Nigerians and Superstitions: The Top 20 List
Hey Naija and fellow seekers. How are we doing today? Hope you’re all feeling good. Alright, I just thought to hail us before I delve into this intriguing topic – Nigerians and Superstition: The Top 20 List. Pardon me but I will be both professional and informal. I hope we can all say something at the end of the post. It’s hilarious and we are not shaming our identity, this is for the purpose of knowledge because it’s our believe that someone might find some useful info in what we write about.
Superstition! Yeah, you’ve heard people who speak grammar say it over and over. But what does English define it to be?
Superstition is any belief or practice that is irrational – i.e., it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a positive belief in fate or magic, or fears of that which is unknown. “Superstition” also refers to religious beliefs or actions arising from irrationality.
If you want more grammar from Wikipedia, click here.
Oya, let me break it down small small – let me dissect the topic.
Superstition is when you and I believe in something that science calls “irrational”. Irrational or irrationality is when what we believe doesn’t follow common reason or sense. And that is because it cannot be scientifically proven. Simply put, it is a nonsensical believe in something abstract –untouchable or real – see-able, touchable but which cannot be judged through science.
But superstition is also faulted in some religions especially the Christian faith. Some people also think superstitions are diabolic but are they, really?
So Nigerians and Superstitions: Top 20 List, what are some of the superstitious beliefs held by Nigerians?
From my research, it is quite vast such that we can’t sufficiently wrap everything in one post. But I will list and explain some here with their origins. The rest will come in a later post if that will be necessary.
- Believe in Animism or dead people coming back to life as animals. ATR is all out for this one – African Traditional Religion and it is a common belief among the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. This belief is seen in many Yoruba movies. In the east, many Igbo villages hold same belief. In places like Idemili in Anambra and Mba Ise in Imo state, animals are worshiped because the indigenes believe they are the spirit of their deities or late ancestors. No one kills such venerated animals. The most common is the worship of the python snake. Late Legend writer Achebe captured this belief in his epic prose “No Longer at Ease“ Do you think this is true or false?
- Pregnant women wearing pins as a sign to wade of evil spirits from their unborn child. How funny but many Yoruba women adorn themselves with safety-pin on their bums. Interesting! What do you think? Does any other tribe hold this belief?
- Dead people rejected entry into the spirit world, go to faraway places and set up a new life. Many people I have met always attest to this, but I have a doubt. I have also watched it in the movies. Sometimes, I want to believe it’s true especially for those whose lives cut short unjustly. Nonetheless, it’s a superstition because science can’t prove it and I have never seen a proof either. Should we assume it is a tale that has become a myth or is it plausible?
- If you hit your right leg on a stone, you are bound to meet bad luck where you’re headed. Naija, I hail. So if someone hits their leg on a stone they will have bad luck. Please, how does this work because I think it’s totally unreasonable to attribute ill luck to hitting ones leg on a stone. What do you think?
- If you have a bad throat and can’t swallow without feeling pains, you should spit on the wall. The common believe is that the pain will go away. Somehow, this is the case or is it sheer coincidence?
- If you wake up on your left side, it will be a bad day so you should turn to your right before getting up. Hahaha, please can I gag? Where in the name of sense did this come from?
- Got this one from a friend, she says “from Agbor, if you use your legs to push firewood into the fire, then your husband is dead, married or not…. Lol.” Could it be true people still believe in such and how true?
- If you sneeze, then someone’s calling your name. Shuu! I hope it’s not the village people. Apparently, this could be more of a premonition than a superstition. But we can’t prove that every time one sneezes, someone is calling their name in some distant place.
- What about putting thread on a child’s head to stop hiccups. That is, take the thread off a clothe or fabric and place it on a child’s head when they’re having hiccups. Mothers, how true?
- When you are pregnant, don’t sleep in the same bed with your hubby and child, they’ll fall sick. Oh my Gee, where do we cook up these stuffs? It’s weirdly cool though, howbeit irrational.
- If you’re pregnant, bath with your little child and allow the water from your stomach touch him so he wouldn’t fall sick. This must be from the South-South. Is it healing water from Jerusalem or the Vatican? I am trying to understand the relationship. And wait what if your child (son) is above 12 years and you’re just having another baby. Is this not a negative exposure for the child? I don’t support this and if you believe it, you need to be sued…lol.
- My friend wrote “In my village they believe a pregnant woman shouldn’t arrange moi moi inside the pot because the moi moi no go jina – the moi moi will be undone. Ok ooo.
- If your hand itches, it means money is coming your way. I wish this was true but each time I scratch my hands, nothing shows. It’s a no-no for me. What do you think? Does it work for you?
- Don’t use broom to beat a guy if not his male organ can run away or shrink. Please, we need to test this to be sure. Any volunteer?
- Got this one from my mum, that in my village, if you sweep at night, you will sweep away your wealth and riches. odi egwu!
- If you are sweeping and hit someone with the broom, they have to touch the broom or they will begin to shrink like the broom. Is okay.
- If a woman climbs a kolanut tree, that tree will never produce again.
- Some days are for the goddess of land fertility and farmers are to abstain from the farm.
- A woman in her menstruation period is not allowed to go near a shrine, if they do, they will contaminate the priest juju. I really can’t tell of the efficacy of this claim but I know most ancient Benin stories emphasize this. I have read many Benin literature that says this is true, does it still happen?
- This one is quite old, a widow is not allowed to stay out till past 6pm. They believe that if she does, the dead husband will come for her and take her with him. Now I’m scared.
And this one is jara, I learned about it as a secondary school student in lasgidi – Lagos. It goes:
“Epe o mu Omo School.”
Meaning, a curse cannot come to pass on a school child. Students always say this when they’ve done something bad to an elder who either places a curse or a makes a woeful statement on such students. The student will shrug it off and say “epe o mu Omo School.” How true people?
Some of these superstitions are still held and practiced while others are gradually fading away. What’s your take, what are the superstitions you know?
Drop your comments, let’s hear from you.
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