faiths have sprung with an objective to protect from evil spirits, but some were based on scientific reasoning. Astrology is an integral part of Indian culture. Even today many people prefer to do good things such as entering a newly made home (Gruhapravesha) , fixing a marriage proposal, fixing a marriage date, entry of a bride to her new home, starting a new business etc, according to their astrological belief.

What is superstition?

According to dictionary, superstition is a belief in something not justified by reason or evidence. It means to believe in something blindly without verification.

Though the Indian society is fast progressing, there are many people who are still superstitious and have a strong faith in these local beliefs. Superstitions are deemed as pertinent in India because these, generally, hint at future occurrences and can be either good or bad.Though we try to believe these are baseless beliefs, somewhere deep inside our hearts, we are stuck to our roots and still believe in some of the superstitions, if not all.

Superstitions considered Good in India

These are some of the superstitions which are considered as good omen.

  • While one is going out of the house and see a married lady with flowers on her head and kumkum on her forehead it is believed that the trip will be successful.
  • If you see an elephant on your way while going somewhere, your purpose of going will be fruitful. It is believed that Lord Ganesh, the elephant God of Indian mythology, removes all the obstacles on the way.
  • Seeing a peacock on a journey is also considered lucky.
  • If you notice a crow cowing near your house you are likely to get visitors to your house.
  • Eating sweet curd before exams brings good luck.
  • If the girl's horoscope is matching well with the boy's horoscope, when they get married, they will have a successful married life.
  • When a discussion is going on if you hear a lizard making a noise on the ceiling or on the wall, it is a good omen to let you know that it is true.
  • There is also a strong belief in the power of dreams, as divine warnings. Dreaming of gods, demons, auspicious animals or any other auspicious thing is good.
  • Continuous hiccups are considered a sign of someone close badly remembering you.
  • Mirror, a pot full of water, flag, light, a pair of fish and turmeric are auspicious articles. On getting up from the bed in the early morning, if a person is lucky to see any of these auspicious articles it will bring him good luck . He is also fortunate if he sees first a lotus flower, gold, the ruler, light, the sun, fire, the sea, a temple tower, a hill with signs of rain a cow and a calf, his own right hand, a lunatic, a black monkey, an elephant or a percussion instrument called Mridanga. Seeing his wife's face is also considered a good omen.
  • To avoid seeing anything unpleasant in the morning, many people look at the palms of their hands as soon as they awaken and recite this invocation: "In the tips of the fingers resides Goddess Lakshmi; in the middle, Goddess Saraswathi; in the palm of the hand resides Goddess Parvathi; looking at my hands, I begin my day."
  • The colour, spots, stripes, chirping or twittering of the lizard and where it falls on a person's body are said to indicate future happenings.

Superstitions considered Bad in India

There are several superstitions considered as bad omen in Indian society. Many people even these days avoid these as much as possible, whether they believe in it or not, for they are not prepared to take the risk.

  • If you are going somewhere and see a cat, especially black, is considered as a very bad omen.
  • While a serious discussion is going on, a black cat comes that way. It is considered as a bad omen.
  • While leaving home, sighting a widow or a barren woman is not lucky.
  • Nails should not be cut in the night for fear of evil spirits.
  • While leaving your house, hearing the shrill sound of a peacock is considered bad.
  • Sweeping the house at night is not good.
  • The sitting of an owl over the house-top is a sure sign of approaching ruin and destruction.
  • When there is a birth or death in the family, the members are not supposed to go to a temple or light a lamp at home, for 15 days.
  • If a female's right hand is scratching it is not good. It is an indication that she is going to get some bad news On the other hand, if it is left hand it is good. But, if a male's left hand is scratching it is not good. It shows that he is going to cry soon. He is lucky if his right hand is scratching.
  • If the left eye of a woman twitches it is not good, and the right eye twitching for a man is also not good.
  • If you see a family member leaving the house for some purpose, and happen to ask him or her "where are you going?" the individual won't like it because asking such a question is considered a bad omen.
  • A number of activities are avoided after sunset such as - cutting of one's hair or nails, giving of dirty linen to the dhobi, mention of words to denote snake or the barber, lending or giving needles, salt ,butter, milk or white articles, lending a matchbox or fire.
  • After a man's death, his widow should not wear colorful sarees or bindis on her forehead. (This practice is rapidly changing in almost all cities of India today.)
  • If somebody is leaving home for the day's work and you sneeze thrice, it's a bad omen.
  • Footwears keeping upside down brings fights in family.
  • In some parts of the country, it is believed that Monday is not an auspicious day for shaving and cutting hair.
  • Thursdays and Saturdays are not good for washing hair.
  • Tuesday is believed to be not good to reach any body's home from a journey.
  • Saturday is considered bad for purchasing metal or leather, as it brings bad luck in terms of financial prosperity.
  • Wearing of white clothes by a married woman is considered inauspicious.
  • If you hear a dog whining at night it will bring bad luck, especially when some one in your family or neighbourhood is sick.
  • Many people do not make payments on Fridays, except giving small coins to beggars.
  • Food is not cooked in a house where death has occurred.

