Author Archives: Connor Wilson

No Hair on Foreheads

“It’s a common superstition in India, and it used to be taken especially serious in my house, that people shouldn’t keep their hair on their forehead, like it should be kept combed back because if your hair covers your forehead it will bring you illness in the future.  My mom used to make me do it but when I started growing out my hair and refusing to cut it she let me just go with it even though I knew it was bothering her.  It isn’t a hardcore religious superstition, but it is followed more strictly than a lot of other superstitions.”


There seems to be a sliding scale when it comes to how seriously certain Hindu customs are taken, and I find it extremely fascinating which ones land where they land on the scale.  From and outsider’s perspective, it seems a little arbitrary which ones are taken seriously and which ones aren’t, but I’d be extremely interested to find out if there’s anything connecting which customs are taken seriously and which customs are treated a little less seriously.

After a Cremation

“In India it’s a rule for anyone who follows the Hindu religion that if they attend a cremation, which is the burning of a dead body, they have to shower first thing when they get home because if they don’t it brings negative vibes into the house and brings misfortune basically.  This is actually a really strictly followed custom because even though my house is pretty liberal about these sorts of things we still follow it very strictly.”


It’s interesting to see which customs in the Hindu religion are followed extremely strictly and which customs are followed relatively liberally and only upheld by the more orthodox families.  For example, while this custom is followed quite strictly, the custom of eating vegetarian on Tuesdays and the custom of married couples fasting on one day of the year are followed quite loosely.

Vegetarian Tuesday

“Indian families that eat non-vegetarian foods regularly change what they eat every Tuesday to eat only vegetarian foods in honor of the gods because if you eat meat on Tuesday it will bring bad luck.  My household followed this rule pretty strictly, and my mom still does, but because my dad got tired of it me and my siblings don’t really have to follow it anymore.”


This is a great example of a ritual that many families follow because it is deeply rooted in religious tradition, but more and more families today choose not to follow for whatever reason.  This makes me wonder what the trend of families that follow this tradition looks like in terms of how many families stop practicing this tradition every year.

Fasting for Blessings

“So, In India, there’s this common ritual for married couples.  So, one day of the year, they fast in honor of their significant other so the gods bless them.  My parents did it until they were in their 40’s but then they just gave up on it.  For the most orthodox families they do it even if their ill and need to eat, but since my family isn’t like that it’s not that serious.  And it’s on a specific day of the year, but I don’t remember which one.”


I find it interesting that different families take this custom to different degrees of seriousness.  It’s a very clear and straightforward ritual, that if you fast you will be blessed by the gods, but still some families take it more seriously than others.  It makes me wonder what percent of families take it seriously compared to the percent that don’t, and if there are any other factors that might help indicate which families will take it seriously and which won’t.


“So, my dad is super into muscle car culture.  I’m talking like after market cars, American muscle, noisy cars, the whole deal.  Back before I was born, my dad went to this autoshow with this muscle car he’d spent the last three years of his life fixing up, and he was super proud of it and was really excited to show it off.  It’s tradition when leaving a car show for people to do burnouts as they drive away, just because it’s rebellious or whatever.  So what happened was, my dad was lined up with about ten other cars all about to do simultaneous burnouts, but all of a sudden a cop rolled up behind them.  Nothing was illegal about the car show, but doing a burnout is illegal unless it’s on a closed road with police permission, which this wasn’t.  So, all the other cars stay put and don’t burnout because of the cop, and since the cop knows that burnouts are likely to be taking place, he lingers.  But because my dad was so excited about his car and couldn’t let anything stop him from showing it off, he brings the rev up, dumps the clutch, and smokes his tires right in front of the cop.  Since my dad’s not a felon, though, he just does the burnout, drives like 100 meters and then pulls over so the cop can pull him over.  So the cop rolls up to my dad with his lights flashing and approaches my dad.  So it turns out the cop is actually just super into car shows and really wanted to see what was going on at the show, so the cop doesn’t give my dad a ticket and actually applauds him for making such a bold move.  The only reason the cop pulled my dad over was just so all the other cars wouldn’t start doing burnouts too.  So after that my Dad became a local car show legend, and to this day his name lives in infamy among all car enthusiasts in the Boston area.”


I found this legend extremely interesting because it’s impossible to tell how much of it is true and how much of it is fabricated.  Because the informant didn’t witness the event firsthand and has only heard the story from the father, it’s extremely plausible that the father embellished on the story to make himself look cooler.  And because of the inherent nature of local legends, there’s no way of knowing just how much of the story is true or not.  All we can do is take the story for what it is: a story.