Tuesday, July 16, 2024


Beliefs and Superstitions

Beliefs about Travel

The itching of the sole  of the foot indicates a forth coming  journey. It is considered a good omen if a Garuda  is seen hovering  in the  sky  when one  goes about on an important assignment. The ordinary  folk are keen on hearing  good and cheerful words as promise of success. On a person leaving home on a significant  mission, it is auspicious  if an unknown  voice  is heard  to say 'my cow gave abundant milk this morning'. This is called Virichi.

At the commencement  of a trip  is a good augury to see  flowers, a married woman  or a pot full of water. The sight of a Garuda, a dog  or  a squirrel  crossing from the traveller's sight  to his left  indicates success. A cow, a parrot, a peacock, a fowl, a deer, a tiger, or buffalo, augur will for the traveller, if they cross from his left to his right.

Umbrella, flag, Chamaram  or giant sized whisks  form the temple, sugar-cane, meat, milk,curd, honey, bull, cow, elephant, prostitute,  horse, and fruits are welcome if they come towards the traveller. It is also lucky to hear the sound of a  bell or cannon, the braying of an ass, the cry of Garuda or the recitation of the scriptures  at the commencement of the journey .

It is the tradition to return home drink a cup of water, rest for a while and resume the trip, if

  1. one is crossed  by a snake, a cat, a monk, a lonely Brahmin, a barber, a widow  or an  oil-monger

  2. an unpleasant  sound is heard

  3. there is a slip of the leg or accidental fall

  4. the head is hit by the top of the door-frame  or by some other  obstruction

  5. some unknown  voice says "don't go" 

  6. there is unusual or abnormal rain or drizzle .

One should not  carry oil  and dirty linen in one's baggage. There are several other restrictions  on travel. It is not customary for husbands  to start  on important errands, when the wife  is having her menstruation  period. Like wise, there are the soolam rules prohibiting  travel  in particular directions  on each-week day. One should  not go north ward  on Tuesdays  and Wednesdays, southward  on Thursdays, eastward on Monday  and Saturdays and westward on Sundays and Fridays. Every rule has an exception and in an emergency one can leave in the late afternoon, after offering curd to the deity. Owing  to the wide observance of this soolam rule, trains from Madras bound for the south are not crowded on Thursdays .

Another prohibited  period for travel is Rahu Kalam  or in auspicious part of the day. It duration is an hour and a half. It is unwritten  rule  not to commence any venture during this period. People carry with them the Rahu Kalam  time table  for ready reference. There are code sentences in English  and Tamil to denote these timings  like "Mother saw the father wearing the turban on Sunday". Mother stands for Monday, saw for Saturday, father for Friday  and so on. The auspicious  period occurs in this order starting at 7.30  on Monday  and ending at 6.00 hours on  Sunday evening. 

Some hill-tribes  of Madurai  under take journeys  before sunrise on Mondays, after mid-day on Tuesdays, after dusk  on Wednesdays, after breakfast on Thursdays, and journeys after sunrise on Fridays and Saturdays  are avoided.