13 Crazy Indian Food Superstitions That You Probably Still Believe In
We’ve all grown up listening to irrational things that our moms, grandmas, and neighbours have had to say that involved food. Indian food superstitions are integral to our culture. While some may have stemmed from a happenstance in the scriptures, others have, more often than not, come from our own households or pop-culture, and may or may not have a logical reason behind it.
1. Doodh As An Aphrodisiac For Your Suhaag Raat
I can totally hear y’all chuckle from the other side of the screen. Milk has, for ages, been the stereotypical Indian aphrodisiac that women have been presenting to men on the night of their wedding also while pulling their ghunghats over their heads and being demure. There’s a whole ritual that goes with it that is mentioned in the Hindu scriptures, including the Mahabharata as this is supposed to be the code of conduct for the newlyweds before they go on to consummate their marriage on their first night as a married couple, and the chilled glass of doodh is always at the center of it all. Whether this works as an aphrodisiac or not is debatable.
2. Garlic Wards Off Vampires
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Pop culture has taught us this one. Apparently, braids of garlic kept together near you could keep away vampires. This may have come about when Bram Stroker’s Dracula was first published. Perhaps the thought behind it was that the smell is pungent that vampires stay away from it, or that they’re just plain old fearful of bad breath; y’know, since they’re in the business of biting people and they want their victims to remember how their breath smells. Either way, it sounds ridiculous.
3. Dahi & Cheeni For Good Luck
Before you take a test, give an interview, or just go out to do anything for the first time, you’re probably often met with your mom ready at the doorstep, waiting with a bowl of curd sprinkled with sugar. This is the physical representation of wishing people luck in all their endeavours. It’s been tried and tested by millions of Indians over thousands of years and I’m sure that it has nothing to do with the improvement of your luck.
4. A Bowl Of Milk To Appease The Snake Gods
If you’re ever encountered by snakes, or if you know of a snake’s lair, you must keep a bowl of milk to appease it. Sound familiar? This, too, has been featured in Bollywood and other regional films over the years. Obviously, the snake must be just as puzzled as I would be to suddenly get a ration of milk every morning if I were to be found out from my hiding place. Also, if you have the time to fetch a bowl of milk when envountered by a snake that might attack you, you also have time to run and never look back.
5. Having Twin Bananas Lead To Birth Of Twins
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There are times when I feel like people do things or bring about these rumours and superstitions just to keep themselves entertained. This has to be one of those times. Apparently, eating twin Bananas could help you give birth to twins. And so, women are advised against it unless they really do want twins. The harmless little conjoined bananas obviously have nothing to do with you having more children in your arms than were expected. If you believe in this, you probably are going bananas.
6. One Shouldn’t Pass The Salt In The Palm Of One’s Hand
My mum, and as I find out, a lot of people, over the years have been practicing this, and the furthest I could date this one back was to my grandma, because obviously she’s the oldest living member of my family who still practices these weird things. If you pass on a salt shaker or a box that contains salt, or even a few pinches on the palm of your hand, it is supposed to encourage negativity and spoil relationships. A simple act like that leading to a strained relationship is highly unlikely. Unless you’re throwing it in someone’s face, that is. Logically speaking, however, this could have been brought into practice because the moisture in your hands could moisten the salt.
7. Returning Food Boxes Empty
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If your neighbour or friend has ever sent over a box full (mostly Tupperware) of their home cooked delicacies, your mom would’ve told you at least once that you shouldn’t send it back empty. Why she says that, we will probably never know, because she was probably told the same by her mom and was never given a solid explanation either. I just think that it’s only because it seems like an impolite gesture, but that’s probably just me.
8. You Shouldn’t Let Your Guest Go Home On A ‘Salty Note’
Countless times I’ve been told by my friends to at least have a bite from a chocolate, or to take a piece of Indian sweet from the mithai box that magically appears in their fridge just as I’m leaving to go home because according to them, it is ‘inauspicious’ to send guests home on anything but a sweet note. This too, is attributed to discouraging hostile relations with your peers. Go figure!
9. Throwing Rice To Ward Off Spirits
At many weddings, whether they’re following one faith or another, there’s this strange custom of giving the bride a handful of rice to throw behind her. Turns out, that it is supposed to ward off evil spirits that may follow you into your marital home and cause problems. It just sounds silly and is a waste of food, if you ask me. Also, the tradition of kicking a brass pot full of rice with your right foot before you enter your marital home is supposed to be symbolic of goddess Lakshmi entering the house. I’m all for being treated like a goddess but this too seems rather hilarious if you think about it.
10. If You Say “Cheers!”, You HAVE TO Take A Sip
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If you’ve got friends who like to drink wine in those fancy glasses, you would have met at least one person who would have told you that you absolutely have to take a sip right after you clink your glasses and say “Cheers!”. If you don’t, they will proceed to tell you that it will guarantee you seven years of bad sex. Now, even if no one believes in all of the other superstitions, you do end up going with this because no one ever wants bad sex, right?
11. “Tumhare Muh Mein Ghee Shakkar”
Every time you say something that sounds like it’s in someone else’s favour, they bless you by saying, “Tumhare muh mein ghee shakkar” which literally translates to, “May your mouth be full of ghee and sugar for saying sweet things”. It makes no difference to their fortune, and it’s the most unfortunate thing to wish on people if they have diabetes or cholesterol, but at least this one isn’t half as absurd as the others.
12. Nimboo Mirchi For Nazar
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Nimboo and mirchi strung together and hung on windowsills, like a mistletoe on the door frame (at least mistletoes are fun!), on the front grill of trucks, outside shops, and even on the rear view mirror of your car are apparently supposed to keep you safe from any kind of evil spirits or harm coming your way. I’m not sure how a lemon and green chillies will help in doing so in any way. There’s gotta be some logic to these thing, amirite? Also, we Indians are reeeaaally bothered about evil spirits bothering us, clearly.
13. Breaking A Coconut To Inaugurate A New Place
At the inauguration of a commercial establishment, people are often seen breaking a coconut at the doorstep. Apparently, the colour of the coconut pulp helps determine whether or not your immediate future is going to be good, or whether you’re in store for a series of unfortunate events. Since coconuts are picked at random, it’s impossible to ascertain something like this.
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