Myths and superstitions that govern you through out your life
Believe or not??
Sri Lanka is a country with a distinguished history of 2500 years. Superstitions, astrology (saasthara), voodoo (hooniyan), remedies (kema) and innumerable stories of demon possessions (yakasha dishti) play a major role in Sri Lankan culture. Notwithstanding the fact that, it is a new millennium or how sophisticated you are, their influence on your life is unavoidable, as long as you are Sri Lankan. Even if you are managed to decline those superstitions, it always leaves a doubt in your inner mind. There, you begin to question yourself. “What if it is true? Will it ruin my life or what will happen”. This article will address on such myths and superstitions which bothers Sri Lankan minds from their early childhood.
Bathing on Tuesday??
To begin with, has your granny ever asked you to not to bathe on Tuesday? Bathing is a super normal thing in our life. However, in Sri Lankan context, there is a wide range of superstitions tied to this activity. As an example, bathing on Tuesday will be harmful for your health and bathing on Monday will improve your beauty. Similarly, depending on the day you bathe the good and bad will come into your life. According to a Sri Lankan myth, if a young girl, takes a walk alone after an evening bath while eating oily food, she will get possessed by a Yaka called “ Kalu kumaraya”. Similarly, when a girl reaches puberty, she is locked up in a room with no male visitors and allowed to eat only certain kinds of food until the bathing ceremony takes place at an auspicious time. Meanwhile, the girl should keep something made of “Iron”( yakada) for her protection. So, think before you bathe.
What if a gecko screech?? ( Huunu sasthare)
It is kind of hilarious to think that a teeny-tiny gecko has a control over our lives. Nonetheless, it’s the bitter truth. In Sri Lanka, It’s the gecko who decides the success or the failure of the journey you are about to take. If it screeches before you leave, it means that something bad will happen on the way. So, the screeching of this particular creature can save you from inevitable dooms as well. At the same time, if a gecko jumps into your body, you will get some kind of a clue about your future, depending on the body part it landed on; especially, a clue regarding your health or wealth. In fact, Sri Lankans have a specific calendar called “Litha” for a better guidance regarding these gecko omens.
Evil eye ( As waha)
Evil eye and evil word are another crucial features found in Sri Lankan superstition culture.
Our locals have the ability to cast an evil eye by looking at others; and also they can ruin someone’s life by saying something evil. People are highly concerned about these “Es waha” and “Kata waha”. Generally, new born babies and lovely or smart people will be subjected to these evils. With a view to protect the babies from evil eye, they are adorned with a black dot on their forehead or black bangles; and a pendant called “Panchayudaya” will be hanged on their neck. In order to protect young and smart people from evil eye and word, the only option you have is to spit as soon as you hear the word or catch the glance. As it is not ethical to spit in front of a man, you can do it as soon as he or she leaves. Otherwise, you will definitely, ruin your appearance.
Future Predicting creatures
As the gecko, there is a set of animals and birds in Sri Lanka which are considered as future predictors. According to the myths, if a “Ulama” (Ulama” is a rooster with an alarming sound.), “bakamuuna”or “ Demalichcha” scream, there will be a funeral in near future. If a “Kana koka flies over, the same thing happens. Seeing a “Black cat” can ruin your plans. “Boodilima” is another mythical creature which Sri Lankans are really afraid of. Actually, there’s a legend behind this creature. According to the folklores, this creature is uncatchable and it comes after pregnant mothers. Howling of dogs and jackals is another unlucky sign. Whether these facts are believable or not we all are bearing them in our minds for years and years.
Do devils and demons exist?
Devils and demons live in all sorts of places in Sri Lanka; cemeteries, water bodies, trees and also in three way traffic junctions (thun man handiya). As villagers say, if you smell “Magngnokka” near a cemetery, it means that place is home for “Yakas”; and it is said that dogs don’t strays around cemeteries which means there’s something wrong with that place. May be there’s a scientific reason behind this behavior of dogs and smells. However, we follow them blindly. If truth be told, it’s not only the devils that live in those places, but also the gods. Sri Lankans believe that “the huge Nuga trees, Jack trees or Boo trees are home for different gods or nymphs” Still, there are people who worship trees and break a branch of tree and hang it on the way home as a ritual which is to pay respect to the certain god.
In Sri Lankan culture, marriage has a plenty of superstitions tied to it. Usually, the horoscope is the first issue Sri Lankan parents come up with when finding a partner for their child. It’s the astrologer who decides whether the couple is matching or not. “Poruwa”ceremony is another crucial thing in a Sri Lankan wedding which has a direct contact with superstitions. The poruwa should be built according to predetermined measurements. Then again, when the poruwa ceremony is over, uncle of the bride should break a coconut; and the coconut should break into pieces. If all these processes do not end up well, it will bring bad luck to the couple.
When it comes to Sri Lankan funerals, corpses are kept facing the west (hence, if you are alive and well, you better not sleep facing the west). When someone is dead the first and the foremost ritual we follow is turning over the mirrors, pictures and whatever the reflective objects we have inside our houses. It is believed that if we do not cover them, the spirit of the dead person will remain inside those mirrors or photos; and it will be harmful to the family members. At the same time, there are different types of myths connected to alms givings after a funeral. As it is said, if you are unable to hold the alms giving on the 7th day from the funeral, the spirit will haunt your house since then.
Follow them or not??
In conclusion, these myths and superstitions around us, although they are scientifically proven or not, we cannot easily get away from them. As I told you before, animals scream and howl, geckos lurk and screech, planets move and clock ticks. It is a very short life you have got. Eventually, it is you who have the power to decide what to do and what not to do; and being a blind alley will do no good for you. Therefore, be rational in making decisions.