Folk Beliefs
Magic
Protection
Signs

Dots to fend off negative thoughts

“If you’re doing something where you’re gonna be in front of people, or there’s gonna be a lot of people and someone could potentially wish bad upon you, you put a dot somewhere. Your mom or grandma will put a dot on you, and usually it’s hidden or on your forehead. And if someone does think something bad, that will keep the bad thoughts away. So like for weddings, the bride and the bridesmaids will have them, because there’s a lot of people, and they’re thinking about you, and maybe people are jealous.”

 

My informant is of Indian extraction. Although she was born and raised in California, she remembers her mother putting dots on her hairline for protection when she had to give presentations in front of the class. This is another iteration of the cross-cultural trope that seems to imply that celebration or putting oneself on display in a positive way could lead to disaster. The dots serve as protection against the negative thoughts of others, working much like charms or amulets work in other cultures.

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