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Do you know the logic behind these superstitions?

Last updated on: December 15, 2015 08:29 IST

Why do we bathe after attending a funeral? Why do we fear bats?

Most rituals that we blindly follow today have a scientific and logical history to it.

Read on to find out!

ALSO SEE: Superstition or logic? Why you shouldn't we walk under a ladder!

Why do we bathe after attending a funeral

First of all, kudos to Nikita Azad, the young Indian girl who spearheaded the Happy to Bleed campaign (Do read about it here).

The way she raised her voice against an archaic belief (that menstruating women should not enter temples) is laudable.

While many of the rituals we practise today have a logical reason behind it, there are some that are downright ridiculous.

We decided to take a look at the logic behind some of the superstitions we blindly follow in our daily lives.

Don't go to a temple when you're menstruating

During the five to seven days in a month when a woman is menstruating, her hormones behave differently. She can even experience painful stomach cramps.

In the olden days, when there were no sanitary napkins, women used cloth pads.

Also, the chores she did -- like working in the field and the house -- were physically strenuous.

They were the first ones in the house to wake up and the last ones to go to sleep.

Thus began the practice of restricting women from kitchen tasks, attending religious events and wearing new clothes.

This was done purely for hygienic reasons. Besides, it allowed her enough time to get the rest she needed during menstruation.

Today, with the easy availability of sanitary napkins, tampons and painkillers, menstruation should no longer be seen as unclean or associated with superstition.

Don't sleep with your head in the northern direction

Ever heard of magnetic fields? You should have paid attention in school.

The basic rule to remember: Opposite poles attract and like poles repel each other.

Magnetic fields exist not just on earth but also in the human body -- it's called biomagnetism. You do know that we have iron in our blood, right?

So if you happen to feel uneasy, get bad dreams or have difficulty sleeping, perhaps it's the repulsive magnetic force acting on you.

All you have to do is shift your pillow to the opposite side and silently thank your science teacher.

You must bathe after attending a funeral

While most of us follow this as a religious ritual, it has a scientific reason as well.

After death, the human body begins to gradually decompose.

When you attend a funeral, you are naturally exposed to a wide variety of bacteria.

In the olden days, vaccination was rare and medical facilities were scarce.

If a person died due to prolonged illness, the risk of contracting the illness was huge.

Thus began the practice of cleansing oneself and changing into fresh clothes after attending a funeral.

You must worship the tulsi plant

Whether you look at the past or the present, most Indian homes have a tulsi shrub either at their entrance or potted at the window.

Our forefathers knew the importance of the holy basil in our daily life.

It has anti-bacterial properties and is known to ward off mosquitoes and insects.

It is widely used in Ayurveda to boost immunity.

That also explains why tulsi leaves are offered in temples.

Another superstition surrounding the tulsi is that one must swallow, not chew, the leaves because chewing is a sign of disrespect.

Well, it's time to get your facts right.

Since tulsi leaves contain a certain amount of natural mercury, there is a risk of harming your teeth while chewing them :)

If a bat enters your house, it will bring death

A certain species of bats are known to feed on insects and even blood. Besides, they can be carriers of harmful bacteria.

When they enter your home or come in contact with humans, there is always the risk of infection or of being attacked.

In the past, when medical help was scarce, some of these infections could lead to death. That should explain the origin of this superstition.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: José Antonio Morcillo Valenciano/Creative Commons

Divya Nair / Rediff.com