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  2. 2. SuperstitionsDEDICATIONThis is an extremely ordinary effort to pay a tribute toenormous efforts and hard work done by our parents, teachers,old fellows, seniors of IT department of our university. Ourteacher taught us with whole devotion and according to the bestof their knowledge; they tried to impart every piece ofknowledge, which was concern to our syllabus. Moreover, ourparents provided ever essential thing to us so we dedicate thisassignment to our dearest Mothers, fathers, best teacherespecially M’am Namra Khalid and to our friends.UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  3. 3. SuperstitionsACKNOWLEDGMENTWe are indebted to many individuals who have contributed in thedevelopment of our Assignment. First, we owe our profound thanks toAlmighty of ALLAH the lord of the world, for blessing us with the ability,spirit, courage and strength to complete this assignment. Second, we wishto thank those many individuals who reviewed our assignment. We have triedto retain all the features in the assignment. We would like to thank ourlecturer’s that there patience and suggestions were essential. Especiallythanks to our teacher M’am Namra Khalid for helping in our project.We would like to mention certain people for their invaluablecooperation and help to us. These lines are not sufficient enough to express.Debit of gratitude we owe for the encouragement received from thesesources.And thanks to all individual who took part directly or indirectly inaccomplishment of this assignment.UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  4. 4. SuperstitionsUNIVERSITY OF WAHQUAID AVENUE, WAHCANTT.SUPERSITITIONS(Assignment)Presented to:M’am Namra Khalid.Presented by:Tahzeeb Khan.Iqra Ameer.Sania Tariq.Jarar Ahmad.BS (Hons.) Computer SciencesBS-CS-2nd‘B’UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  5. 5. SuperstitionsSuperstitions have been a part of human life since times immemorial. Most of thesuperstitions have had their origin in ancient times, when man was at the mercy ofNature. Neither had he developed the scientific understanding to reason out mishaps, nordid he have modern technologies that would monitor forces of nature and help himrecover from onslaught of diseases or natural calamities. The only option that he had wasto regard such events with reverence. He spun stories and beliefs, which he believedwould protect him from sufferings. These beliefs and customs became superstitions thathave been followed by man over generations. Although science has helped us refute anumber of them, some are still followed by people all over the world.Superstitions began centuries ago when our ancestors tried to explain mysteriouscircumstances or events as best as they could with the knowledge they had.Superstitions:Superstitions can be defined as, “Irrational beliefs, especially with regard to theunknown”Superstitions are largely considered as irrational beliefs associated with the existence ofcertain mysterious forces, specially evil spirits, which were supposed to bring bad luckto one unless certain actions were taken to prevent the bad effects. These actions couldinclude modifying an individuals behavior, avoiding certain actions or places or wearingamulets or lucky charms.Superstitions can be personal or cultural. Personal ones are bred from experiences thatan individual has, during his lifetime. However, cultural ones are those that one issupposed to believe in, because they have been followed over generations, by people.Origin of Superstitions:The origin of superstitions can be traced to beliefs people held, in the olden times. Fearabout the unseen, less knowledge about the forces of nature and lack of generalawareness laid the foundation of certain beliefs in society. These beliefs might havelacked logic, but there was nothing that could convince people otherwise. There wasnothing to prove how baseless the beliefs were. They were passed from one generationto another until there were some who put their foot down to disapprove them. Somesuperstitious beliefs even became social norms. With passing time, some superstitionswere rendered false, while others succeeded in establishing themselves as truths!The easiest and most obvious classification of superstitions puts them under twocategories, namely good luck superstitions and bad luck superstitions. Superstitions arebased on just these two things, good luck or bad luck. There is a lot of symbolisminvolved; for instance a black cat, a dead bird, an open umbrella, the number 13 andspilled salt symbolize bad luck, while a falling star, a horseshoe, a rabbits foot and thenumber 7 are popularly associated with good luck. Just the presence or absence of thesethings is believed to prove lucky or unlucky. Is getting lucky or unlucky so easy?! Herewe take a look at some of the most popular good and bad luck superstitions and theirorigins.UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  6. 