Superstition runs rampant within our nepali culture and society, especially within our families. In fact every time I hear one, the next time I do something the superstition I heard in relation to the activity comes back to haunt me. Why do we follow superstition? Is it good? Is it bad? Most of all it is addictive
Some of the ones I hear in my house are :
- why are your fingers pointing outwards when you are eating by hand? That indicates you will eat whoever you are pointing it to(hang on, I am not a cannibal yet, then too I wouldn’t eat you…)
- Don’t use the broom to sweep at night- laxmi ghar dekhi bahira jancha (I love money too much, I am not taking any risks’ as it is Laxmi tends to run away from me)
- Only a witch cuts her hair at night- erm…
- If a woman’s feet are twisted around; so back to front etc they are a chudel- wooooo…no comment
- If a lemlemay (ban jhakri’s estranged wife) chases you have to run straight; their boobs are massive apparently if you run uphill they will put it over their shoulders and run after you- this is scary stuff, hope none of you have ever been chased by one before, I can’t even begin to imagine what a lemlemay with boobs dragging to the ground looks like…
We are all familiar with the one concerning a certain black cat crossing your path. Woe betide you should such an unfortunate thing happen to you. Let me demonstrate a while ago as a teenager in Kathmandu I witnessed this first hand. It was a busy and crowded ring road in Jawlakhel, I was taking a leisurely stroll in the heat and dust sucking a kulfi with my cousin. The air was filled with honks, street vendors and traffic. All of a sudden the bustling in the busy road stopped. The micro buses came to a halt, the students walking merrily on the road froze, passer by’s stood still and stared. It was a pretty confusing sight, till I saw a black cat slowly glide cross the road from side to the other.
Traffic and people had stopped on opposite sites facing each other- the cat had divided the road neatly into two halves. I stared and stared, I was bewildered that such an animal and concept had such a big impact on people. This evil was only lifted once a poor ignorant man riding a bike continued to cycle and broke the invisible line that the black cat had erected. Then, I could hear lamentations of how much bad luck would follow the bike ridden wretched soul but things got back into full swing and all was normal again. In hindsight it seems ridiculous that people live by such unspoken and orthodox rules, but when a black cat crosses my path it always makes me think twice.