Turkish Evil Eye
The “evil eye” is a curse, or hex, believed to be cast upon a person by a malevolent glare, typically when the target is unaware.
Westerners’ belief in the evil eye dates back to ancient Greece. However, Western Asians and North Africans trace the evil eye’s roots to Sumeria (modern day Iraq) and ancient Egypt. Pliny the Elder wrote about certain African enchanters (we would call them shamen or, less respectfully, witch doctors) who had the power of the evil eye: “…[they] can even kill those upon whom they fix their gaze.”
While beliefs in the evil eye vary across cultures and eras, throughout Europe and the Middle East, charms and talismans to ward it off have been found dating back to the first century BC. As a class, these objects are termed apotropaic (Greek: “turns away”) talismans.
The most common of these are disks or beads having concentric blue and white circles (usually from center outward, dark blue, light blue, white, and dark blue), representing an evil eye. Fight fire with fire, seems to have been the logic of this. This type of talisman is called in Turkish a nazar. In Turkey you will see nazars on houses, in cars, painted on fishing boats, and worn as beads.
In Spanish culture, the term is mal de ojo; in Brazil it is mal-olhado; in India it is nazar.
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