If you’re been to Turkey, you would have noticed the special place of the evil eye in Turkish culture. It is found basically everywhere – at the entrance of houses and restaurants, engraved in jewelery pieces and décor, in mosques as well as malls. Basically, everywhere you go.
What does it signify?
Every nation has superstitions, some of which date back thousands of years. A popular belief existing in many corners of society (including Pakistan) is the evil eye or “nazar”. A look can cause pain, injury, or bad luck to anyone on the receiving end. People who are envious or simply believe that a person does not deserve the good fortune bestowed on them also give the evil eye subconsciously.
The Turkish people believe that there are basically three kinds of evil looks: the first is the unconscious evil eye, which causes harm unintentionally. The second kind of evil eye causes harm with intent and deliberation, while the third kind of evil eye, which is believed to be the most potent kind, is the invisible eye.
Throughout history, people have made many forms of talismans to ward off bad luck or nazar. A rabbit’s foot is the most common European example and in Turkey, the Nazar Boncuğu is widely displayed in homes, shops, and business.
The Nazar Boncuğu is not just a Turkish tradition anymore. It is also the most popular souvenir sold in Turkey. From small key rings to necklaces to large ceramic eyes to hang up in the home, they are all sold wherever tourism exists. And tourists buy them like crazy.
The evil eye is traditionally a dark blue circle or round sphere, with the shape of an eye in the middle. Take a walk down any street in Istanbul and you’ll spot at least 5 of them. At the grand bazaar, you’ll lose count of the number of times you see it. Visit panoramic viewpoint in Cappadocia and they hang off trees providing many perfect photo opportunities.
The belief in the ability of desirous eyes to cause harm is omnipresent in the Turkish social strata and even extends its sway on people with colored eyes. The Turks believe that people with eyes in an unusual color are wicked, do not desire the good of others and hence seek their harm and misery. They particularly consider people with blue eyes to be wicked, and some say that is the reason the Nazar Boncuğu is blue in color.
Today, several Turkish people don’t believe in the evil eye protecting them from wicked intentions, but they still wear it. It has become more of a fashion statement.
The evil eye is a remnant from the very dawn of civilisation, harking back to some of humanity’s most enduring and profound beliefs. Whether you wear it knowingly or just as a fashion statement, it is bound to hold some sort of importance to anyone who knows its history.