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 celestial bodies define our fate based on birth time. NASA states that astrology is pseudoscience.


  • 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 one's way, it is treated to be a sign of bad luck.[8]
  • Puppy pregnancy syndrome is a psychosomatic illness in humans brought on by mass hysteria.[9] It is far more prevalent in areas with little access to education.[9] People suffering from this condition believe that shortly after being bitten by a dog, puppies are conceived within their abdomen.[9]

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.[10][11]
  • There are several methods of warding off an "evil eye". Lemon-and-chilli totems are a common method.[12]
  • Mothers put kohl on their babies' face, to ward off evil eye, by making it imperfect.[13]
  • In some parts of India, it is considered inauspicious to sweep the floor at night.[14]
  • It is believed that If a cat crosses the path of a person, it is said to bring bad luck.
  • It is believed that if a person sneezes when starting anything, will invite bad luck.
  • Widows are considered inauspicious in many parts of Northern India.[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 or Saturday believing that it will invite bad luck.[8]
  • According to hindu beliefs meat should not be consumed on Tuesday or Saturday.[17]
  • Shaking legs is considered to invite bad luck.
  • If someone sneezes before you’re about to travel or do something important, it is a bad omen.
  • If the right eye of a girl twitches it means something bad will happen and left eye twitching is believed as something good is going to happen. For men, it's just the opposite of girls
  • Falling of a lizard on head is considered auspicious for the person.
  • Person experiencing nightmares very frequently is a bad sign.
  • People keep a small knife called khanjar below their pillow to avoid nightmares.
  • People bathe after funerals as it is believed they get inauspicious and bring negative energies home, therefore they bathe before entering the house.
  • People going to a new workplace or going to some place new are offered sweets like sweet curd, jaggery as it is considered auspicious.
  • Hindu people believe that we should not sleep keeping our legs in south direction as it is considered as the direction of God of death and we invite bad luck doing so.

Ghosts and other supernatural beings[edit]

  • Peepul trees are believed to be the abode of ghosts and they are avoided at night.[18] Banyan trees are also believed to be inhabited by malevolent spirits.[19]
  • Spirit possessions are also reported frequently in India. Exorcisms may be used to ward off the spirit.[20]

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.[21]
  • 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.[21] 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. ^ a b c Rahman, Shaikh Azizur (December 31, 2012). "Medicine challenges Indian superstition". Deutsche Welle World. Retrieved March 26, 2013. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Joanne O'Sullivan (1 March 2010). Book of Superstitious Stuff. Charlesbridge Publishing. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-60734-367-7. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Margo DeMello (14 February 2012). Faces around the World. ABC-CLIO. p. 197. ISBN 978-1-59884-618-8. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Robyn Ryle (25 January 2011). Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration. SAGE Publications. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-4129-6594-1. 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. ^ "Why is Eating Non-vegetarian Food On Tuesday A Sin In Hindu Religion?". 4 September 2017. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Jane Dyson (15 June 2013). "Living with ghosts in the Himalayas". BBC News. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Witch hunting: Victims of superstition". Live Mint. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Yamini Deenadayalan (5 Nov 2011). "The Importance of Being My Doctor". Tehelka. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  23. ^ Amrit Dhillon (28 Feb 2013). "What the sex doctor orders". Amrit Dhillon. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  24. ^ "Dhat syndrome. A sex neurosis of the Indian subcontinent.". British Journal of Psychiatry. 156 (Apr 1990): 577–579. PMID 2386873. doi:10.1192/bjp.156.4.577.

Further reading[edit]