6. SuperstitionsGood Luck Superstitions and their Origin: Lucky Horseshoes: A horseshoe is one of the widely known good luck charms. Theshape of a horseshoe, a typical U, similar to that of a crescent moon. Superstition hasthat witches fear horses and hence horseshoes are believed to keep the witches away.Horseshoes have been used as protection from the evil in many European and MiddleEastern households. Knocking on Wood mean: According to Romans, good spirits lived in trees. Theybelieved that touching anything made out of wood could be used as the means to callthese spirits and seek protection from bad luck. Lucky Rabbit’s Foot: A rabbit’s foot is another widely known good luck symbols andone of the oldest ones in use. Carrying a rabbit’s foot (the left hind) is believed to bringgood luck. Finding a Penny: Finding a penny and picking it up is believed to bring a day of goodluck. Any metal was considered God’s gift to mankind. Lucky Little Ladybugs: Ladybugs are considered to be symbols of good luck.According to an old tale, there was a time when the insects were destroying all the crops.The little ladybugs ate the insects away and the crops were saved. Probably this is howthe ladybug superstition originated. God Bless You: During the sixth century, it was believed that a sneeze expelled evilspirits from the body. It was then later believed that your soul could escape your bodythough a sneeze and that by saying “God Bless You,” you could immediately stuff itback inside where it belonged. White rabbits: On the first day of the month it is lucky to say “white rabbits, whiterabbits” before uttering your first word of the day. Catch falling leaves in autumn: Catch falling leaves in autumn and you will have goodluck. Every leaf means a lucky month next year.Bad luck Superstitions and Their Origins: Breaking a Mirror: According to Roman culture It was once believed that one’sreflection in a mirror represented their soul. If you were to break that reflection, it wouldthen be harmful to your soul. The bad luck would be over after seven years as the soulwas believed to renew itself every seven years. Now why 7 years? There’s a story again.In the olden times, if you were guilty of breaking someone’s mirror, you had to be aservant in that house for seven years. It was in the times when mirrors were veryexpensive and rare, and breaking one meant spending a bomb to replace it. Walking Under a Ladder: According to Christian belief, when leaning against a wall,a ladder forms a triangle that represents the holy trinity. When you walk underneath it,you insult god.UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  7. 7. Superstitions The number 13th: Ancient Egyptians associated the number 13 with death, in the bible;Judas was the 13thguest to the Last Supper. Additionally, in Roman lore witches werebelieved to gather in groups of 12. The 13thmember of their group. Probably the oldestassociation of ill luck with Friday is that Adam and Eve were forced to leave the Gardenof Eden on a Friday. If You Sleep With Your Feet Towards A Door Someone Will Steal Your Soul: Beforebeing buried, dead folks are often put in this exact position. Opening Umbrellas Indoors: Putting up an umbrella indoors, especially one which hasnot been opened outdoors is believed to bring bad luck. In the olden times, opening anumbrella in the shade was considered as an insult of Sun God. Superstition has thatdropping an umbrella on the floor might indicate a murder in the house. Black Cats bring Bad Luck: The origin of this superstition can be traced to ancientEgypt. Back then, their goddess Bast was a female black cat. Christians, at that time,wanting to eradicate all other religions from society, convinced people that black catswere demons. Thus a black cat crossing someone’s path began being considered as evil.In England, black cats are believed to bring good luck. Some believe cats can see spiritsand can hence guard you against evil spirits. In Yorkshire, black cats are believed toguide fishermen safely home. Birds and Bad Luck: Killing a sparrow brings bad luck, as these birds are believed tocarry the souls of the dead. It is believed that hearing an owl’s cry is an indication thatdeath or ill-luck will follow. Peacock feathers are considered as symbols of the ‘evileye’. A robin flying in through a window is believed to presage death. Old superstitionsconsidered crows as being messengers of bad news. Spilling Salt: Salt was a very precious, expensive commodity in the middle ages andwas widely used for medicinal purposes. If you were to spill any salt, you were then toimmediately throw it over your left shoulder to strike the nasty spirits in the eye, thuspreventing sickness.GENERAL SUPERSTITIONSFood superstitions Boiled egg: When finished eating a boiled egg, push the spoon through the bottom ofthe empty shell to let the devil out. Bread: In Yorkshire, housewives used to believe the bread would not rise if there was adead body in the vicinity, and to cut off both ends of the loaf would make the devil flyover the house!UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  8. 