Submitted By

Ganga S S

Roll Number: 1551






SL NO: Title Page No:

1 Introduction 4

2 Superstition 5

3 Spirituality 6

4 Folklore 8

5 Impact on society 9

6 Conclusion 10

7 Bibliography 11Introduction

Religion, superstitions and legends have played an important role in the society defining each individual’s behaviour and actions. As Merriam Webster dictionary says “Superstition is a belief that a certain event or thing that bring a good or bad luck.” The number thirteen, black cats braking mirrors or walking under ladders may all be things you actively avoid.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly superstitious person, you probably say “bless you” when someone sneezes, just in case the devil should decide to steal their soul as our ancestors thought possible during a sneeze. To my mind, being too superstitious is opposite of being materialistic and realistic. It’s interesting to notice that almost everybody is fairly superstitious, but life of a true superstitious person becomes a never ending fight against sober view of things.

Consequently, superstitions may become an obsession to a person and make his life a real nightmare, because he would notice superstitious everywhere around him. To my way of thinking, superstitions is a good example of a type of belief that one can choose not to be involved in. Though, those who chose to believe find their world delivering what they expect. The study of spirituality, superstitions and folklore has been around for years. Even though these are three different topics, they all relate along the lines of beliefs and traditions.

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For example, we may not know the originality of folklore and superstitions, but we know that these stories were told from some form of truth or the depths of somebody’s imagination. However the fact that these stories were told repeatedly, it is hard to believe that they were ever make believe. Superstitions are social phenomena and product of social context and conditions. Amongst the factors which provided the emerging field of social phenomena is the fear of human being from spiritual and material circumstances, precautions, reactions and human ignorance of reality during the history and transmission of superstitious ideas. Common people tend to superstition, because wisdom is usually difficult and troublesome. Therefore, humans prefer superstition to reasoning and imagination to the truth. However religion has always called them to reasoning. One of the issues that are occasionally considered is different kinds of superstition, subjective, objective, intellectual, behavioural and rate of its prevalence in the public. Those who fear from the presence of superstitious in the community, they have at least two growing concerns: first, negative consequence and results of superstition in understanding the reality, wisely organization of the life and social relations, and secondly, from their view, growth, spread and influence of superstition in different fields of life and when the scientific thought and religious life become infected with this virus which is frustrating.


There is no single definition for superstition, it generally means a belief in supernatural forces such as fate the desire to influence unpredictable factors and a need to resolve uncertainty. In this way individual beliefs and experiences drive superstitions which explains why they are generally irrational and often challenge current scientific wisdom. In Dehkhoda dictionary meaning of superstition is distracted and irrelevant speech. This word is the plural form of “Kharafe” which means “collecting the fruits” and name of a man from the Azreh tribe. People did not believe him and said that he always said nonsense. According to Robert Ingersoll superstitions are believing to phenomenon that there is no experimental evidence for them, estimating a mystery by another mystery, believing that the world is directed by chance, offering the thoughts, desires and intentions with reference to their original nature; belief in the supernatural, miracle, magic and divination. According to him, superstition is based on ignorance and its infrastructure and origin are false hopes.

Superstition is any belief or practice that is considered irrational or supernatural for example, if it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a positive belief in fate or magic or fear of that which is unknown. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy, and certain spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events. The word superstition is often used to refer to a religion not practiced by the majority of a given society regardless of whether the prevailing religion contains alleged superstitions. Illiterate and weak-minded people all over the world often are prone to superstitions. Their lives are ruled by them and they pace their actions on the various superstitious beliefs. Superstitious people can be called backward. They tend to interpret every phenomenon irrationally. They assess a happening illogically and even guide their actions on the basis of these beliefs. Although most people know that superstitions are based on imagination and are nowhere close to the truth, but quite a few people are still guided by superstitions.

Causes of superstition

Superstition arises from ignorance. It is a child of fear as well. Superstition is generally a legacy of our ancient civilization. But it is strange that the advancement of science and modern education cannot eradicate superstition. An ignorant man cannot understand the cause of lighting and thunder. He invents an imaginary explanation for the happening. He thinks that some unseen power is behind these natural events. There are people who believe in ghosts and spirits. They also believe in witch-craft. They think that the power of mantras controls everything. So ignorance is the cause of superstition. Most of us are superstitious in some way or the other. It sometimes survives even in scholars and learned persons. An internationally reputed Hindu philosopher may object to his daughter’s marriage with fine specimen of a boy who belongs to the opposite community. People are not able to overcome the traditional snag of the past.

