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Five Igbo superstitions that spell bad luck


Chimamaka Ihenacho

All cultures have their superstitions and crucial dos and don’ts.
The Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria used to take such beliefs very seriously – thinking that to transgress them would bring bad luck or even death.
These days such superstitions are more likely to elicit laughter – although some people might still adhere to them just in case.

Here are Igboland’s top five superstitious beliefs:

Don’t step over a pregnant woman’s legs

Should an expectant mother be sitting on the ground with her legs outstretched, do not jump over her legs, walk around her – otherwise it is believed her baby will be born with a form of dwarfism. It is also thought that the child could end up looking like you instead of its parents.

Don’t sweep at night

If a person starts getting busy with a broom after dusk, it is believed they will sweep away the family’s wealth.

Beware of unknown callers

If you respond to someone calling your name without checking to see who is calling you and then cannot locate the caller, you could be in trouble. Igbos believe that it may be God calling, and by responding you’ve agreed to meet your maker.

Beware of bumping your left leg

It is a bad omen to knock your left leg against a stone, wall or any object. Superstition has it that you should abandon what you’re dong immediately –to carry on could endanger your life.

Don’t whistle at night

If you whistle after dark you’re in danger of summoning up bad spirits. It is also believed that a whistler could be summoning snakes.