My personal experience

My daughter had saved two newborn kittens from drowning and brought them home. One of them was black, and the other was white with a black dot on the face.  Even though I was not much fond of kittens walking around inside the house, I took care of these cute kittens. Many of our friends wanted to have the white one, but my daughter was not willing to part with them. Finally, a day came when we had to go to our native place for two weeks, and I was able to convince her to give away these kittens. We were amazed there were no takers for the black one!  I even took the help of a gardener for payment to get the black kitten a good home. While taking the cat, he promised me that he will be definitely able to find him a home in an estate, and our dear kitten will be safe there among other cats. To my amazement, later, I came to know that no one wanted to keep a black cat either in a house or an estate, and the kitten ran away from the gardener's house!!!

Why do Indians still follow these beliefs?

It is an interesting question. With the progress of science and popular awakening, many of the superstitions have already lost their hold on the minds of the people. But many of them are so deeply rooted that no amount of knowledge or science can weaken their hold or fully shake them off.

When I discussed this question with some of my friends, the response was amazing. They belong to both the present generation of youngsters and the older generation. Though most of them don't want to believe them, they are not prepared to take the risk of ignoring them. Those who had ventured to ignore them had already faced some serious problems, which made them stick to the age-old beliefs again.

What is your opinion? Do we still have to follow, or not? 

Are the superstitions still prevalent in other countries? Please share your views.

Superstitions in other countries

Superstitions exist not only in India, they are all over the world. Every culture and every country has their own share of beliefs. Some of them are funny and some are logical. Some believe in these superstitions and follow them diligently, but some others do not believe them, and just ignore them. Watch the two videos to know about some of the superstitions exist in other culture.

Do you believe these age-old superstitions are good for us to continue?

  • Yes, always
  • No, never
  • Occasionally
See results without voting

Interesting Superstitions in the world

25 Common Superstitions And Their Origins

Comments 47 comments

santhu 13 days ago

We are calling these as superstitions because we don't know how they works.Self experience is the only way to know them.

Kengadhelagam Kathiresu 2 weeks ago

After prayers at the vinayagar temple ..i wanted to light up the ghee villaku for my son. With the ghee vilakku on plate in my hands while and want to light up while walking i tripped and fell and fractured my feet. Whats the significance.

martie 2 weeks ago

some people in these comments are really freaking out like! haha

Kinnav 3 weeks ago

Hello, in my opinion superstition will somehow always be there until all the people of a particular society/country have decided to kick it out of their heads and completely ignore the rest of the people who are giving fake advises of it.

vidushi 3 months ago

it was very ........................ bad i dont like the answer ihave asked another question

Vani 5 months ago

Bat hanging in your balcony considered bad .Bat coming into your house flying also considered bad.They say it portends death.

Practically speaking Bats in balcony means droppings and unclean surroundings.. There are blood sucking bats?Drive bats from balcony

A.Geeta 11 months ago

My Doubt is today while we were going to temple our spiiled down from my hand and deep fell down and cracked. It is bad Omen

lex123 profile image

lex123 12 months ago Author

Robert, Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad to know that you found this hub interesting. I don't know much about the rationale behind some of them. While googling you may find it.

Robert Levine profile image

Robert Levine 12 months ago from Brookline, Massachusetts

Interesting hub--I have a fairly broad knowledge of Hinduism, but I didn't know about folk beliefs such as these. I would have liked to learn more about the rationale behind some of them. The belief that black cats are a bad omen is also a Western superstition, and I've read that Native Americans believe seeing an owl is inauspicious.

LaLai 17 months ago

Bat came to to my home is it a good omen or bad omen,

Rahul 19 months ago

Earlier some practices were there which were scientific, but with time people keep on adding things and thus when most of practices doesn't seem to work, younger generations call it superstitions .

Here are some more Indian superstitions ;)

*cat crossing the way during important journey is bad omen.

