Nail Clippings & Superstition

Context & Background:

Informant: Friend from south India. In India, there is a major difference in cultures of the south and north. The languages are completely different and so are the customs. It is considered that the two parts of the country can act like two different countries. Here a friend talks about south Indian tradition about fingernails and their etiquette. 

Performance: (via phone call)

I was thinking about what you told me and I’ve noticed that we have some weird superstitions about nails. Like nails on your fingers and toes. For one, we don’t cut our nails on Thursday because it’s bad luck. And also, you can’t drop your nail clippings on the ground cause that’s bad luck too. Even if your nail accidentally breaks, you can’t be lazy and drop it on the ground – you have to go and properly dispose of it in the bathroom or trash. 


I’ve never heard of superstition about nails and don’t know that much about south Indian culture, but when I asked the friend about why that is, they had no idea. Sometimes there are superstitions that make no sense whatsoever and this might be one of them. I can’t help but think that in western culture, when witches make their potions, nails are included in their recipes. It might be because they are a waste item and aren’t useful, hence they are associated with bad luck and witches.