Superstition is a widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief, Simply put superstitions are myth that are not true.
Superstitions can be traced back to several centuries ago when our ancestors tried to explain the mysterious occurrence of events given the limited scientific knowledge that existed.
In Africa, Nigerians are among some of the most superstitious people because there are many religious tribes. Among each tribe, there are various superstitions. It is however interesting to note that some superstitions are common across several Nigerian tribes, causing many to believe that there is an element of truth in them.
There is no scientific proof for superstitions, they have little or no common-sense, and they cannot be explained by human knowledge. They are naturally related to luck, ill-luck, future events, spiritual or religious inclinations. Many of these superstitions are taboos which are formulated and later become a tradition.
Some superstitions are to guide human behaviors, some are to improve human health while some are to make reference to gods.
It should be noted that superstitions are not restricted to Nigeria alone, Superstitions are a part of everyday life in almost all cultures of the world.
Here are few superstitions and why they exist, though some have non understandable reason for their existent
- Eating in the dark is forbidden. It is believed that such act could give room to the dead to eat with you and this could lead to your death or grave ailments. This is just to curb the habit of people eating in the dark.
- It is not a good idea to whistle at night. There is this belief that such whistling attracts snakes to the whistler. This is totally not true it’s just meant to stop people from disturbing others at night with whistling.
- Do not eat the food of a woman during her menstrual period, perhaps this belief came from the biblical perspective that women on their monthly periods are unclean. Eating the food of women during their periods is generally believed to reduce sexual potency and weaken any talisman used by the male. This belief is strongly held by the traditionalists in the Nigerian society. This is just to make people aware that some ladies do not clean up during the period and these dirty ladies food can be unhygienic.
- There are various versions to this particular superstition, but the most common one is that if someone crosses over your leg or generally any part of your body, the person has to cross over back the same way, or you will stop growing. According to some, you might lose that body part. This is just to prevent people from lying on pathways.
- Don’t stand in front of a mirror at night, else you will see evil spirits. This is not true it’s meant to stop kids from unnecessary use of mirrors at night.
- Don’t sleep in reverse positions or orientation with someone else on the bed. This is to prevent one from kicking the other in the head.
- Eat beans regularly, you’ll be as tall as you desired. This is partially true since beans is protein and a body building food but it still doesn’t guarantee being tall.
- Don’t eat chicken anus, else you will start gossiping about. This is meant to stop people from eating chicken anus because they may be unclean.
- Don’t drink the water from a coconut else you automatically become a dullard.
- Owls hooting on rooftop or on a nearby tree is a bad omen in the traditional Nigeria society as it is believed that someone in that house will soon die. In Nigerian and some other cultures, owls are symbolism of witchcraft and its cries are taken with tenacity.
- If you spit on the floor and someone steps on it you will have sore throat.
- It is believed that if a man is hit with a broom he becomes impotent until he retaliates by hitting the person back with a broom seven times.
- Don’t bend over and look through your legs in public, you may see witches.
- Don’t eat food in the pot, it’ll rain heavily on your wedding day.
- If you’re obsessed with the head of a fish. You’ll be a dull student.
- Don’t eat food that has fallen on the floor, Devil has eaten it already. This is to scare people as it’s unhygienic to eat food that has fallen down.
- If you put your eyelashes in your parent’s shoes, they will forget the offence you committed.
- When you cut your fingernails, make sure it’s disposed thoroughly or your destiny is at stake. This just meant to ensure proper disposal of fingernail.
- In a football match, bury the egg of a lizard at your goal post, your opponent will never score. Maybe the Nigerian football team should try this at the world cup next year in Russia.
Most of this superstitions may sound hilarious but they are just meant to instill discipline in us and also to caution us, a kid could get injured while trying to drink water from the coconut. Someone eating in the dark could mistakenly swallow those stubborn fish bones and flogging someone with broom doesn’t look nice because definitely you will have to remove broken broom sticks from the skin after the whipping, Spitting about isn’t hygienic at all and that superstition has actually helped a lot. Bending over could send blood straight to the brain and something bad can happen after that. Whether superstitions have reasons or not the baseline is they are generally not true.