*seeing the face of an animal (monkey in particular) in the early morning is bad (it is said, u will get meal late,on that particular day)

*Crying/hearing cries in the evening is a bad omen.

*If a candle goes of again and again (particularly during some holy ritual etc ) is a really bad omen.

*Seeing owl face is a bad omen

*Twitching of right eye(for men) and left eye (for women) is good omen,

Vice versa is bad omen.

Be it good or bad omens, it is important to put belief in God, then even bad omens may turn into good ones

Sureshnagendra 22 months ago


I booked my flight ticket to Vaishnav Devi shrine 2 months before. some one dies in our far family and I finish the funeral rituals, after this 3rd day for my departure to visit temple and i have not consult any one whether to visit the temple or not but i traveled & climb up the mountain and done the darshan of Mata Vaishnav Devi and Bairavnath temples and i went to 4 mata darshan as well. Now guide me some one it is good or bad.... i am just confused.

Vipul 22 months ago

India can never progress to full extent until she is superstitious.

lex123 profile image

lex123 2 years ago Author

I'm sorry I don't know about it.

Lissy robert 2 years ago

Bats hang on our balcony is it a good omen or bad omen,

vikas 9781372222 2 years ago

What happened when an owl came to your bedroom pleas advise

swathi 2 years ago

Can the bride leaves the home on Friday for the wedding in different location? Please suggest..

rohit 3 years ago

Black cat isn't bad but it is believed that if we have black cat in house then we get protected from black magic.

sandhya 3 years ago

what will happen , if pooja things like rice and turmeric fells down on floor while i am cleaning the gods temple on Tuesday. pls solve my problem

Prateek 3 years ago

Just bcoz u haven't seen your great great great grandfather doesn't mean he never existed......our existence itself is the proof that they existed, its the same with superstitions. They lived in different circumstances and we live in diffeent situations. So i reckon that supestitions are time based. What we follow now are sure going to become superstitions in tge future.So accept the change and respect the old sayings. To follow them or not is completely a personal choice.

lily 3 years ago

what will happen if oil spill on the floor during pooja..

please advise...

Ron 4 years ago

All these Superstitious culture is followed for a good life and to avoid any misshapen in family and a signal of any bad omen. All religion follow this type of superstition, but the people should know.

Our ancestors no matter from which religion, they followed superstition culture. Now just saying we are modern, can't neglect those facts.

nanbha 4 years ago

There is good collection of beliefs here very informative. but may be you can add on some possible modern day explanation to it so that readers get a better insight. Like for e.g. why we cannot sweep in the night ... it could be because those days they did not have electricity and if they sweep in the night something important that had fallen down could be swept away.

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Very informative hub. Some superstitious beliefs are similar to the Philippines, like that with the black cat. Thanks for sharing.

Dilip Subramanian 4 years ago

I strongly believe that eating curd with sugar before is NOT superstitous, is backed by science. It is well known that energy levels go up quickly, when sugar is consumed. Exams need heightened energy levels and nothing better than sugar.

When a person is drunk, try giving him curd, and you see that the "kick" goes down rapidly. In other words, curd has the power to restore and maintain balance of your mind, something critical during exams.... this clearly is NOT superstition.

ap 4 years ago

i have a doubt here that why people hold flower in their hands during marriage

vaibhavi 4 years ago

these superstitions mayb correct in a small percent of cases where the scientists have proved the logics behind them, but most of them are wrong.... i just hate these religious things...

Murali 4 years ago

Well, we don't have proof does not mean that proof does not exist. It takes time do consider all parameters for a research into a topic before making such statements. Example" I cant see an elephant 10 miles away does not mean that the elephant does not exist. It only means that my eyes can only see that far. Similarly all our senses can only sense that far. If I have to find the fact that the elephant actually exists I have to go there and see for myself. If science says that there is no proof this basically means that science has actually concluded everything i.e. there is no need to do any more research. How can science conclude that there is no proof when it still continues its research? Of course, some scientists are under pressure to give out theories for survival and they do make such statements.

There are always 3 states to a statement: (1) It is true (2) It is false and (3)Don't know. In most cases of scientitic research which in most cases is materialistic by the way (3) is usually not considered a fair answer.

shukla 4 years ago

all people who believe and follow superstitions.....i would only say that please have an inquisitive mind and question every thing rather than blindly following,may be the conditions when these rules were formed were different from present times, maybe these rules don't hold good for present practice...for example please answer me why would bhagwan not like people to clean their hair on certain days..after all cleanliness is next to godliness..

rakesh mittal 4 years ago

hinduism has many rituals which are sceintific. but we call it Superstitions only because we don't have reasons or evidence. this has happened because we fallowed the rituals taught to us by our elders but we never bothered to question the reason for rituals or asked for evidence. so we might have lost the reason or evidence.

chaturrajneesh profile image

chaturrajneesh 4 years ago from India

a very nicely written article with a lot of information. But one thing I would like to comment that we can completely reject all the rituals of Indians as Superstition as some of these are really based on scientific evidence. Just type on Google- 'Hinduism-most scientific religion' and you will get it.

