I am pretty sure that my superstitious nature is directly from my mother. My entire West Indian side of the family is extremely superstitious. We check our horoscopes everyday, we pay attention to the messages in our dreams, we do not directly pass spicy condiments to another person, but lay them on the table, to be picked up – that kind of superstitious.
And for those of you who are not superstitious, you may think of this type of behaviour as odd and limiting, but for me, just the opposite. I find it comforting and passing down beliefs from previous generations. Just knowing that my mom, my grandmother and onwards carried out these same practices makes me feel like I am a part of something …..bigger!
But , superstitious behaviour is more than just having beliefs. Scientifically, superstitions allow people to explain events that otherwise seem random or inexplicable and to feel they have a measure of control over outcomes that would otherwise seem out of their hands. (www.sciencedirect.com).
But they also allow us to learn beliefs and practices from other cultures also.
From my Asian friends, I have learned about Chinese New Year and everyone in our household knows what year they were born under and what attributes they have. I also know what charms to buy for that year, to protect my family and myself. It makes you feel like you are actively aware of bad things, but instead of passively allowing them, you are doing something to avoid it.
From my Italian friends, I know that on New Year’s Eve, I am supposed to wear red underwear and eat lentils to usher in a good year.
These are but a few of the superstitions that we have incorporated into our lives and I know that our friends have incorporated some of our beliefs – and that’s great. It means that we do not always have to have a scientific explanation for everything – sometimes we just go on faith and belief and that provides a commonality between us, which is always a great thing!
Especially now – not everything can be explained. But it helps to be accepting and open to others and create different bonds of understanding.
And Stevie Wonder would not write one of the all time greatest songs about the concept, if there wasn’t something there, would he?
But that’s just one Diva’s view.