Be it East or West, superstitions have been around for centuries in all cultures. Puzzling as they may be, such practices are an integral part of our society and culture even today. Although, one might argue that in the eyes of science these beliefs are irrational, there are those who bestow their trust upon them. Warding off an evil eye with red chilies may be the popular one in India, but the “progressive West” too seems to suffer from its fair share of strange and funny superstitions. Some engage in them for fun, others take it quite seriously. Each European country has it´s own and here are some popular German ones :
1.Wishing someone “Happy Birthday” in advance is thought to bring bad luck, so it is an absolute No-No if you are living in Germany.
2.If you shy from an eye contact while toasting drinks with a “Cheers/ Prost”, you invite 7 years of bad sex.
3.Lighting your cigarette with a candle causes a sailor to die.
4.Shaking the chimney sweep’s hand invites good luck.
5. Never gift knives unless of course it is a knife token.
Of course there are even stranger ones, and equally weird customs too. From sweeping the Mayor´s step if you are unmarried at 30 to gifting a wallet with a penny, the list is simply inexhaustible. Trust me, it has more takers than one might otherwise generally assume. So the next time someone points a finger at some “weird Indian superstition” you know exactly what to say. Superstitions simply arise because of a wanting for more control or certainty in the things we do. Most of us tend to look for some kind of a ritual or protocol by which we can better our chances and in this quest sometimes the creation of a false certainty appears better than no certainty at all. A sense of security and confidence are perhaps the greatest benefits we get emotionally from superstitious thinking or behavior – like carrying an object or wearing an item of clothing that you deem to be lucky. It is practically impossible to find a society , however progressed it may be , with absolutely no superstitions. The larger question therefore is – where to draw the red line ? . The answer is simple – Is a particular superstition hurting you or the people around you ? . If yes, probably that superstition needs to go down the drain, if not, let it remain, who cares.