India is a land of rich traditions and cultures. A famous characteristic of India is that of unity in diversity. India is comprised of 28 states; there are 18 national languages and 347 regional languages. It is a land of spirituality and a birth place for many religions and traditions. Even in a particular religion, there are many sub-religions and there are many myths, postulations and legends associated with these religions. This diversity has led to a vast variety of beliefs, myths and traditions and to some, India always remains a mystery. Here are five myths that prevalent in India; the truths are actually rooted in natural body processes.
Indian Myth About the Meaning of Eye Twitching
In India, there is a fairly common myth which holds that the twitching of right eye is an indication of some impending mishap, while the twitching of left eye is said to indicate that some good news will be received shortly.
Fact: The twitching of eyes occurs due to an involuntary muscle spasm. Twitching may be the result of lack of sleep or excessive stress.
Menstruation Myths in India
In India, women are generally prohibited to visit religious places during the period of menstruation. Some believe that the menstruating woman is considered “impure” and some believe that women should avoid sacred places during this time of month.
Fact: Menstruation is a natural process of the body which occurs in a woman of childbearing age. There is nothing impure about this natural process and a woman allowed to visit a religious place, just as another healthy or sick person is permitted to visit. In the ancient times, the feminine resources were few and the women generally had to stay away from the kitchen and the temple to avoid leaving blood stains. But today, there is no such problem and a woman is free to go anywhere, even during menstruation.
Indian Myth About Sneezing
In India, it is generally believed that if someone sneezes before going somewhere or doing some work, there will be some obstacle in the way. It is usually advised to stop for five minutes after sneezing; after the waiting period, the individual believes it’s okay to resume the work.
Fact: A sneeze is the result of a reflex; it’s an action that’s automatic and beyond an individual’s control. Normally, people sneeze when an irritant enters the nasal cavity; sneezing can also result from congestion. Through sneezing, the body rids the respiratory system of harmful germs, irritants and congestion.
Indian Myth Related to Hiccups
Many people in India believe that hiccups will arise when somebody remembers them. So when an individual experiences a bout of hiccups, they think that a friend or family member is thinking about them.
Fact: Hiccups normally start during or after drinking or eating It may happen due to irritation to the phrenic nerve, situated near the esophagus. It may also result from eating hot food or drink. Ingesting air during a meal can lead to hiccups when accumulated gas in the stomach presses upward against the diaphragm.
Indian Myth Associated with Hair Loss in Women After Delivery
In some regions of India, it’s said that a woman’s hair will start falling out when her baby starts speaking!
Fact: Hair loss can occur after the birth of the baby, but this is purely due to hormonal changes. It’s believed that estrogen levels start falling approximately three months after delivery; this can result in noticeable hair loss in new mothers. An overactive or under-active thyroid can also cause hair loss; this can be treated with medication.
In the ancient times, people sought to explain events and with limited scientific understanding, they used reason to develop explanations for phenomena and the human’s interaction with the world. In modern times, people have a greater understanding of the world and the human body, but the misinterpretations from the past have persisted, resulting in myths.
“Why Do We Hiccup?” MedicalNewsToday.com, 24 April 2004, accessed 09 August 2010.
“Hair Fall After Birth,” AmazingPregnancy.com, accessed 09 August 2010.