Superstitious behaviours have been used to reduce anxiety, build confidence, and cope with uncertainty, giving the illusion of control over reinforcement in an uncontrollable situation. The purpose of this study was to obtain data about the topic of superstition, superstitious beliefs and their effect on young people. The study examined the belief and interest of Maltese young people in superstition and the impact superstition had on their lives. The study explored where participants perceive happenings and success or failure as being of their own making rather than that of fate, fortune or misfortune, hexes, curses, the evil eye and so forth.


Spirituality is a broad concept with many perspectives from many people. The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time and various connotations can be found alongside each other. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. In general, it includes a sense of connection. Spirituality does not mean any particular practice. It is a certain way of being. To get there, there are many things to do. This is like a garden in your house. If the soil, sunlight or stem of a plant is in a certain way, it won’t yield flowers, you have to do something. You have to take care of those things. So if you cultivate your body, mind, emotions and energies to a certain level of maturity, something else blossoms within you that is what spirituality is. When your rationale is immature, it doubts everything. When your rationale matures, it sees everything in a completely different light. To something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. Spirituality can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s primarily about participation in organized religion. For others, it’s a non-religious experience that involves getting in touch with their spiritual selves through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or time in nature.

According to Kees Waaijman, the traditional meaning of spirituality is a process of re-formation which aims to recover the original shape of man, the image of God. To accomplish this, the re-formation is oriented at a mould, which represents the original shape: in Judaism the Torah, in Christianity there is Christ, for Buddhism, Buddha, and in Islam, Muhammad.Houtman and Aupers suggest that modern spirituality is a blend of humanistic psychology, mystical and esoteric traditions and Eastern religions. Religion revolves around the belief in one god manifest within the creation as an identity, who gives rules to be followed and that either rewards or punishes according to how well one follows those rules. It involves large groups of people meeting together as a form of worshipping that god. One of its symbols is a man beaten and bloody, hanging by a cross. Spirituality is the process of seeking within oneself the connection to divine mind. It has nothing to do with belief, and everything to do with awakening higher reasoning and comprehension that is verified via one’s own being. Spirituality activates the connection of disconnected DNA strands via the incremental increase in the frequency of thought.

Mahatma Buddha was probably the first great man to expound and explain the value and significance of reason which eliminated superstition altogether. He emphasized that everything should be thoroughly studied, judged and tested before being believed. Later, many other great men like Guru Nanak and Kabir exhorted the people to shun superstitions. Many people may believe that faith is also a form of superstition. But, as we can see if we think deeply, there is a difference. Faith is a positive factor whereas superstition is a negative factor. Earlier, superstition was rampant in villages. The belief in ghosts was common. It was believed that these ghosts operated at night and that they were visible to some people and invisible to others. Taking advantage of this many clever men burned into tan tricks and controllers of ghosts. They cheated the gullible villagers. Unfortunately, even at present, such clever men are at work. Psychologically, the sense of insecurity, fear of ill luck and the dread of inexplicable forces in nature give birth to superstitions. Superstitions may differ from place to place, community to community and country to country, yet they have common origins. They originate from fear and lack of knowledge of things. When some phenomena cannot be explained and understood, people start fearing them and assign them divine and mysterious origins. In ancient times all races and people were governed by superstitions. We should try to develop a scientific spirit of mind and judge everything on the basis of reason


Psychologically, the sense of insecurity, fear of ill luck and the dread of inexplicable forces in nature give birth to superstitions. Superstitions may differ from place to place, community to community and country to country, yet they have common origins. They originate from fear and lack of knowledge of things. When some phenomena cannot be explained and understood, people start fearing them and assign them divine and mysterious origins. In ancient times all races and people were governed by superstitions. The concept of folklore emerged in Europe midway in the nineteenth century. Originally it connoted tradition, ancient customs and surviving festivals, old ditties and dateless ballads, archaic myths, legends and fables, and timeless tales, and proverbs. As these narratives rarely stood the tests of common sense and experience, folklore also implied irrationality: beliefs in ghosts and demons, fairies and goblins, sprites and spirits; it referred to credence in omens, amulets, and talismans. From the perspective of the urbane literati, who conceived the idea of folklore, these two attributes of traditionalists and irrationality could pertain only to peasant or primitive societies. Hence they attributed to folklore a third quality: rurality. The countryside and the open space of wilderness was folklore’s proper breeding ground. Man’s close contact with nature in villages and hunting bands was considered the ultimate source of his myth and poetry. As an outgrowth of the human experience with nature, folklore itself was thought to be a natural expression of man before city, commerce, civilization, and culture contaminated the purity of his life.

