Superstitions are a topic that at some point has touched all of us closely; then we must decide whether to believe or discard them, and, to be honest, throwing away years of popular ‘wisdom’ can make us falter.
But superstition has not been understood in the same way throughout time: at the beginning of Christianity, superstitious people were those who were attached to paganism and practiced its rites. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, superstition was associated with the way of thinking of uneducated people, a conception that survives in our times. Finally, with the witch hunt initiated by the religious power, superstition is linked to the satanic cult.
Thus, over time have developed most dissimilar superstitions that we follow blindly without knowing what their origin is. For example, the idea of starting the day on the right foot comes from the fishermen who always had to board the boat on the right side, since everything related to the left side was considered unnatural and demonic.
The seven years of bad luck when breaking a mirror comes from the idea that the reflected image is a version of the soul, therefore, by breaking it, we are harming ourselves. The good luck that the horseshoe brings comes from the fact that in the past many nobles put golden shoes on some of their horses, so for a peasant, finding a horseshoe was equivalent to the smile of the goddess fortune.
And so they can be mentioned: the fear of Friday the 13th, the fear of spilling salt, not opening the umbrella under a roof, the fear of black cats… and the count goes on… almost infinitely.
But… why are these superstitions kept alive?
Because people since time immemorial have a tendency to establish cause-effect relationships, we try to find an explanation for each fact but on many occasions the answer is not in our hands or beyond our understanding, in which case we resort to magical explanations.
Then, these explanations are passed from generation to generation and are assumed without questioning them or asking about their origin. Subsequently, these beliefs are activated in situations over which we have no control or plausible explanations. It is a tendency to eliminate uncertainty and provide a certain degree of security. Many people think: “If I follow this ritual everything will be fine”, “If I start out on the right foot everything will be perfect”…
However… how effective are these routines or superstitious beliefs?
When the persons says phrases like the previous ones, they can encourage them and reinforce their self-confidence; in short, they can favor a positive attitude to face situations that produce some fear. However, relying only on magical or superstitious rituals leads us to place the responsibility for our actions on destiny and therefore, we become puppets of a power external to ourselves.