Indian Folklore brings forth several interesting superstitions. One of them is avoiding the sweeping of floor at night. Now is it a Myth or is this Reality? Is there any science involved in this practice or is something hidden in our past? History has presented such events which are associated with interesting facts. Thence emerges an all powerful myth which preserves, persists and pervades eons of time and enters the modern day world. Sweep on, folks.
Well if you do not believe me, then sit back and read on.
Centuries ago, in the times of Lodhi Dynasty, India was undergoing a lot of changes in the socio-economic systems. So there were a lot of attempts to preserve the customs and the science which existed. The invaders were bringing around a lot of changes in the society. The inhabitants held on to their beliefs by associating them with spooky stories and certain taboos.
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Here is a popular story which is associated behind the myth about sweeping the floors at night.
In Delhi, there lived a wealthy Hindu merchant, who dealt in trading of spices and precious stones. He had a flourishing business and was accumulating rich profits due to successful deals with overseas buyers. His work involved a lot of travelling and many a times, he would reach home around midnight. Since he would bring in a lot of dust with him, his wife would have a hard time keeping the home clean. Apparently she was obsessed about cleanliness, so she would start sweeping and mopping the floor at night. This practice did not turn out to be beneficial for her.
In those days, the brooms were not made out of cinders like it is today. In Western Countries, you would find plastic brooms, but in India the plastic brooms are made out of cinders or thread like spokes of bamboo or any other wooden material. But in the medieval time, the paraphernalia was different. In the North, bird feathers were used and in the South, palm leaves were used.
Feathers of birds especially the ones of long length were used. Which birds fit the description? Of course, peacocks, poultry and swans had a large wing span. Now Peacocks were considered high in the Hindu Mythology. But the Muslims revered it much more and used it for fanning the grave of the Wise and Enlightened Ones. It was even used by Saints to bless the common folk.
Since, the feathers were so Divine and Pure, this lady was perennially advised by the village elders to quit this practice. Moreover, it was not advisable to sweep at night, lest you might throw out something valuable out of the house. She disobeyed and one night, she swept away a small pouch containing a rare diamond in one pocket and an expensive Middle Eastern spice in another.
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As a consequence, her husband lost a considerable part of his wealth and was reduced to the status of a beggar and the family lived on in poverty for the rest of their lives.
This story grew quite popular and strengthened the belief behind the myth. Even now, sweeping the floor at night is a Taboo in India and strikes terror in the hearts of Indian folk.
The science behind the story, however, lies in the story itself. If you sweep at night, you might end up losing something valuable.
So care to sweep the floor, anyone? It’s not night time, though.