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 ?

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    • profile image

      ayesha 4 weeks ago

      good work

    • profile image

      Thabks 5 weeks ago

      Thanks google its all about my project

    • profile image

      meme master 3 months ago

      nice for my project :D

      helpful 100%

    • profile image

      JR 3 months ago

      Useful for my essay Thanks

    • profile image

      Sarah 14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Pakhee 17 months ago

      Superstition is the religion of feeble minds. This

    • profile image

      Pakhee 17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      paria 18 months ago

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

    • profile image

      amna 2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      simran 2 years ago

      nice it is useful for my project

    • profile image

      raza 2 years ago


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      Humaira 2 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

      Paranjothi 2 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

      naman 2 years ago

      Superrrrrrr....its helpful fr writing my essay

    • profile image

      Zac 2 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

      akshi 3 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 3 years ago

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

      its really a good one....

    • profile image

      Taylor 3 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 4 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!

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      ego night 4 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 4 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 image

      Valeed 7 years ago from Pakistan

      @ beth100 and wilderness. Thanks for your comments :)

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 7 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

      Beth100 7 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 image

      Valeed 7 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 7 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.