Everything else.. A Guide To Surviving Sri Lankan Superstitions

A Guide To Surviving Sri Lankan Superstitions

2020 Mar 13

How many times has your grandmother, or mother, or aunt interrupted something that you were going to do with a very bizarre superstition that left you mind-boggled for the rest of your day? As you may already know, us Sri Lankans have a knack for believing everything voodoo, peculiar and oddly comical tales from the past. Superstitions are beliefs or practices that are followed by generations, although some of them might be irrational or unjustifiable. In the spirit of Friday the 13th and the spookiness that comes with it, we’ve rounded up 13 of the best superstitions that our Lankan-to-the-last-drop buddies have shared with us. Get ready for quite the mystifying read!


1. Avoid eating papadam outdoors after 6 pm

Refrain from consuming papadam or any food items that are deep fried for that matter, outdoors after 6pm. Also refrain from taking food items, inclusive of pork, outdoors as well. It is believed that the devils and ghosts that are lurking around would follow you, as they are attracted towards oily food items. And we don’t want any followers now, do we? Unless  of course, they are from Instagram. 


2. Refrain from trimming your nails after 6 pm

Avoid trimming your nails after 6 pm, as it is believed to bring you bad luck. Stepping on the trimmed nails that are scattered across the floor is also believed to shun prosperity and may negatively affect the financial stability of your family. In a time where everything is super expensive, that is that last thing that we’d want. 


3. Lick the strands of your hair before you dispose them

This is a good one. Lick the strands of your hair before you dispose of them, in order to avoid people from using your hair to cast black magic spells on you. We are not quite sure of the logistics of doing this, specially considering us girls shed our hair left, right and center. But I guess we can at least stick to the hair strands that get entangled on our hair brushes?


4. Pooping crows

Read carefully. If a crow is flying over you and happens to poop on your head, it is believed to bring bad luck to your family, specifically to your father. However, if a crow is sitting still on a tree and happens to poop on your head, it is believed to bring your family prosperity and financial independence. So the next time you’re strolling on the road and see a crow sitting on the branch of a tree or a lamp post, make sure you ganata angle yourself and stand right below it. But if you see a crow flying above you, don’t think twice, run for your life. 


5. Cover reflective surfaces when there’s a death in the family

When there’s a death in the family, take down or cover up anything with a reflective surface (including mirrors and picture frames). It is believed that the spirit of the dead lurks around their home and if they happen to catch a glimpse of themselves from a reflective surface, it would apparently cause a commotion within the spirit world and in turn negatively affect the real world. Creepy? Yup, we know. 


6. When a black cat passes you by

If you’re driving somewhere and you see a black cat pass by, it is believed that you should stop the car, get out of the car, spit on the side of the road and then continue your journey, to avoid bad luck. Little tip, do leave home early just in case you might come across a black cat, so that you will still be able to reach your destination on time.


7. Lime – The remedy for aswaha katawaha

Ah, this is a tale relating to our dear friend, aswaha katawaha. When you buy a brand new vehicle, it is believed to keep four lime fruits near the four tires of your vehicle and to drive over them. This is to avoid aswaha katawaha from bringing adverse effects or bad luck to you and your brand new buy. 


8. Avoid eating bitter gourd at night

Avoid eating bitter gourd, or better known as karavila, at night. It is believed that bitter gourd purifies your blood and hence will attract reptiles that might creep into your garden or house, as they would sense the purity of your blood. This might be the one time that our ancestors might be okay with us not being “pure” (ahem ahem). 


9. Avoid playing the flute at night

Here’s another one about reptiles. Refrain from playing the flute after 6 pm, in order to avoid snakes and other reptiles making their way into our gardens and houses. Always better to keep away from unwelcome visitors.


10. Avoid going out if you hear a gecko cackle

This is a classic. If you’re getting ready to go out and you hear a gecko cackle, it is believed that you should either refrain going out or delay your journey as it might bring you bad luck. Sorry folks, but we don’t really have a tip for this other than you having to postpone or cancel your plans, although we know that you might not be able to do that in certain situations. Tough luck.


11. A crows caw on a citrus fruit tree might indicate visitors to your house

Want a pre-warning when a relation or a neighbour is about to visit you? If there’s a tree bearing citrus fruits around your house and if a crow on that tree starts cawing, it is believed that you’re about to have a visitor from a relation or a neighbour. But if there’s no citrus tree around and if there’s no crow there, a phone call or a WhatsApp message (since most of y’all are bougie like us) would also work. 


12. Avoid gifting a handkerchief 

If you’re planning on giving a gift, make sure you don’t gift anyone a handkerchief as it might affect the relationship between you both negatively. Now you know what not to get your girlfriend/boyfriend.


13. Look back from underneath your arm if you sense someone following you

We saved the best for last. When walking alone at night and you feel the presence of someone following you, refrain from turning around swiftly and looking behind you. Look behind from underneath your arm instead, to get a clear visual of who’s following you. Yup, totally not weird. And totally helpful saving yourself from a possible kidnapping, supernatural possession or mugging. 

There you have it, folks. If you’ve got any amusing superstitions up your sleeve, do hit us up in the comment section. Cause sharing is caring!