segunda-feira, 15 de setembro de 2008

Culture and superstition

Maybe you are not superstitious, but I am sure you know superstitious people and their funny habits. They are careful and do not break mirrors, do not throw salt on the floor not even keep the wardrobe doors opened. If somebody does one of these things, a bad destiny will wait for him or her. Culture and superstition are two connected things, the second one teaches informally by the fear.

A lot of superstitions were born many times ago, in time in which people did not have access to information. People were not interested in instructing by knowledge, perhaps because they did not want or because they did not know how to do it. Therefore, the easier way to persuade a person to do or not to do something was telling stories of fear, bad luck and death.

These same superstitious are known in the middle of any society, but the oldest people are those who believe them more. Nowadays we are not used to believing in superficial and unproved stories. Really in our day we do not believe in anything, neither good nor bad things. Today people must explain very well what they are talking about to find who believes in the request.

In the past mirrors were very expensive, so, for people to be careful, they created the story about seven years of bad luck. Salt was expensive too. People invented those stories to avoid wastefulness. In Brazil, there is a superstitious about mango and milk. They say we should not eat mango and drink milk at the same time because it can cause gastrointestinal problems, but the real reason is very different.

Before 1889, when there was slavery in our country, the slaves had free access to the born fruit on the farms. Slaves ate only cheap food and fruits were some of them. If same slave that fed cows tried to drink some milk, he would remember the story about gastrointestinal problems. As you can see, a lie repeated many times becomes truth. Milk was expensive and the farmers did not want to say to his slaves it would not be profitable if they drunk all the milk of the farm.

I do not believe in superstitions and I usually try to understand the origin of them to instruct others. Superstition and fear are a kind of jail whose key is the knowledge. Nobody should live without a personal view of the world. We have to think twice before consider a new information. We must not give power to fear neither to others cause us troubles.

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