If you have ever been to Greece, you have surely seen the blue and white colored circles that look like eyeballs. They can be found in cars, on jewelry, in restaurants, in homes, in hotels, buses, and pretty much every single souvenir shop in the country. But, what is this obsession all about? Here I give a little background on the Evil Eye.
The concept is that there is a voodoo curse of sorts called the “Evil Eye” that can infect anyone. Thus, to prevent the curse, more evil eyes are places all over the place with the purpose of watching out for people who carry the curse of the evil eyes. So yes, the evil eye is both a curse and a protection from the same curse.
The concept of the curse dates back to 6 century BC, a time when explainations for the world’s mysteries lied in paganism and animism. This is no different than building statues of Zeus or Poseidon for good luck. Further, it is said that the evil is more easily passed by those who have blue or green eyes (light colored) and those with high arching eyebrows.
From Wikipedia, “belief in the evil eye dates back to Classical antiquity. It is referenced by Hesiod, Callimachus, Plato, Diodorus Siculus, Theocritus, Plutarch, Heliodorus, Pliny the Elder, and Aulus Gellius. Peter Walcot’s Envy and the Greeks (1978) listed more than one hundred works by these and other authors mentioning the evil eye.”
To test if someone had the evil eye, the Greek people would recite chants or do tests like see if water separated from oil. This reminded me of the witch hunts in the USA in Salem for example.
Lastly, concepts like the evil can be found in the following countries, “Armenia, Albania, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Greece, the Levant, Afghanistan, Syria, Southern Spain, and Mexico.”
My next thought has do to with cultural appropriation and backpacking. For example, if someone wear the evil eye out of fashion without respect for the culture, is that negative cultural appropriation? If you have any thoughts, let me know :).