Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Snapshot: Turkey

This kind grinning man is the reason we have evil eye magnets on our fridge, an evil eye amulet hanging over Oscar’s bedroom door and the evil eye that replaced the spastic dashboard surfer in our car. Who could resist a face like his and the strong bond formed over twenty cups of burly tannic fiercely brewed tea? Not us- we ended up buying everybody stocking stuffers as well.

The evil eye, or nazar, is ubiquitous all over Turkey in the form of jewelry and trinkets; it can be found printed on bathmats, cemented into the façade of homes, and always pinned to the shirt of a newborn baby. The symbol, which looks roughly like an eye is used to ward off evil. A person can unknowingly have an “evil eye” and unintentionally bring harm to whomever or whatever he or she gazes upon. A person’s praises may be benign, but evil spirits can piggyback on their words or looks and sock you with a pesky curse.

The history of the evil eye goes back before the Muslim religion's emergence in the Middle East, and is seen among the Arabs, Iranians, Greeks, Indians, and even in Ancient Egypt.

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