Main Piece: If a cat crosses your path, do not cross the street.
Why: Before cars were a means of transportation, and people walked to their destination, it was a believed that if a cat crossed the street, it would be running away from a snake and so for safety purposes, one should take a cat crossing the street as a warning sign to stay away from that general vicinity.
Where did you learn it: My Mother
Why do you follow it? Well, I don’t know really. Snakes as a threat aren’t really a concern for me for many reasons. First, there aren’t many stray cats in my neighborhood, nor are there any snakes and second, this superstition was more relevant back in the day in India when people did not travel regularly by cars and instead walked everywhere. Since I travel everywhere by car, even if there were to be stray cats crossing my path, the likelihood of my seeing them is extremely low. However I’ve heard other superstitions about cats crossing paths as bad luck, and so I’ve begun to follow the ones that my parents have taught me.
Again, we see folk beliefs that are being blindly followed. Once these individuals are questioned as to why they follow it, they aren’t able to give a straight answer. In this scenario, the individual actually follows the belief because she has heard similar superstitions that others belief. This superstition is being followed because of the belief that if the masses have similar beliefs, it is worth following. We see a trend of superstitions being followed by the younger generation due to it being enforced into habit rather than the reason it was practiced itself. I believe that such a cautionary practices became habits, and is still being followed regardless of its lack of necessity.