Monday, August 2, 2021

The Weird Eye-Twitching Superstition

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We have all gotten a case of eye-twitching at least once in our lives, if not more often. Eye-twitching is annoying and intrusive, especially when it comes around when you’re in the midst of a meaningful conversation.

But it gets weird when someone tells you that your eye-twitching is a bad omen, that something worse is going to happen, or that someone is missing you, or someone is in love with you, or your loved ones are in danger; the list goes on. Supposedly, your eye twitches when it wants to tell you something. And when that happens, you better listen to it.

The eye-twitching superstition is rampant in all parts of the world. And everywhere, it has a different meaning. The superstition takes multiple things into account- if it is your left eye or right eye, whether it is noon or night, if it’s in a specific time window like between 3 pm and 6 pm, or 9 am, and 11 am if it happens for more than a few minutes. The eye-twitching superstition has existed for long and has firm believers.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Even if you are a believer in this superstition, make sure you note how long the twitching lasts. If it’s’s longer than 10-15 minutes and happens every so often, consult a doctor because the reason could be a lack of sleep, stress, or even an eye infection or disease.

Meaning In Different Countries

The eye-twitching superstition holds different meanings in different parts of the world. Let’s see the most common beliefs of a few countries :


If you’re living or have lived in India, you know that most elders strongly believe in superstitions. The reason that superstitions have always been given so much weightage in Indian traditions and culture is that they originate from mythology, scriptures, and folklore, which are significant elements that form the core of India’s beliefs. The eye-twitching superstition might sound bizarre to the new generations, but they have been a part of the Indian mentality for decades, and thus, shouldn’t be invalidated.

The eye-twitching superstition in India depends on which part of your eyes is twitching, along with your gender.

If a man’s right eye twitches, it means good destiny. On the other hand, when a woman’s right eye twitches, it’s a bad omen. The opposite goes for the left eye in both cases.

If the eyebrow twitches, that might mean that good news (the baby kind) could be coming along. When the upper eye twitches, it indicates financial prosperity and wealth.

When the upper eyelid twitches, that means that you will be the recipient of bad news, while a twitching of the lower eyelid indicates that a need to spend money would come up in the near future.

Prasanta Kr Dutta


Superstitions are religiously believed in China as well. The eye-twitching superstition in China coincides with the time of the day, along with the left or right eye. Generally, twitching of the left eye is a good omen, and twitching of the right eye is a bad omen.

In Chinese culture, different times of the day are assigned with zodiac animals. So, for instance:

If your left eye twitches between 9 am to 11 am (zodiac animal: snake), that means you will be invited for a social gathering. If your right eye twitches, you might be engaging in a fight or argument. Between 1 pm and 3 pm (zodiac animal: sheep), left eye twitching indicates financial gain and right eye twitching indicates the arrival of something positive.

Between 5 pm and 7 pm (zodiac animal: rooster), left eye twitching means that you will be blessed with a visit from a friend after a long time and right eye twitching means a stranger will come into your life. Click here to learn more about Chinese superstitions.


The eye-twitching superstition isn’t uniform across Africa, and it depends on the country. For instance, in Nigeria, left eye twitching is considered bad news, and right eye twitching is a good omen, both of which bring bad luck and good luck respectively.  In other countries of Africa, the twitching of the upper part of the eye indicates that you might get a surprise visitor in your life. In contrast, twitching of the lower part of the eye is an indication of feeling overwhelmed or emotional.

How Does The Eye Twitch?

Before getting further into the eye-twitching superstition, let’s understand how the eye twitches. Nerves control your eye muscles. When there is an occasional series of bursts of activity in these nerves, that causes our eyes to move, jump, flutter, or twitch. Most commonly, the twitches are felt on the inner corner of the upper eyelid or lower eyelid.

However, it can also be contacted in both parts and sometimes even simultaneously in both eyes. Watch this video to understand how the eye twitches in more detail:

Origin of The Eye-Twitching Superstition

The eye has always been considered to be sacred in folklore. It is regarded as a divine source of vision, knowledge, and light. Because of this, eyes and their movements are linked to predictions and forecasting. Many traditions believe in warding off an evil eye through rituals, godly people are supposed to have a third eye, and people with different colored eyes are considered to possess “witch eyes.”

Arvind Shakya

Superstitions are deeply embedded in our history, and for many, there is no telling when they might have risen. In India, they might date back to centuries ago, which is why they have been passed down generation by generation, and are so commonly widespread today. But there can be assumptions derived from the records we do have. For instance, in ancient times, people believed that twitching or spasming of the eye could signify that the sub-conscious mind wishes to communicate something and give a forewarning about the person’s destiny.

Scientific Theories

There is, of course, no scientific backing to the eye-twitching superstition. However, scientists do have theories about how the superstition might have come to be. Let’s analyze one such approach.

Eye-twitching is a common symptom of Benign Essential Blepharospasm (BEB), a neurological disorder that causes spasms and twitches in the eye and eyelid muscles. The cause behind BEB is yet to be known, but it can be associated with stress, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol. A theory by Scientific American suggests that when the BEB is triggered by stress about a particular event, it could cause eye-twitching, making people link the twitching with the event.

For instance, if you’re already tensed about a relative calling you or you are anticipating a work-related call, your stress might cause BEB and result in eye spasms. And that will make you link it to the eye-twitching superstition. It’s funny when science finds its way into superstitions and actually proves them to be true.

Tensed Phonecall

Another theory is that there is no way to tell if the superstition is true or not. For instance, if your eye twitches and the superstition associated with where you live is that it means someone is missing you, there is no way you can find out if it’s true. That is another reason why superstitions are so commonly adopted, is that they lend a sense of comfort. You can feel warmth in knowing that someone is missing you, but that’s about it.

People also tend to wish the superstition true if they believe strongly in it. For instance, if something notable happens in your day, say making a new friend or attending a social gathering, and later your eye starts twitching, a superstitious person would immediately link both events.

So every notable event may not result in an eye-twitching episode, but every eye-twitching episode will be related to a noteworthy event. Usually, you may not even notice something as minor as an eye-twitch, but the superstition attaches meaning to it, and thus it sticks in your memory.

But BEB is a serious issue and can escalate into something worse. It can cause involuntary eye-shutting, swelling, and temporary blindness. So, in any case of eye-spasms, consult a doctor even if you are a firm believer in the eye-twitching superstition.

Is The Eye-Twitching Superstition True?

Much like most superstitions, there is no way of knowing. Most people might argue that it isn’t right, it’s’s just an illogical belief made by our ancestors centuries ago, and science goes against it. But superstitions are accompanied by faith, hope, and trust, and it’s unjust to invalidate them and question people who choose to believe them.

But ignoring muscle spasms in the eye and passing it off as just an eye-twitching superstition is also wrong. If you experience occasional or benign (not painful) twitching, cut back on unhealthy food and drinks, and focus on your sleep, exercise, and relaxation.

Benign eye twitching can be related to mild blepharospasm, which is harmless and goes away in a while. However, excessive and painful eye twitching can be a symptom of severe blepharospasm, which is harmful to your eyes. It could also mean hemifacial spasms or the onset of other serious diseases.

Hemifacial Spasm
Image Source: Wikipedia

Superstitions have been existing since the beginning of time. And even after technological advancement and development, they have somehow managed to catch up. All cultures have several superstitions, and many hold them close to their hearts.

Even if they appear irrational to an outsider, these superstitions are still culturally significant. And who knows, they may also be true.

Click here to know more about Indian superstitions.


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