Uncover hidden superstitions meanings

A votive offering is where objects are offered in exchange for spiritual help.

What is a votive offering?

A good example of a votive offering is a wishing well. Objects were offered for both cleansing and protection. This was especially common in church, to try to remove ones sins. It was thought that this was a link between the person's ancestors as well as gods. According to the bible God commanded Adam to offer sacrifices every morning as they believed that this was the only way God would forgive their sins. Lambs blood was a sign of signifying the death of Jesus Christ.

The Hindus in ancient times have a cast system where each class have its own way of carrying out sacred rituals, For instance, the lowest class in society offered goat's and sheep sacrifices to their gods as way of appeasing them. This was in addition to seeking cleansing. The middle and upper classes presented gifts and vows to the gods. During these sacrifices the meat was shared among those that participated in the process. It was believed to bond the community by promoting harmony, co-existence, understanding and good relationships between each other.

At Palni Shrin in India, there existed the habit of offering children’s hair as sacrifices, it was believed that young children were prone to sickness and illness than any other person and this was caused by evil spirits. As a result, the only way this would be prevented was by offering it as a sacrifice to the gods. This was common to the Brahaman women who lived in the south. The belief led to nurturing of good relationships between the living and the dead, especially among the widows.

It was believed that such sacrifices would strengthen those bonds and as a result, they would protect them from evil spirits and powers that were believed to be looking for a place to enter their body and cause harm. The Mariamman god in most cases was in charge of blessing those that made vows, for instance, promises were made to this god about piercing one’s body with a spear and any blood that came out of such an act was a sign of blessings from the gods. This all sounds quite far-fetched in this day and age but ancient vows were common centuries ago.

By Florance Saul
Oct 29, 2012