Nepali Superstitions and Old Wives’ Tales

In our country, people follow a lot of superstitions in their day to day lives. Many beliefs have been passed down from generation to generation and people follow them blindly. Our culture and traditions are shrouded in mysticism and for many people, superstitions have become a way of life, although there is no logical explanation as to how these beliefs came into practice. Let alone uneducated people, even educated people believe in a lot of superstitions. While some beliefs are seemingly harmless, some have serious ramifications. For example, women being ostracized and tortured after being accused of being witches. Such irrational beliefs must be done away with as they are nothing but social evils.

Here, I have listed some superstitions and old wives’ tales that I know of, that are practiced quite frequently and even unconsciously as people have become habituated to them. The ones I have listed are for the most part harmless, and some may even sound weird or funny. I hope you enjoy going through them:

  • Don’t cut your nails at night.
  • Don’t whistle in the house.
  • Don’t comb your hair at night.
  • Three people should not go three separate ways from the same house on the same day.
  • If you see a black cat crossing the road, it brings bad luck.
  • Don’t return home on a Tuesday.
  • Don’t leave the house on a Saturday or a Wednesday.
  • Don’t wash your face at night. (Or else you’ll get a really old husband)
  • Bending too low while eating is said to bring bad luck.
  • Don’t laugh too much or else you’ll have to cry later.
  • If your hand itches, you will lose money.
  • Seeing money in your dreams is thought to be a bad omen. (‘Dashaa laageko’)
  • If you hear a dog howling, it’s a bad omen.
  • It’s considered unlucky if a rooster crows inside the house.

  • A broken mirror or glass will bring bad luck.
  • If food gets spilt after cooking, it is considered to be a bad omen.
  • Don’t play with fire or you’ll urinate in bed while sleeping.
  • Don’t sit with your hand on your forehead, it brings bad luck. (‘Alachhin’)
  • It’s unlucky to return home on the 9th day or the 9th month (9 days or 9 months after leaving home.)
  • If you touch your neck with your fingers, you have to blow a puff of air on your fingers or else you’ll get a throat disease.
  • If you talk about something bad then you have to spit 2-3 times (to get rid of the bad words).
  • Odd numbers of servings of rice or food (like 3 or 5 servings) is considered unlucky; it should be even numbered (2 or 4 servings).
  • While giving someone food items such as “sel roti” you should never give half pieces- its bad luck.
  • If someone asks for a knife, don’t give it directly in the persons’ hand. Just place it next to them and let them pick it up themselves.
  • Seeing your house falling apart in your dream is a bad omen.
  • Seeing your teeth falling in your dreams is a bad omen.
  • If you see someone dying in your dreams, that person will have a long life.
  • If you see fire in your dreams, you’ll have a fight with someone.
  • If you see a bad dream, don’t mention it to anyone. Instead, when you go to

    the restroom to excrete, say whatever you saw in the dream out loud and it will be flushed off along with your excreta.

  • If you get nightmares, place a knife under your pillow. It cuts away bad dreams.
  • If you give someone a handkerchief, you will be separated with that person.
  • Ladies with small feet are thought to bring good luck wherever they go. (‘Lachhin’)
  • If you see slippers or shoes turned upside down, it’s bad luck so you should turn it around immediately.
  • If a crow crows near your window, you will hear bad news soon.
  • If you unknowingly wear your clothes inside out, it brings good luck.

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