Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Evil Eye.

sharp glance. A cutting look. A piercing stare. If looks could kill. All actions we attribute to the Evil Eye.

To an American, the "Evil Eye" may sound like something out of a goofy 1950s horror movie but the reality is that the theme of the Evil Eye runs deep and wide in human history. Universally, it describes a look inspired by maliciousness or jealousy and it is blamed for causing everything from garden-variety bad luck to toothaches, headaches, disease and death. It is also believed that the evil eye doesn’t only affect humans, but also animals, plants and homes.

Turks are particularly superstitious when it comes to the Evil Eye. In Turkey, the tradition is to ward off the Evil Eye with a nazar boncuğu (pronounced "nah-zar bond-schuk") amulet. The belief is that all the negative energy, associated with the Evil Eye, will be directed towards the amulet and by doing so, protect its holder.

In the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean region, especially throughout Greece and up into Turkey, there is a strong tendency to view blue-eyed people as bearers of the evil eye -- probably because few locally-born people have blue eyes. Taking from this belief, nazar boncuğu typical resembles an eye and consists of concentric circles of, (from inside out) dark blue, light blue (or yellow), white, and dark blue.

In Turkey, nazar boncuğu can be seen worn as jewelry, dangling from the bumpers of taxi cabs, pinned to the clothes of babies, built into the foundation of modern office buildings, and guarding the doorways of houses.

Not that I'm superstitious but.... when we arrive in Instanbul, I am definitely getting nazar boncuğu amulets for both Lei and I to ensure safe travel during our visit through Turkey and Croatia!