"Don't go out after dark"someone advises an expectant mother. "Do not sleep with your head in the north". In addition to these often given advice there are numerous other things that are considered to be a bad omen. Breaking of mirror, spilling of milk or some sneezing when a person is about to leave.
As a child we were told that anyone who asks for water, should be served without delay. If you do not , you will be born as a 'çhatak' bird in your next life-This is a mythical bird that can drink water only whenever it rains. We learnt the lesson of service of fear, but soon realised that water being the elixir of life should not be denied to anyone.
Breaking of mirror should be avoided at all cost. The glass used in mirrors is of a very fine quality and shatters into miniscule pieces. Even after cleaning speck like bits might remain on the floor. Anyone walking barefoot is at risk. An expectant mother should be careful in her movements amd going out in the dark, specially in rural India, can make her vulnerable to accidents. She may trip, get bitten by a snake or a poisonous thorn may pierce her foot. Any of these could be fatal to the unborn child and even for the mother.
Recent research has confirmed that radiations given out from the North Pole can effect the human brain in a negative way. This is more true when a person is sleeping and all his physical defence is at the lowest.
A sneeze is a sign that a person is not well. And nobody wants to leave a person in illness. It is only courtesy that we sit and wait to see that everything is fine again.
All said and done, except for some, most superstitions are based on good old wisdom. You will not be hanged fot not following them but sometimes it may be wise to heed these words of caution. But don't just blindly follow superstitons. Know the conrete logical reason behind them and then only follow them for the right reasononly.