Superstition: Don’t Eat with your Left Hand


It is a superstition in Indian culture to eat with your left hand.


Informant: “My Brown mother used to always tell me to not eat with my left hand. I always asked her why, and she was always like ‘it’s not good manners to do that.’ Don’t really know what that means if I’m honest.”


In traditional Indian culture, it is customary to eat most foods with one’s hands. The practice supposedly enhances the individual’s relationship with the meal they’re consuming and is a sensory experience that aligns with the Ayurvedic practices. At the end of the day, it’s a cultural tradition that has been passed down for generations.

In Hinduism, the right hand is viewed as pure and is associated with prosperity, blessings, and peace. In fact, the entire right side of the body is perceived as auspicious. On the other hand, the left hand is associated with less pure activities such as bodily hygiene and personal care, a notion that is reinforced by holy scripture. In Hinduism, all actions such as offering prayers cannot be done with the left hand for fear of bad luck. This superstition can be considered a taboo/ritual, where the practice of eating with the left hand is reinforced as taboo alongside the passed-down practice of eating with the right. Ultimately, this superstitious ritual has multiple layers that trace back to Indian culture; eating with one’s right hand both aligns with the cultural value of eating with hands while also avoiding the bad luck associated with the left hand.