BY Ama Nunoo, 9:09am November 05, 2019,

The real reasons behind some of Africa’s spooky superstitions

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There are superstitions with varying interpretations in almost every society.

In the African setting, superstitions, which have been passed on from generation to generation, still hold value to date for various reasons.

From grooming and shaping people to being used as a means of averting harm, it comes as no surprise that they have stood the test of time.

As a matter of fact, go to any African household and it is highly likely they have superstitions they revere and attach so much importance to.

As questionable, funny or spooky as some may be, the underlining reasons behind most of them are usually beneficial.

According to Medical News Today, superstitions help relieve anxiety as they can sometimes “have a soothing effect, relieving anxiety about the unknown and giving people a sense of control over their lives.”

By doing away with anxiety, this goes a long way in helping boost individual performance.

“There is evidence that positive, luck-enhancing superstitions provide a psychological benefit that can improve skilled performance. There is anxiety associated with the kinds of events that bring out superstition,” said psychology professor Stuart Vyse in an interview, according to Medical News Today.

So if you have your ritual you do before or while undertaking any project or competing in any activity and it works, don’t feel weird, stick to it!

With that being said, we share with you some African superstitions and their meanings. Take a look at them below:

Low rectangular tomb carved and painted with geometric shapes

A tomb in Madagascar — Photo Credit: Salym Fayad/Flickr


Fady refers to a number of taboos and superstitions that are not taken lightly Madagascar. If you point at a tombstone, call a baby ugly or consume eels when you’re pregnant, you’ve broken fady and you’re labelled as unclean. It is also believed that people who break fady risk putting the community’s spiritual ambience in danger.


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Do not sweep your house at night or a misfortune may befall you

Real reason: It doesn’t make sense to sweep in the dark as you most likely wouldn’t know what you are doing. Besides disturbing others who may be trying to catch some sleep, you may also be spreading and inhaling unnecessary dust.


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Photo via Pinterest

Do not sing while bathing or you may die

Real reason: Singing while bathing can result in you taking in some of the soapy water which is unhealthy.


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Photo via Wiki Commons

What happens when you dream of fish?

Interpretation: According to this superstition, if you dream of fish, either you or someone you’re close to will get pregnant.


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Photo via

Pinching a bride on her wedding day

Interpretation: Pinching a bride on her wedding day in Egyptian tradition signifies good luck.

Last Edited by:Ama Nunoo Updated: February 4, 2021


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