Farzanegan High school in Tehran/Iran is a specialized school for talented and gifted students. There are 30-32 students in each class and 800 students in the whole school. The school started in 1984. It is Tehran, one of the biggest cities in the world, to the south of the Alborz Mountains. Lots of beautiful villages with fruit gardens and places suitable for skiing attract visitors from many countries. One of the unusual land formation in this place is the famous Damavand volcano to the north-east of the city. Tehran is one of the industrial and scientific centres of the country with lots of commercial centers. In the center of the city there is the Traditional Bazar.
Grade 9 students of the Farzanegan High school like listening to pop, classical and metal music, they like reading Paulo Coelho and Rold Dahl. They like fast food and traditional foods. Their favourite school subjects are Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and computers. They like sports and computer games.
They suggested Learning Circle Project SUPERSTITIONS. Their information request for the Project is:
1 What is your idea of superstitions? 2 Do you have any belief in superstitions? 3 Do you think that a superstitious person is a logical one? 4 What are your country’s superstitions? 5 Do you think that superstitions have any affect on your life? 6 Do you know why superstitions have come to exist? 7 What are the similarities between superstitions all over the world?
Every culture in the world believes certain superstitions. Even societies that are very rational and scientific are sometimes a little bit superstitious. For example, the United States is a country that is very advanced in science and technology. But even in American society, people sometimes believe superstitions. Americans consider “thirteen” an unlucky number. So, it is rare to find a building with a thirteen floor in the United States. Some people in the United States also believe that if Friday falls on the thirteenth day of the month, they will have bad luck.
Some Americans believe they will have bad luck if they walk under a ladder. Even if people say they are not superstitious, they will often avoid walking under a ladder. Often, people consider it unlucky to break a mirror. If a person breaks a mirror, he or she will have seven years of sad misfortune.Americans also think they will have bad luck if a black cat crosses their path. A long time ago, people believed that black cats were really witches in disguise. However, some things are thought to bring good luck. For example, some Americans believe if they carry a rabbit’s foot, they will have good luck. Other people believe they will have good luck if they find a four-leaf clover. Others think they will have good luck if they find a penny on the ground and pick it up.
Even if a society becomes very advanced, its people will always remain a little bit superstitious.
The topic Superstitions, suggested by the Iran class was very interesting. Our students worked on this Project with enthusiasm. We wrote articles and essays, made a research work. We interviewed many people: students, teachers, our parents and other members of the family. We wanted to know national superstitions, specific superstitions of a family, our own superstitions and how superstitions affect our lives. This is the result of our work.
The survey The students of Tashkent Academic Lycee under UWED decided to know who believes more in superstitions, boys or girls. We asked 58 boys and girls two questions. This is the result of our survey:
1.Do you have any belief in superstitions? Yes/No/Somertimes.
2.Do you think that a superstitious person is a logical one?
1.Superstitions have a big influence on my life, especially in my study. For example when a black cat crosses my road, my day goes badly and I get bad marks.
2.In my family my mother always says, ”Don’t use broken dishes or mirror.” And my father says not to sleep at twilight. My grandmother says me that long nails bring bad luck.
An owl is a bad bird too. If it flies into a room it will cause a bad luck.
There are different superstitions in different nationalities. People believe in them because
superstitions affect their life. For example, when the black cat crosses your way, there can be an accident. This superstition is popular in many countries. Uzbek people believe that if they see a white snake or camel in their dreams they will be rich. And I think the superstitions appeared at the time when people’s knowledge wasn’t wide.
I don’t believe in superstitions. It is in the people’s mind. They believe in it.
Superstitions came into existence when it was the Stone Age. I think it was in African continent. Many millions of years ago when a person died other people put his weapon into his grave. They thought that dead people could use their weapons in another life.
For example, Uzbek people believe that if a man loses his knife it means a bad luck for him.
If a traveler sees a baobab tree it means good luck for him.
One of the English teachers in our Academic Lycee is an American Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan. We asked him to share Uzbek superstitions which he had gathered while living in Uzbekistan. Uzbek Superstitions
Don’t turn bread upside down.
Don’t throw bread ever.
Don’t throw bread in the trash.
Don’t cut your nails at night.
Kiss or brush bread off if you drop it.
Bread is used for healing.
Don’t eat with your left hand.
Use the right foot to step into and out of a room.
Don’t say “omin” with the knife on the table.
Last cup of tea poured marries well and your mother in law will love you.
Don’t greet a person until they have washed up in the morning.
Don’t stand a broom straight up.
Don’t put something spicy or salty in someone’s hand.
The tea cup is placed into someone’s hand when passing out cups of tea to people.
When your palm itches you are going to get or spend money.
If your ears get red someone is praising or talking badly about you.
Don’t lay the knife so the edge is upright.
Don’t eat food without offering it to others.
Don’t touch the tablecloth with your food and never put your food on the table.
Don’t lean back on an outstretched (stiff) arm.
Don’t stretch your legs out pointed in the direction of Mecca.
Don’t blow your nose in public or at the table.
Don’t stretch your arms out (while stretching or yawning) in public (at the table).
Nothing is talked about as a certainty in the future (always “Hudo hohlasa” =”If God Wills!”)
Anti “evil eye” beads with white dots are worn by everyone to ward off the “evil eye”.
Cold anything makes you sick.
Don’t cut the bread with a knife.
Don’t drink water after eating melon.
Don’t sit at the corner of a table.
If a bird “poops” on you , you will be rich.
“Isiriq” keeps you away from the “evil eye”. (Isiriq is a special grass people burn to keep the “demons” away).
Collected by Peace Corps volunteer
Tashkent Academic Lycee under UWED
Superstition is when people believe that something wrong or good may happen to them because of the special signs given by God, e.g. if a person gets up on his/her right foot it is for a good luck. If he gets up on his left foot it’s for bad luck.
I believe that if I get up with my right foot in the morning, the whole day will be good.
Don’t step on the threshold.
Superstitions have a big effect on my life. Sometimes many things can be based on superstitions. For example, I put my bed on the left side of the room to get up on my right foot in the morning. I think I will have bad luck if I get up on “wrong” left foot.
But there are only few superstitions in my family. For example, we hang a bell over the front door. When people come in, the bell rings and it frightens evil spirits. So the sound of the bell protects us.
I believe in superstitions and my family does too. I think it’s good when you know what you should
do and what you shouldn’t do in your life.
You must respect elderly people You must be very kind to old people and children.
My family’s superstitions: Before meals everybody must say “Bismillahur rahmanur rahiym”
If you don’t say it, your food will not be good. The oldest person of your family should start eating the food. It may be your Grandma, Grandpa, your father or mother. These are my family’s superstitions.
People who believe superstitions don’t understand their reasons. They don’t know when and how superstitions appear but follow them. Sometimes we can recognize the reason of a superstition, sometimes not. For example, if an Uzbek loses his knife it is bad luck for him. Perhaps it is connected to the ancient times when a man without his weapon was helpless and could not defend himself or his family.
in nature. So they started doing some things to change weather. For example, they tried to provoke or stop rain. That’s why many superstitions are shared by some nations. In the most popular superstitions people touch wood, don’t like number 13, black cats and the left side.