Superstitions In Traditional Nigerian Culture
Superstition is the belief in supernatural chance nature, where one thing will cause another without any natural explanation for the cause. There is no scientific proof for superstitions, they have little or no common-sense, and they cannot be explained by human knowledge. They are naturally related to luck, ill-luck, future events, spiritual or religious inclinations. Many of these superstitions are taboos which are formulated and later become a tradition. Some are to guide human behaviours, some are to improve human health while some are to make reference to gods. The majority of the popular superstitions are the “don’ts” while only few of them are the “dos”. The rates at which people believe in such beliefs have reduced. This is because most people have been exposed to renaissance, scientific knowledge, modern science and technology, and the negligence of traditions and cultural practices.
Common Superstitious Beliefs In Nigeria Culture
1. Hitting of the left foot on a stone or an object
The most common superstition is the hitting of the left leg or foot on a stone while walking. This signifies ill-luck or pending danger, accident, bad news, on the way of such an individual. There is a belief that anyone who hits his or her left foot on a stone will encounter trouble on his way. it could either be that a sad incidence has happened or waiting for such a person. When this happens, such individual will take it as a warning and turns back to where he or she is coming from, put a stop or postpone the journey or trip.
2. Borrowing Money or Asking Debtors To Pay Debts in Early Hours of The Day
In a Nigeria society, it is a bad thing to ask a debtor to pay up his debt, borrow money or lend out money in the morning. If these are done, it is believed to bring bad luck to the debtor, to the receiver and also to the giver. In Nigeria culture, loaning money and going after a debtor is usually made in the noon time or later in the day.
3. People Crossing over of A pregnant Woman’s Legs
This is a common superstition. When someone crosses over a pregnant woman’s leg, it is believed that the woman will give birth to a child that will take after such person. This act is always frowned at when a person with a bad behaviour, stubborn child, a hooligan or a poor man crosses over a pregnant woman’s leg. To avert this reincarnation or rebirth, the offender must retrace his or her step or crosses the legs back. If the offender is a good person worthy of emulation, the pregnant woman may overlook it and sometimes will even be happy believing that Is it worthy to rebirth a child that will look like the offender. This practice is sometimes extended to those that are not pregnant.
4. Blowing Whistle or Whistling at Night
The act of blowing whistles or whistling during the late hours of the day is dangerous and highly prohibited. This practice is believed to attract snakes to the house or to the surroundings.
5. The Crying of an Owl/Barking of a Dog around the House
There is a belief that a person is about to die or will soon die when an owl bird cries over the roof of a house or when there is a continuous barking or crying of a dog or dogs around or in a particular house or compound. People believe that these two animals are gifted to see spirits or people that will soon join the ancestors.
6. Sleeping on the Back
Anyone who sleeps on his or her back is believed to have a bad dream. Traditionally, a proper way to sleep peacefully without having nightmares is by sleeping on the sides of the body.