Difference Between Myth and Superstition

Myth vs Superstition
 

The main difference between myth and superstition lies in the fact that one is a story while the other is a belief. In most cultures, there are myths and superstitions which are veiled into the society. Myths or mythologies are not the same as superstitions. A myth can be understood as a traditional story, which has certain supernatural elements. It is more accurate to consider a myth as a social construction, rather than a true account of history. It is an interesting story, perhaps with a moral but does not provide accurate factual information. A superstition, on the other hand, is a belief in supernatural influences or practices. This is the main difference between a myth and a superstition. Through this article, let us examine the possible differences between a myth and a superstition.

What is Myth?

A myth can be defined as an ancient legend, story or even a fable of the early history. Greek legends of gods such as Zeus and mortals such as Odysseys are some great myths of our history. A myth can also be used to explain a natural event especially involving supernatural beings. Myths began to develop since the beginning of human existence and civilizations where people had the urge to comprehend the world around them. As science and technological development were rather limited during these times, myths were used as a form of rationalization. It allowed people to make sense of the world in a creative manner.

The very creation of the world, the natural elements were all understood through myths. These myths consisted of various characters such as gods and supernatural beings that had various powers and potentials to bring about changes in the human world. Myths were also used to sustain the prevailing social order of the society through traditions, customs, and various rituals. Another function of myths was to operate as a moral tale.

Difference Between Myth and Superstition

Zeus from Greek myths

What is Superstition?

A superstition can be defined as a belief in supernatural influences or a practice based on this. This can involve the role of evil spirits, witchcraft, religious ideals, and even certain traditional beliefs. In most societies, there are many superstitions, which are intertwined with the cultural beliefs of the society. Superstitions can also be connected with luck. For example, the belief that a black cat signifies bad luck can be viewed as a superstitious belief because there is no factual or rational basis for it. In the past, the reliance and belief in superstitions were quite high, even though the situation has changed now along with the rapid development in science. In rural areas, these are still believed. Especially in Asian cultures there are many superstitions revolving around astrology, evil spirits, etc.

 Myth vs Superstition

Superstition says black cat brings bad luck

What is the difference between Myth and Superstition?

• Definition of Myth and Superstition:

• A myth can be defined as an ancient legend, story, or even a fable of the early history which is used to explain a natural event especially involving supernatural beings.

• A superstition can be defined as a belief in supernatural influences or a practice based on this.

• Story:

• A myth usually unfolds a story or legend which has supernatural elements such as gods.

• Superstitions are only beliefs. They do not have story.

• Rationalization:

• A myth is used for rationalization of the unknown.

• However, a superstition is not used for rationalization but embracing the supernatural.

• Connection to culture:

• Both myths and superstitions can function as parts of culture or social constructions of a group of people.

• Moral:

• Myths are used to support the prevailing order of a society by providing a moral.

• A superstition does not provide a moral.

• Focus:

• Myths do not center around certain objects and animals signifying good and bad luck.

• Superstitions can center around certain objects and even animals signifying good or bad luck.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Zeus via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Black cat by  DrL (CC BY-SA 2.5)