Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Superstitions Are a Form of Insurance

Seemingly mundane tasks like using a broom becomes dangerous according to Nigerian superstitions.

Superstitions are like a form of insurance, treated with a special kind of reverence in Nigeria. Even though the true meaning of superstitions might have been lost over time, they persist just because they have been around for so long. 

It's rare to find someone, even if they're logical and level-headed, who doesn't hold onto some sort of superstition. Many believe deeply that breaking a certain rule will bring bad luck or evil.

Superstitions are not tied to any specific social class. When we compare how different groups of society think, we often criticize one group for their strange ideas and imaginative beliefs without realizing that the other group holds onto similar beliefs in a more hidden way.

We have to admit that superstitions are a unique part of human nature. These superstitious beliefs and practices have not appeared overnight; they have been passed down through generations in stories, songs, sayings, and proverbs. As a result, they've become so deeply woven into everyday life that it's not easy to get rid of them.

sweeping broom in west africa

Seven broom signs and omens in many Nigerian houses.

1. Sweeping under a baby's feet will cause them to become lazy. 

2. A broom hung over the door, that house is said to be clean, and no bad sickness can come in.

3. You should never sweep the room while the child is asleep because you will sweep their soul away.

4. If you kill a gecko, a wall gecko, or a slippery house lizard in your home with a broom or any other household item, the home will collapse, and everyone in the house will die.

5. Hitting a man with a broom will make him impotent or make his genitals fall off, but for the man to reverse the curse, he must hit the woman with the broom seven times.

6. Sweeping after dark, even a few strokes, and you are dooming your household to bad luck, even death. 

7. If you happen to brush a broom against someone's feet, including your own, the person affected will quickly flee or run away.

Following Superstitions is a Form of Insurance

Broom superstitions find their roots deep in Nigerian cultural heritage where they have been nurtured and passed down as a part of a community's collective wisdom and practices. These beliefs become intertwined with the fabric of daily life, representing a connection to the past, ancestors, and the traditions that have shaped culture.

While these Nigerian broom superstitions may not always have a clear or rational basis that aligns with modern understanding, people who adhere to them do so with a deep respect for the wisdom and experiences of their ancestors. The belief in superstitions serve as a way to honor and preserve the customs and beliefs of Nigerians that have been valued for centuries.

The desire to avoid potential harm plays a significant role in perpetuating superstitions in Nigeria and throughout the world. Even though there might not be a logical explanation for how or why a certain action could lead to harm, the fear of the unknown and the unpredictable outcomes can be strong motivators. 

Following superstitions becomes a form of insurance, a way to mitigate risk and protect oneself, one's family, and the community from potential negative consequences.

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