The Folk Beliefs : Forecasts and Divinations
n spite of man’s acknowledged inability to read his future, there are people who claim to have the skill and the perception to forecast the future on the basis of events and signs of the present. This art has been prevalent in the Punjab from the earliest times. The lives of the ignorant village-folk are greatly influenced by them. Some of these predictions are based upon the involuntary movements of the body- twitching of an eye or any other part of body, itching on the palm, etc. If a man’s right eye twitches, some advantage is anticipated but the twitching of the left eye indicates harm. For a woman it is just the reverse- twitching of the right eye forebodes harm and of the left one good.
Similarly if there is itching on a man’s right palm, he can hope for some monetary gain, and a loss or an unforeseen expenditure, if it is on the left palm. Once again it is just the opposite in the case of a woman. If there is itching under the feet, a journey is expected. If someone sneezes at the start of a work, it is doomed to failure.
Like other communities the Punjabis have great faith in dreams. They believe that dreams if correctly interpreted are indications of events to come. An early morning dream is generally considered to come true. A marriage seen in a dream is supposed to bring some calamity, but a death is an indication of longevity. It is not good to dream of fire, but to see water in a dream is auspicious.
If a deceased relative gives something in a dream, the dreamer may expect a windfall or good luck in some other form, but if the deceased person takes away something it forebodes death. If one dreams of taking coins from some person, it is interpreted to mean illness in the family.
People do a number of things to get an insight into the future. The village-folk generally draw lines at random on a piece of paper, or draw them on the earth with a finger, and then they bracket them in pairs. If the lines turn out to be even in number, it means fulfilment of a wish; otherwise it means disappointment. This is called Aunsi.
While kneading dough, if a part of the flour falls out of the plate, it means guests are coming. Cawing of a crow on the wall of the house also means the same.
The happiness and prosperity of the Punjabis depend upon the abundance of rain. That is why great significance is attached to the skill of forecasting weather. If the cloud in the sky has the shape of a partridge’s feather, it is a sure promise of rain.
In order to know what form of birth the deceased has taken after his death, put a heap of ashes under a basket at night at the place where he died. In the morning the figure deciphered on the ficap is supposed to be the shape that that person has taken. If there is no figure at all, then the person is supposed to have attained salvation.