We have a dear friend to our family who has had a baby just a week ago. We went to visit her in hospital on the day the little girl was born and Ramona went several times afterwards, too, to see how she and the baby were. Yesterday she asked whether the doctor had told when they could go home. Our friend answered ‘He was not sure but it will be either on Friday or on Sunday.’ Jokingly, Ramona answered ‘Okay, how come? They don’t discharge people on Saturdays?’ Well, they do, but what Ramona did not know was that the family believes in some very common Indian superstition – and part of that is that it is bad luck to come home on Saturdays.
This is not something that is believed all over India! This is the belief in the family of our friends and maybe in the surrounding area here. If you just travel some kilometers further, you will probably find someone telling you that you should not come home on Wednesdays – but Saturdays are fine! Every area has its own superstitions and if you ask the elderly or families where such superstitions are kept alive, they can tell you many further rules.
Here are just some further examples: You should not cut your hair or beard on Thursdays. On Saturdays you should not buy iron or oil. It is bad luck to make a payment on a Thursday and on New Moon Days one should not embark on any journey.
If you go to the root, you will find that religious scriptures are mainly responsible for creating this superstition. Many scriptures are very precise, telling on exactly which date you should not go in eastern direction from your house for example. With the development of language and culture however, thousands of different rules have emerged.
I actually never believed in such superstition, even when I was very religious, but of course you get to know about it when people in your surrounding warn you of doing certain things on certain days. For Ramona it was a fully new concept when she came to India but living here you get to know that some people have the idea of doing things at the right time, which is called ‘Muhurat’ and that there is also the opposite of it, when you should specifically not do something.
Yesterday again she asked me, fully in surprise: ‘So they would really pay more money for staying another night in hospital just because of this?’ You can ask this for all these rules: would you really delay your journey for a day just because it is New Moon? You urgently need oil but it is Saturday, do you really have to wait another day?
For religious people who believe in such things, the answer is simply ‘yes’. It is just out of question. There is the belief that it brings bad luck and that something bad might happen if you don’t follow those rules. There is the fear that your house would break down if you bought your iron on Saturday for example! Now if you can wait one day, why to take the risk? And if you yourself don’t believe in it and ignore the rule and some day something happens to the house, people will blame you for buying the iron on the wrong day!
It is again just a matter of fear and believing in things that nobody can prove. As someone who has never believed in it, I am not affected but I would like to tell people not to live in such fear. It is not a Thursday or a Saturday that creates a catastrophe! Don’t make yourself crazy because of this. It is only nonsense, coming from a time when people did not know it better!