December 9, 2009
Thesis: Mothers feel compelled to engage in rituals to protect their children from the evil eye.
We wake up in the morning and go to the bathroom, we brush our teeth, and we get
dressed and start our day with the hope that it will be a good day. We follow rituals that have
been taught to us since we were young.
As children we are taught to wash our hands in order to
keep the germs away, to cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough, but most of us are never
taught how to protect ourselves from the evil eye. “Belief in the evil eye, one of die oldest and
most widespread superstitions, dates from the Paleolithic and appears throughout history in
ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman classical writings, as well as in the folklore of Africa, India,
China, and other countries (Dundes, 1981, 215; Favazza, 1987, 74).
Usually an envious person is said to harm the subject of his glance.***
I grew up with
the belief that the evil eye is all around me, in order to protect myself certain rituals had to be
followed. These rituals were passed down from generations to generations in my family. I grew
thinking these rituals were all a big joke, until I had my daughter. When I looked into my child’s
eyes, I knew I wanted to protect her in any way I knew how to. I followed the rituals to keep my
daughter safe from the evil eye. Children are the most attractive target for an evil eye.***
I interviewed several women that are mothers, who believe in the evil eye, to see what
rituals they did in order to protect their children from the evil eye. One of the women I
interviewed was my paternal grandmother. I was always very close with my grandmother. When
I asked her why she believed in the evil eye rituals she looked at me confused and said, “Because