List of superstitions in India

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The following are the common superstitions of India.


  • Rahukaalam (or Rahu kala) is an inauspicious period of time every day.[1]
  • A person born under the influence of Mars is called a manglik or having Mangal Dosha. People avoid marrying such a person, especially if the person is a woman. Marriage with such a person is believed to cause marital discord and divorce, even sometimes death. However, it is believed that if two mangliks marry, the effects of both cancel out.[2][3]


  • It is believed that snakes can drink milk. During the festival of Nag Panchami, snakes are captured and force-fed milk. As a result, several thousand snakes die annually.[4][5]
  • To see a peacock before a journey is considered auspicious.[6]
  • In some parts it is believed that if 3 lizards come towards you, it is sign of marriage but if 4 or more lizards come towards you, it is a sign of upcoming death.[7]
  • If a black cat or simply a cat crosses ones way, it is treated to be a sign of bad luck.[8]

Luck and auspiciousness[edit]

  • Adding one rupee to a gift sum is auspicious, i.e., sums like 21 or 101 rupees or 501 rupees are considered more auspicious than say 20 or 100.[9][10]
  • There are several methods of warding of an "evil eye". Lemon-and-chilli totems are a common method.[11]
  • Mothers put kohl on their babies' face, to ward off evil eye, by making it imperfect.[12]
  • In some parts of India, it is considered inauspicious to sweep the floor at night.[13]
  • Widows are considered inauspicious in many parts of India.[14]
  • Saturdays are considered very inauspicious, as it is associated with the god Shani (Saturn).[15]
  • It is believed that looking in a broken mirror may bring bad luck.[16]
  • People don't shave, get a haircut or cut their nails on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday believing that it will invite bad luck.[8]
  • Married women should put red vermilion in the middle parting of their head to keep their husbands safe.
  • In northern india married women should always wear toe-ring for her husband's health
  • A married women should always wear something in neck,hands for the longetivity of their husbands

Ghosts and other supernatural beings[edit]

  • Peepul trees are believed to be the abode of ghosts and they are avoided at night.[17] Banyan trees are also believed to be inhabited by malevolent spirits.[18]
  • Spirit possessions are also reported frequently in India. Exorcisms may be used to ward off the spirit.[19]

It is believed that a possessed person can be healed by a mere look at a picture of Hanuman or Narasimha or a chant of their names.

It is believed that when you keep sindur or vermilion next to a person's bed overnight and it turns black the next morning, then the person is possessed.


  • Belief in witches is common in some parts of India. Witches are believed to be capable of killing cattle and humans, destroying crops and causing illness. Witch-hunts have been known to happen.[20]
  • In parts of Jharkhand, it is believed that if the name of a witch is written on a branch of a Sal tree, the branch would wither away.[20] Witchcraft is illegal in India.

Sexuality and reproduction[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Superstition spikes as Indian elections near". Al Jazeera. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "A priest online". The Hindu. 21 April 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Mars attacks the wedding season". IBNLive. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Snakes rescued ahead of Nag Panchami". The Times of India. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Snakes get no milk of human kindness". 12 August 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Krishna Lal (2006). Peacock in Indian Art, Thought and Literature. Abhinav Publications. p. 38. ISBN 978-81-7017-429-5. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Cora Linn Daniels, C. M. Stevans. "Encyclopfdia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences(Volume 2)". p. 658. 
  8. ^ a b "13 most enduring superstitions". India Today. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  9. ^ Dheeraj Sinha (14 February 2011). Consumer India: Inside the Indian Mind and Wallet. John Wiley & Sons. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-470-82632-4. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Jeffrey G. Snodgrass Associate Professor of Anthropology Colorado State University (17 July 2006). Casting Kings : Bards and Indian Modernity: Bards and Indian Modernity. Oxford University Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-19-804140-5. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Joanne O'Sullivan (1 March 2010). Book of Superstitious Stuff. Charlesbridge Publishing. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-60734-367-7. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Margo DeMello (14 February 2012). Faces around the World. ABC-CLIO. p. 197. ISBN 978-1-59884-618-8. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  13. ^ S. W. Fallon; Faqir Chand (Lala.) (1998). A dictionary of hindustani proverbs: including many Marwari, Panjabi, Maggah, Bhojpuri, and Tirhuti proverbs, sayings, emblems, aphorisms, maxims, and similes. Asian Educational Services. p. 194. ISBN 978-81-206-0663-0. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Robyn Ryle (25 January 2011). Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration. SAGE Publications. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-4129-6594-1. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Carol E. Henderson (2002). Culture and Customs of India. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-313-30513-9. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  16. ^ Xavier William (December 2005). World Religions, True Beliefs and New Age Spirituality: A New Age Study on How Economic Tides and Parental Conditioning Mold Our World of Ethics, Religions, Beliefs, Sex and Relationships ¿. iUniverse. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-595-37770-1. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  17. ^ David L. Haberman (25 April 2013). People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India. Oxford University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-19-992917-7. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  18. ^ Gary R. Varner (2007). Creatures in the Mist: Little People, Wild Men and Spirit Beings Around the World : a Study in Comparative Mythology. Algora Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-87586-545-4. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Jane Dyson (15 June 2013). "Living with ghosts in the Himalayas". BBC News. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Witch hunting: Victims of superstition". Live Mint. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  21. ^ Yamini Deenadayalan (5 Nov 2011). "The Importance of Being My Doctor". Tehelka. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  22. ^ Amrit Dhillon (28 Feb 2013). "What the sex doctor orders". Amrit Dhillon. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "Dhat syndrome. A sex neurosis of the Indian subcontinent.". British Journal of Psychiatry. 156 (Apr 1990): 577–579. doi:10.1192/bjp.156.4.577. PMID 2386873. 

Further reading[edit]