Superstitions - define it. A cultural or religious belief? Old wives' tales? Mumbo jumbo?
I don't know about you, but I enjoy investigating the roots of certain 'superstitious' beliefs, to learn how they come about, and whether they make sense, before choosing to follow or not.
People in the past were seemingly closer to the various Gods and Deities they worshipped, and thus claimed to know what angered the Gods and Deities - therefore people refrained from getting on the offensive. Generations later, people are still warning of the offending acts for fear of provoking the Gods and Deities - but we are more educated now. We question if such beliefs are in fact superficial, bred out of ignorance, or if the original beliefs have been altered along the centuries through word of (mortals) mouths.
Having said that, I fully appreciate that there are other beings on this earth and other realms. I have personally encountered some - but this shall be a separate topic for another day.
There are many taboos associated with death, many restrictions for the living family members associated with someone who has just passed on. It is believed that immediate family members should observe 1 to 3 years of mourning, during which there should not be celebratory events or attendance of the same, including gifting. That is due to the beliefs that (i) the mourners bring about 'ill luck' or 'darkness' and (ii) a sign of respect for the deceased.
However, I note that there is no restriction on the mourners receiving gifts for birthdays and anniversaries. Intense research did not bring about convincing theories.
Which leads me to wonder - did the people of the past forbid celebrations purely due to financial constraints? See, funeral ceremonies of the past used to be very elaborate, and would have cost an exorbitant sum of money. In order for the family to recover from this expense, they refrain from spending money on organising soirees or giving gifts, on the pretext that they were "not supposed to do so".
These days, with an active mix and influence from many other cultures and religions, could one still keep to the rigid standards of observing the 'proper mourning rites'? Say, if I have a family member whose culture renders us "unfavourable" to be associated with the dead; and I have another family member whose culture believes that the dead becomes godforms or angels upon death - and these 2 family members happen to perish on the same day. Does that make us - the surviving family members - potential bringers of darkness or relations of angels? Should we be shunned or welcomed into homes warmly?
I don't know about you, but I believe mourning properly does not mean you need to be seen solemn all the time - you can cry nightly before bed but who needs to see that? To commemorate the dead and let their spirits live on, we should live our lives more meaningfully, bringing their teachings in life with us and sharing their stories to the future generations.
The other absurd superstition I feel very strongly against is the taboo against menstruating women.
No, don't be startled, you should have heard or read that in some countries and religions, women having their periods are "dirty" and "impure", and are thus ostracized, or refused into places of worship, etc.
For those who have zero idea of why and how menstruation occurs, well I summarize it in layman's terms as such - the monthly breakdown of unfertilized eggs in our bodies, thus we shed them out - in fact a beautiful, natural form of cleansing. And one of the necessary processes to ensure that we are fit and healthy to create lifeforms such as you and I here today.
So in a nutshell, no menstruations - no you nor I. Sorry if it sounds coarse, but ask any female and they should not hesitate to agree.
For a pre-teen female, the anticipation of her very first menses is exciting, the affirmation that she has grown into a healthy, proper lady and a new stage of life. It is a beautiful beginning.
For any adult female who does not suffer from irregular menses or has not cut / tied her fallopian tubes, this process is vital to assure us that we are fit and equipped with the necessary means to conceive. The day we stop having it (other than pregnancy) means that we have been infected, our body is not functioning well or we have reached a non-productive age. Now isn't any of that scary?
So, a lady having her period is a sacred process; a form of inconvenience we have learned to brave monthly for the greater good of continuing the human race. Whoever still believes this is "impure", search your souls and ask yourselves if you could've handled it as well as the females if you ever have the chance to bleed this way.
Conclusion / Disclaimer
This article is not meant to offend any religion or culture, challenge any historical events nor the differences in individual's practices. The author herein hopes to inspire more thoughts and desire to seek the truths rather than blindly following anything at all - the latter of which may have dire consequences (think suicide bombings and amputation of albinos). Blind faith is never condoned. Dig deep.
Note: No part of this article may be copied or used without consent or crediting the author herein - copyright and all rights reserved.