Chai 4 years ago

Thank you for giving knowledge about beliefs and superstitions

lex123 profile image

lex123 4 years ago Author

Thank you for your insightful comments, which will be helpful to our readers.

A V R murthy 4 years ago

Well, you are telling superstitions ,from where you got this word. Probably nobody does fully understand the meaning of this . Well you say a belief for which is there is no scientific proof/justification etc., but i ask how you know that there is no proof,,till some scientist discovered all people felt every plane t is revolving around Earth!!!!!!! therefore where you say superstitions there i say your limited knowledge ,, there are may hidden things in this world,nobody knows from where life comes and to where it goes ,, but the so called people who are just simply telling superstitions should note that there were people( we believe) who knows fully about this life circle of birth& death ,and they created some beliefs rather a way of life ,which we follow,unfortunately we are losing our knowledge and feel that what we know is only complete knowledge,,so dear friends superstitions are not superstitions,,of course ,,finally anybody want to say superstition ,first prove it,,for that you should know all knowledge,if one can tell with whole heart without cheating that he knows everything,then only he can tell any thing superstitions,,till then it is a mystery good or bad wee know,,but we have to follow and w care following ,, finally i ask a simple question,you cannot see air,doest it mean that you say there is no air in this universe as you cannot see with your naked eye,no!!!!,, therefore it is a long process and till we know it is wrong let us follow all the age old traditions ,only for our welfare,,,,rest there is a universal truth , you reap what ever you sow,,so let the people follow who want to follow,and let others leave who want to reap the bad results

lex123 profile image

lex123 4 years ago Author

Thanks abilash for reading adding your comment.

abilash 4 years ago

when there is lunar eclipse throw a hand full of rice in order to gain good luck

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lex123 5 years ago Author

Thank you for reading this hub and leaving your comment. I was not aware of this belief. Hope it will add value to the article.

DilpreetDahFreshbOIondablok 5 years ago

This was very informative article ....

By the way I have one to add. You forgot that if the brahmins die, the 3 generation will suffer

lex123 profile image

lex123 5 years ago Author

Thank vrajavala for your insightful comments. It definitely adds value to the hub.

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 5 years ago from Port St. Lucie

JUST LIKE THERE ARE SOME IN ALL CUTURES WHO DO NOT MAKE A VOCATION OF STUDYING THE sCRIPTURES, THERE ARE THOSE IN iNDIA WHo do not study the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, superstitions are prevalent amongst thodse groups who may have folklore and oral traditions as their mainstay.

I do not think that the majority of Hinu people fall into this class.

BTW, astrology is not a superstition, but was spoken by the great sage Parasara Muni over 5000 years ago, and is based on the precise movement of the planets.

lex123 profile image

lex123 5 years ago Author

Thanks Nell for your visit and the encouraging comments. I do agree that not only in India, in many other countries too the age-old superstitions continue to a certain extent, which cannot be ignored easily. As you rightly said there must be a reason for them. Thanks again.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I think superstition is something that will always be in your country, and of course mine. however the world progresses I think we all have that basic genetic memory of how it used to be, and maybe there is a reason for them that we have forgotten! great hub thanks nell

nancy 5 years ago

look people i really dnt undrstand hw cum after being educated u all still believe in these superstition....according to me superstition are nt to be paid much heed and jst believe in urself...

Varma 5 years ago

Hello guys....

I trust most of the beliefs.I need a favor from you guys..Actually there is a black Street cat which live on the walls of my house.It roam around the balcony of my house.Its not leaving My place.I want it to leave from my place.I tried my best but its negative.So if you guys know any trick to make it leave from my house please lemme know.

Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 6 years ago

Every culture has their own beliefs and superstitions and while I'm not prone to be superstitious, ocassionally I will cross my fingers behind my back, pick up a penny and knock on wood. I enjoyed learning about Indias'. Nice hub.

lex123 profile image

lex123 6 years ago Author

You're very true images99. That is the way!

images99 6 years ago

They may sound surprising to some but that's how they are, nice collection.

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