At least three generations of women in my family were devout Christians; yet they deeply believed in Superstition as if it were a cult religion! Warding off the Evil Eye (called char atchk in Armenian) was a serious matter growing up in my home.
The Evil Eye was thought to be a curse from people who may or may not have known they possessed the power. It was triggered mostly by admiration, envy, or malicious jealousy. It could have been brought on through comments such as, “What a cute baby”, or “Your daughter is so smart”, or “I wish I could have a new car like yours”.
PREVENTION AND ANTIDOTES
It is the prevention and antidotes that I recall with humor, fondness, rolling eyes, and a fear of “what if they were right?”. A small glass bead was essential to warding off the Evil Eye and was a must have for all babies, brides, and glove boxes in new cars, to name a few.
Many new grandmothers celebrate the birth of grandchildren by showering them with gifts, money, and anything they need. Naturally my mother did the same, minus the baby shower which was strictly forbidden and considered bad luck – but that’s a different superstition for another time. First and foremost, my mother presented a tiny safety pin with a small blue bead and cross she pinned on me as an infant and advised me to always pin this to my children’s onesies. Candidly, I wasn’t very pleased and was mortified to tell my day care providers why my babies wore a strange pin on their onesies. Let’s face it, it defies all common sense and safety protocols. And of course, my mother happened to have a spare in case I let it slip through the laundry. As you may imagine, this was quite a burden for a new mother!
While the wise women in my family may have outwitted the Evil Eye with a blue bead, they feared the risk of accidentally eliciting the Evil Eye and being unprotected.
The antidote to counteract the Evil Eye is where this really gets embarrassing. You see, pinching your behind was the way to ward off the Evil Eye. When my mother or grandmother suspected I may have been given the Evil Eye, they gave me that look and urgently spoke to me in Armenian to pinch my behind. And if I didn’t, they did it for me. And yes, in public.
While you’re likely laughing out loud by now, consider that 40% of the world’s population believes in the Evil Eye. According to Wikipedia, the Evil Eye glass beads date back to 1500 BC when they began being produced in the Mediterranean region. This spread popularity among the Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans.
WHY IS THE ANCIENT EVIL EYE NOW BECOMING A TRENDING SYMBOL OF OUR TIMES?
According to Vogue, Meher Varma writes that the answer pertains to how the pandemic has shaped fashion and the use of social media for displaying the best version of our lives for the public gaze. The number of posts under the hashtag #evileye on Instagram is telling: 1.7 million! This is largely thanks to the evil eye emoji showing upon phone screens and famous people being seen wearing evil eye jewelry.
Many Hollywood celebrities wear Evil Eye jewelry for protection against evil energies and misfortune, spiritual or cultural beliefs, and influencing a fashion statement.
Celebrities who have confirmed wearing Evil Eye jewelry are Jennifer Aniston, Naomi Campbell, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevigne, Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, and Rihanna.
Much of the credit for trending Evil Eye jewelry has been given to Meghan Markle who debuted a series of evil eye accessories in April 2020. During a virtual discussion in association with the charity Smart Works, Meghan accessorized a red sweater with two gold necklaces, one of which was adorned with an evil eye motif. Not even her jewelry can escape the paparazzi who tracked down where to get it, making this $175 piece of jewelry sold out and available with a pre-order.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OUR ANCESTORS WOULD SAY ABOUT THIS FASHION BOOM?
I believe mine would be happy to see the mass availability of Evil Eye beads to stockpile for the future and cherish long after the fashion trend is over. Knowing the long line of fashionistas and shoppers I come from, they would also be excited to shop for stylish new jewelry to wear. Undoubtedly, they would insist on buying from Armenian designers, jewelers, or retailers who would be perceived as instinctively understanding the powers to ward off the Evil Eye.
Back to the original question, is the Evil Eye Superstition or Super Trendy.... my vote:
YES to Superstition and YES to Super Trendy (my strong shopping gene has been awoken)!
Over and out. I'm off to start shopping for new jewelry!