What's the evil eye really all about? We asked these mums to share their stories and discovered that it's a lot more popular than you might think...
It’s a well-known fact that parenthood is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. You have moments when the waters flow with such calm, which is great while it lasts. Then there are moments when all hell breaks loose. You have no clue how to cope with all the turmoil. It’s at these points in life we tend to stop to think – was this meant to happen? To comfort ourselves, we try hard to blame something or unravel the root cause. If our questions remain unanswered, we might even take it to the next level – was it the cause of something outside of the ordinary?
Enter: The evil eye and Tina’s story
I started thinking about the evil eye after a recent conversation with my friend Tina. Tina was at a low point one day, and her close friend coincidently called to check on her after she missed a girls’ catch-up. The previous night had been traumatic for Tina’s little one as he was sick and hadn’t slept much. She decided to talk about it as she was in a vulnerable place and couldn’t understand why her littlies fell sick so often. In her mind, she had checked all the boxes – from nutrition to sleep and everything in between. What could be the cause? After a long pause, her friend finally concluded, “You know what, Tina, it has to be something beyond your control. I hate to say it, but I think it is the evil eye”.
That wasn’t on Tina’s list of reasons for her kid’s illness – far from it. This chat with Tina got me thinking about the evil eye and whether it is still a thing for parents today.
What is the evil eye?
But before that, what is the evil eye actually all about? It refers to that malicious long stare from one person towards another, especially when they are unaware of it. The stare may be in admiration or otherwise, but it usually stems from envy or jealousy. It is the reason for subsequent negative events that occur to the person stared at, like illnesses, injury or even misfortune. In some cultures, an evil curse even comes as a spoken compliment from people as close as relatives and friends. It’s a belief that has been part of cultures and traditions for centuries.
But is there really anything to it, and what does it mean when it comes to parenting in today’s world?
Protect the littlies first
The most commonly protected age group from the evil eye are babies and children. As I listened to Tina’s story, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would mean to get tangled in such ideologies as a parent. Not only would you have to worry about their care and keeping your tinies safe, but also figure out ways to ward off supernatural curses. Tina shared how she’d been left in a strange place after her conversation, even though she thought her friend meant well.
What keeps the evil eye curse at bay?
So if the evil eye curse is a thing, what do you do to avoid it?
Evil eye wearables
Since the evil stare can happen at any place or time, believers use jewellery like the famous eye amulet, charms and trinkets to keep themselves safe at all times. Many A-listers are firm believers in the phenomenon too. Kim Kardashian was spotted wearing bracelets and head jewellery with the evil eye symbol on multiple public occasions. Fashion model Gigi Hadid belongs to this club as well, sporting evil eye-inspired designs in her ensemble.
Home entrance decor
The evil eye is also used as decor for home entrances to ward off spells. Seen commonly outside the entrance doorway to homes, like bunches of chillies and lemons hanging, amulets, talismans and even the ancient Middle Eastern emblem known as Hamsa.
Makeup for babies
For newborn babies, a common practice to keep away malicious stares is to mark their faces with a big black dot using black eyeliner. To make the baby look ugly and keep admirers at bay.
Another friend, Priya, shared an instance that occurred when her little one was just a few months old. Her friend dropped by one day and was surprised Priya hadn’t used anything to protect her baby. She dashed straight to Priya’s dressing table, pulled out her eyeliner and requested her to draw a black dot on her baby’s face. Was Priya shocked by the incident? Yes! Did she play along? Strangely, yes! Priya shares, “If you are a believer or not, your imagination can lead you to strange places sometimes, especially when you are a parent. You would do anything to protect your little ones, no matter what”. Priya drew a tiny dot on her little one’s face and wiped it off the moment her friend left.
Age-old rituals to ward off evil curses
Priya’s candid account led her to think about her childhood, and she realised her mother was a firm believer in the evil eye too. Priya’s mother would perform a ritual over her brother and her to ward off evil spirits. She would burn a bunch of broomsticks and hover the burning torch over her brother and herself, circularly moving the torch while reciting chants. Sometimes, her mother took whole red chillies and salt in her hands and hovered the mixture over her while reciting a few prayers before discarding it all by setting it aflame (burning signifies getting rid of evil curses).
Is the evil eye here to stay?
As for Tina, before she signed off from her conversation over the phone that day, her friend recommended she try a ritual she often practises for her kids. It turned out to be one similar to what Priya’s mother practised when she was little. Did these events transform Tina or Priya’s experiences as parents? I’m not too sure. But from talking to Tina and Priya about these rituals, what is clear is that they’ve stood the test of time.
And should the supernatural take control of our parenting journey?
Although parenthood showers us with tons of cherished moments with our tinies, anxiety and stress are inevitably part of the package when times get rough. Over and above what we mums and dads experience along the way, is it healthy to let the evil eye have a steady hold on our imaginations too? As much as we would love to forget it and focus on the positives of the journey of parenthood, I can’t stop and wonder why this phenomenon has existed for so long and coincidently survived across so many cultures across the world. Is there something to it? I don’t know – but maybe knock on wood!
What do you think about the evil eye? We would love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a DM.