Don’t Step Over A Person

The superstition: “If you step over a person, he or she will stop growing. I don’t know why, it’s just something my family does.”

The informant is Indian American. Her parents are both from India, but she was born in California. She’s not very religious, but she considers herself culturally Indian. She grew up hearing this superstition from her parents, so she has always followed it. For example, if she’s sitting on the ground, if someone steps over her, she asks them to backpedal and step the opposite way to undo the act. When I asked her what the origin of the superstition, she wasn’t sure of the cultural significance; it was just something her parents did. For that reason, I don’t know if it’s rooted in Indian culture or religion. It could have something to do with Hindu belief in reincarnation, and someone stepping over you may cut off growth, and therefore ability to be reincarnated.