8. SuperstitionsTable superstitions Table knife: If you drop a table knife expect a male visitor, if you drop a fork a femalevisitor. Plate: Crossed cutlery on your plate and expect a quarrel. White tablecloth: Leave a white tablecloth on a table overnight and expect a death.Animal superstitions Bears: One ancient British superstition holds that if a child rides on a bear’s back it willbe protected from whooping-cough. Ravens: In some parts of the UK meeting two, three ravens together is considered reallybad. One very English superstition concerns the tame ravens at the tower of London. It isbelieved if they leave then the crown of England will be lost. Bats: It is said to be bad luck if you see bats flying and hear their cries. In the middleages it was believed that witches are closely associated with bats. Sparrow: if a sparrow enters a house it is an omen of death to one of the people livingthere. In some areas it is believed that to avoid bad luck, any sparrow caught must beimmediately killed otherwise the person who caught it will be die. White rabbits: in some countries black rabbits are thought to host the souls of humanbeings. White rabbits are considered to be really witches and some believed that saying“white rabbits” on the first day of each month will brings luck. A common lucky charmis a rabbit’s foot, but not for the rabbit. Peacock’s feather: it is thought very unlucky to have the feathers of a peacock withinthe home or handle anything made with them. This is possibly because of the eye shapepresent upon these feathers i.e. the Evil-Eye associated with wickedness.Wedding superstitions Bride and groom must not meet on the day of the wedding except at the altar. The bride should never wear her complete wedding clothes before the day. For good luck bride should wear “something borrowed, something blue, something oldand something new.” The husband should carry his new wife over the threshold of their home.Some superstitions in Pakistan:UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  9. 9. SuperstitionsSome superstitions still existing in the minds of our people. When the left eye is blinking indicates something bad is going to happen. If we are walking and see a black cat cross in front of you, It’s bad luck. When the owl sings its a sign of bad luck. If you dream about buffaloes and horses it’s bad luck. If you broke the glass its a sign of bad luck... Kids shouldnt let anyone walk over them otherwise theyll stop growing. Opening the scissors and closing it without a reason causes family problems at home.Similar is the case with umbrella (like opening it inside the house.) When a crow crows at some ones window, it announces the arrival of guests. If a cat is heard crying, its a bad omen. Never call one back when the person is leaving the house. Never wash the front courtyard immediately after someone leaves the house. If you hiccup, it means you stole something. When a dog howls, someone is going to die in the neighborhood. When a bell rings when you wish for something, your wish will be fulfilled.Bad Luck Superstitions Around The World: Friday the 13th. Walk under a ladder. Black cat crosses your path. To break a mirror. Open an umbrella inside. Sing at the table or sleep on the table. A bird comes in window. When a dog howls, death is near. You must get out of bed on the same side you got in. Goldfish in the house bring bad luck.Good Luck Symbols Around the World: Nautical star Rabbit’s foot Wishbones Chinese symbols for luck Number "7" Horseshoe Washing a car will bring rain Dolphins Bamboo Falling Star Red Chinese Lanterns Red bats Stand in a circle evil spirits cannot harm you. The wedding veil protects the bride from the evil eye.UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  10. 10. Superstitions Goldfish in the pond bring good luck. A cricket in the house brings good luck.27 Popular Good Luck Charms: Insects: Crickets Ladybugs Dragonflies Scarabs Natural Objects: Acorns Rainbow Gems and Minerals Animals: Dolphins Pigs Tortoises Elephants Red Bats TigersUNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  11. 11. Superstitions Icons and Figures: Buddha Saint Christopher Man-Made Objects: Dream Catchers Red Chinese Lanterns Horseshoe Coins A Pot of Gold Symbols and Numbers: Nautical Star The Number Seven Plants: Four Leaf Clover Bamboo Wish Makers: A Wishing Well Wishbone Stray Eyelash Falling StarUNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  12. 