Folklore consists of the concrete, verbal, auditory, kinetic, and behavioural artefacts that can be described as instantiations of any group’s culture. People use folklore to connect to their past, but also as resources to accomplish particular goals through performance and communication in present social settings. In 1938, the Progressive scholar-activist Benjamin Botkin, who was national folklore editor of the Depression era Federal Writers Project, usefully defined folklore as a body of traditional belief, custom, and expression passed down by word of mouth outside of commercial and academic communications. This definition serves to highlight the expression and authority of folklore as existing independent of both popular and elite dominant culture as it is perpetuated through the mass media and schools. At the same time, however, folklore can be used and spread through the media and schools in order to bolster the authority of officials and to lend credibility to their claims. The nature of folklore as separate from both popular culture and elite culture, as well as the way folklore has been used in popular and elite versions in order to create a sense of national identity, makes the discipline of folklore a useful complement to the disciplinary approaches more widely used in the study of the social and cultural foundations of education.

Impact on society

If we study the advent of the superstitions we can find an answer to this question. Believe it or not, stress makes people “more superstitious”. People feel very desperate to find reasons for all the misfortunes they come across. Being superstitious helps those to hide their mistakes by blaming luck, which according to them no one can control except God. New studies have revealed that stress makes people not only believe in rituals but also in conspiracy theories and as a result, they are more likely to “see” things that actually do not exist. A feeling of lack of control over their life fuels many people’s desire to impose order and structure on the world. The less control people have over their lives, the more likely they are to try to regain control through mental gymnastics. Feelings of control are so essential to people that a lack of control is menacing. While some misperceptions can be bad or lead one astray, they are awfully common and most likely satisfy a deep and enduring psychological need.

In 1910, the Encyclopaedia Britannica confidently declared that in the near future, civilization has cleared from the last ghost of superstition, people still fear of some numbers, broken mirror, black cat, and believe in signs and talismans. Furthermore, in our enlightened age almost impossible to find a person who has absolutely no faith in these or other signs. People do not abandon superstitions. We continue to run off from black cats, getting upset when the mirror is broken and knock a wood to protect us from wickedness. What is behind these? Believe in incredible and often magical typical for people of different gender, age, social status. Superstition is caused by uncertainty against unknown forces and it brings rather an unexpected effect; prolongs the life. A human always sought to ensure that defends itself. In response to the potential threat, people thereby prepare themselves to ensure that meet the real danger. In ancient times, a human lived in a world full of uncertain. Therefore, in every culture developed and distributed the rituals and rules of interaction with the unknown. The behaviour of a superstitious human is driven by the desire to get rid of variety of fears, often irrational, inexplicable. 


. A scientific attitude can help overcome superstition to some extent. Superstition must be treated as an anachronism, as a relic of past times. Taking recourse to reason alone can help dispel superstition. One must make a conscious effort to avoid servile attachment to mindless, illogical rituals and not to treat everything as an, outcome of working of providence or supernatural powers, but rather as a consequence of our own past actions. People have actually failed to draw a line between religious faith and blind faith. We regard certain hours and days as inauspicious and thus, consult astrologers to know the lucky days and hours to start our work and journey. Similarly, the time and date of marriage are fixed according to the advice of astrologers and the positions of the planets and stars. The need of the hour is to cultivate more and more rationality and scientific approach in things, including those that are mysterious. We must be alert and watchful so that none of the superstitions can dominate our abilities of reasoning. The only remedy of these superstitious blind beliefs is education and social awareness. The children also should be taught about science and reason. Finally only parents should guide them properly and they also should not encourage any kinds of blind belief and superstitious practices at home. Thus, it is fear which gave rise to superstition.



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Sociology project. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

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