USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘el ojo’
Childhood
Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Magic
Material
Protection

Egg for Protection (against El Ojo)

Context/Background: The informant is Salvadoran and Mexican-American and had grown up surrounded with the use of eggs to absorb bad energy. It had common connections to “el ojo,” something that is given to someone through magic, typically young, with the intent of inflicting harm.

[Face-to-face conversation]

“There’s something that any Hispanic person that you talk to will tell you this. Um, if something bad happens, you take an egg and you like… put the egg over your body. I don’t know if you’ve seen the video- they do it to a dog. But, you put it all over your body, and that egg is supposed to take out all the badness in you. So supposedly when people cast… um like spells on you… like, these wizards- these people that do bad things- and when… but one of the big things that happens to you is El Ojo. So El Ojo happens when like… let’s say I have a child, right? And a woman… or like anyone can come up to me and be like… ‘Hey can I hold your kid, right?’ And then if I say no, I run the risk of them giving my child El Ojo, and if my child is given El Ojo, he will die. Like, they will die. It happens. And the only way to cure that is to do like… the egg thing, or to give the person the child. And any Latinx new mother will be told like… ‘Be careful. Your kid can get El Ojo.’ That’s really common- not just Mexico; El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras. Very common.”

Introduction: The informant was introduced to this through her mother.

Analysis: I’ve vaguely heard of using an egg to collect bad energy; however, I’ve recently become more familiar with “the evil eye,” something coinciding with “el ojo” in different Latino cultures. To my understanding, the evil eye refers to what can be given to someone, typically without their knowledge. Oftentimes, many people wear something (typically a necklace or perhaps a piece of clothing) which is to ward off anyone giving them this eye. El ojo, as described to me, means “the eye” in Spanish and is given to people, typically young babies. I find this interesting because in the context of what I’ve been exposed to it, it’s been more socialized with adults rather than newborns.

El Ojo is essentially similar to the Evil Eye, except it is performed by wizards and Santeria practitioners in Latin American regions.

 

For more information on another rendition of el ojo, “the evil eye,” refer to

Heaphy, L. (2017, May 2). The Evil Eye Powerful Protective Talisman. Retrieved from https://kashgar.com.au/blogs/ritual-objects/the-evil-eye-and-the-hamsa

Childhood
Contagious
Folk Beliefs

“El Ojo”

LP, the informant, is 19 years old and grew up in Mexico. She now lives with her mother and sister here in LA while her father still lives in Mexico City. She learned the following superstition from her mother who said that when LP was a baby, she suffered from this curse and had to be cured by her grandmother. LP doesn’t quite believe it, but her mother and grandmother truly do.

“Mexicans have this thing where when you’re a baby and for example you’re on a train and other adults look at your baby from far away thinking about how cute they are, if you don’t let that person touch your baby, it translates to the stink eye, or as we know it “el ojo”. So it’s known as they gave me the eye. The baby comes close to dying, becomes really sick, they get a cold and chills, and the only way to get rid of it is to let that person hold your baby. And we also wear a red and black beaded bracelet to protect your kid from the stink eye. I actually still have my bracelet back at home.”

This curse only applies to babies and can happen whenever someone looks at the baby, admiring them but doesn’t ever touch them. It’s as if looking at them and admiring them can invite the Devil to snatch them, because they will become vain and narcissistic, LP tells me. If the person staring doesn’t come into contact with the baby, then it’s believed that the curse of “El Ojo” is upon them.

I think this superstition is common in many cultures but also in various forms. I feel like I’ve heard something similar to this, but not necessarily applying just to babies. I also never really knew why the evil eye was bad, but now I understand it’s religious connotations concerning the Devil and sin. It’s also interesting that her culture has a specific bracelet that an infant wears to defend them from this curse. It’s similar to the evil eye amulet that people wear to protect them from a similar type of curse.

Contagious
Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine
Homeopathic

Remedy for Curse of Mexican Evil Eye

The informant’s family is originally from Mexico. She learned this cure from her grandmother who performed it on her and her siblings. She doesn’t think that it’s really a cure, however her mother and grandmother told her that it helped cure her when she was cursed with the “ojo”, or eveil eye.

“Some of the things they do to get rid of the curse from el ojo I learned from my grandma. She blesses your whole body with an egg. She grabs it from the fridge and rubs it all over your body and cracks the egg open over water. If it floats, then your good and if it sinks, it’s bad…like the egg absorbs all the bad from your body and it sinks, but I can’t remember…it might be the opposite actually.”

This remedy is used when a baby is cursed by “El Ojo”, or the Evil Eye, as it’s known in other cultures. It’s usually performed in the home, as the informant told me. There are also different variations to it concerning what one does with the egg when they crack it. Some say to leave it under the victim’s bed overnight and check it in the morning.

I had previously never heard of this remedy and I’m very curious as to why they use an egg. I don’t know if there’s something symbolic about it or where it came from originally. I did some more research and there are various methods to this. Some say you have to crack the egg in a bowl and leave it under the victim’s bed, and by morning something will happen that let’s you know they have been cured. It’s apparently a well-known remedy among their community, and I’m surprised it’s so well-revered. When I think of a remedy I usually think it’s something that a person needs to ingest in order for them to be cured.

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