12. SuperstitionsSuperstitions in different countries: In Greece, people use to carry in their wallet a little bone of a bat, since its believedto protect from the evil eye. Every typical Greek house has a cactus growing near itsdoor - it saves from troubles. Any Greek knows that if he sneezes, somebody thinksabout him. In UK it is believed that you would be lucky if you meet a black cat. Unlucky arethose who break a mirror, see a crow. Not one Englishman will open his umbrellanear the door or will put his new shoes on the table. Any Irish knows that a werewolf is afraid of water. The Irish place metals on highlevels. Blacksmithers are respected, since they are considered to dispose of badspirits and diseases. Italians think youre lucky to hear a cat sneezing. Its not good if a bird entersthrough your window. If an Italian sees a nun, he will seek to touch a metal, so thatthe luck doesnt leave him. In China broom is given a special attention. They believe each broom has inside aspirit, thats why you have to use it carefully. Hitting someone with a broom means acurse. Number 8 is the lucky number for the Chinese. Number 1 means loneliness. Japanese are afraid to be potted in three. The one from the middle is expected to die.For avoiding misfortune, Japanese will not talk to man who talks while sleeping. In Moldova if you accidentally hit with your head your friends head you have to hitit the second time or someone will die in the family. In Russia, if you are sitting against the corner of the dinner table you wont marry for7 years (only for girls). In Spain, it is said that putting on a jumper inside out, youll have bad luck. In Venezuela, women will be lucky all year around if they wear yellow dress onNew Year. In Eastern Europe, it is said that If you drop a fork during the meal, somebody isexpected to come. In Italy, if a person sees a nun, he will seek to touch a metal, so that the luck doesntleave him. In Thailand, those people who offering flowers to the monk cannot smell theflowers! If you did, then something very bad will happen to your nose soon...UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  13. 13. Superstitions In India, never ask the question "where are you going?” while they are leavinghouse, its purpose will not be fulfilled.And taking a teaspoon of curd with little sugar before exam will bring good luck. In Rome, if you whistle inside ones home, you are likely to lose all your money. Romanian’s also believe that every Tuesday has three hours of bad luck and peopleshould be aware of it.Sun signs:Sun Sign Positive NegativeAries Self-confident, Leaders, Enthusiastic Irritable, Opinionated, ImpatientTaurus artistic, loving, trustworthy Possessive, Jealous, ControllingGemini charming, outgoing, brave vain, boastful, self-centeredCancer Loyal, Generous, warm Moody, Insecure, DeviousLeo Passionate, Enthusiastic, Warm-hearted Possessive, Bossy, VolatileVirgo Practical, Intelligent, Cultured Cold, Picky, PerfectionistLibra Fair-minded, Romantic, Sociable Manipulative, Indecisive, GullibleScorpio Passionate, Loyal, Ambitious Secretive, Broody, WithdrawnSagittarius Witty, Positive, Adventurous Bad temper, Impatient, ImpetuousCapricorn Dependable, Loyal, Perseveres Conservative, Reserved, ResentfulAquarius Visionary, Friendly, Tolerant Stubborn, Cold, TemperamentalPisces Easy-going, Fun, Romantic Lazy, Sarcastic, FantasistUNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  14. 14. SuperstitionsFinal Thoughts:I would like to conclude this article with a couple final thoughts aboutSuperstitions.“The world moves and civilization progresses, but the old superstitions remain thesame. The rusty horse-shoe found on the road is still prized as a lucky token, andwill doubtless continue to be so prized; for human nature does not change, andsuperstition is a part of human nature."Questions to think about students Which British superstition is similar to those in yourcountry? Which are different? Do you know any thing about the origins of some of thesuperstitions in your country? Can you give the definition of “superstition”? Do you believe that they can influence our lives and still liveon in the age of science?Further Reading & Research:If youre interested in learning more about superstitions, you might check out theFollowing books, available at your local bookstore, library, or online of Superstitions, The, by David Pickering (Cassell, 2003). of Superstitions, the, by E. Radford (Metro Books, 2003). On Wood: An Encyclopedia of Superstition, by Carole Potter(Longmeadow Press, 1991). of Superstition (old radio presentation, 1935; mp3 format), of Superstitions, A, by Claudia Delys (Gramercy, 1997).UNIVERSITY OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT
  15. 15. Superstitions OF WAH QUAID AVENUE, WAH CANTT