There is a Hindu holiday, which occurs twice a year, called Navratras. It lasts 9 days. During these 9 days, people who fast do not use any sharp objects, except for a knife to cut food. People do not cut nails or hair or shave for 9 days. It is believed to bring bad luck if you use sharp objects.
JG is 59 years old and my mother. She grew up in India with a very religious Hindu family, before immigrating to the USA. She still practices Hinduism to this day, and follows all of the religion’s traditions, observes the festivals, and believes in its myths to this day. She tried to pass this on to me as a child, but her religious beliefs never really connected with me. She agreed to retell this celestial myth to me for this assignment.
The Navratras is a Hindu festival in which people worship Goddess Durga by fasting. Some people believe that Goddess Durga stood on the tip of a needle while fighting the evil forces – this is why sharp objects, like needles, are probably associated with bad luck. The festival has its origins in ancient Hindu texts and has been observed for centuries – this shows the great effort that many Indian cultures make to preserve their stories and traditions. This particular aspect of fasting is probably a form of making physical sacrifices, in the form of small changes in one’s everyday lifestyle, for the gods.