Blindly Guided by Superstitions


Amanda Ross, Reporter

Superstition: a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief. 

Whether it’s being cautious of walking under a ladder, knocking on wood, or your own personal ritual, chances are you follow a superstition. It’s interesting to explore what causes somebody to adopt superstitions into their lives, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Sophomore, Emerson Burt, shared some of her superstitions.

“I believe if you break a mirror it’s bad luck,” Burt said. “And I have ones with volleyball, like if I play super well with a pair of socks, I don’t wash them until I play bad in them. I also don’t like it when other people touch my knee pads.”

Naomi Baraban, a senior bass player and track runner at Novato High, also spoke on her superstitious beliefs.

“Just a routine I go through before I perform; like if I have to perform I’m gonna have to listen to the whole setlist before I play it,” Baraban said. “Before any race, I do the same thing. As in, for the last 7 minutes before the race, I gotta be on my own, nobody talking to me.”

When asked if she feels a difference when she doesn’t go through her usual routines, Baraban said “It just doesn’t feel right. Those routines clear my mind to be able to do those things.”

Although some live by these rituals, others feel differently about superstitions. 

Junior at Novato High, Ella Bilbija, said she isn’t a superstitious person.

“Everything happens for a reason; why would throwing salt over your shoulder change that?”

Ailish Lowth, a Novato High sophomore, feels the same way.

“I just don’t think small things like wearing a certain thing or having a lucky item has any effect on life,” said Lowth. “I can see why some people have small traditions or superstitions because it gives them a sense of stability, but I don’t think it has any real effect on anything.”

Superstitions lack the proof to back them up, so why do some follow them? Maybe it’s the tiny chance that you truly will be given bad luck if you don’t knock on wood. Trying to capture some control over life is appealing to many people who might feel powerless in general. 

An article in Medical News Today took a deeper look into the psychological mechanisms behind superstitious thinking. 

“Sometimes superstitions can have a soothing effect, relieving anxiety about the unknown and giving people a sense of control over their lives. This may also be the reason why superstitions have survived for so long — people have passed them on from generation to generation,” write Ana Sandoiu in Medical News Today. 

Life can be overwhelming and uncertain, so we tend to do whatever we can to maintain a sense of calm and control; even if that requires following beliefs that possess no real proof to be true.