USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Greek Traditions’
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Spitting on Babies and Crossing your Heart; Protection from the Evil Eye

A is an 18-year-old woman. She is currently studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. She considers her nationality to be American, but more specifically she is one quarter Greek Cypriote, one quarter German and half Argentinian. that being said, she strongly identifies with her Greek roots. She is fluent in both English and Greek, and is currently learning Mandarin.

A: Oh, you have to do the cross every time you pass a church or God will be angry. It’s a good one. Like my Grandmother will be driving and she’ll do the [sign of] the cross.

Me: God will be angry?Are there reprecussions if you don’t do it?

A: I’m unaware. Oh my God, the Evil Eye! Katherine Dupas still wears hers.

Me; Oh yeah we talked about that in class!

A: There’s an idea that if someone sends negative energy towards you and thinks ill will of you then something bad will happen to you. That’s kind of what it is. If you don’t cross yourself it’s not that you necessarily have something negative towards you it’s that you won’t be as protected by God against the negative energy and stuff from the Evil Eye.

Me: So the Evil Eye is…?

A: Other people being malicious towards you.

Me: So the Evil Eye is the symbol of that? And the cross in front of the church protects you from that?

A: Yeah.

Me: So why do people wear the Evil Eye?

A: Cause then it also protects you from the Evil Eye.

Me: By wearing it?

A: Yeah, cause the Eye looks at the other eye instead of at you.

Me: Ok, I get it now.

A: This is also why old ladies, old Greek ladies spit on babies and small children. When they’re like “ptou-ptou” it’s because there an idea that people who are attractive will incur the Evil Eye because of their beauty people will envy them, so you’re supposed to spit on them for good luck and also make them less enviable.

Me: So you do that to babies because you don’t know or because they’re young?

A: Cause they’re young and adorable, and you don’t want someone to be envious of their adorableness and send them bad vibes.

Me: Aw, who would wish terrible things upon a baby?

A: The Evil Eye works in weird ways.

A talks about

Game
general
Holidays

Greek Easter

A is an 18-year-old woman. She is currently studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. She considers her nationality to be American, but more specifically she is one quarter Greek Cypriote, one quarter German and half Argentinian. that being said, she strongly identifies with her Greek roots. She is fluent in both English and Greek, and is currently learning Mandarin.

A: I have a fun Easter family tradition.

Me: Yeah?

A: It’s kind of Greek Easter thing, but after you paint the eggs you put them in the refrigerator, and after you have Easter dinner, everybody pulls out the eggs, they’re all different colors, you choose an egg of your favorite color, and then you fight each other’s eggs. So you like, you’ll each have an egg and then you like crack it, and whichever egg cracks, loses. And like you do this with different family members until at the end one person is left with an un-cracked egg.

Me: Do they win something?

A: They win like god luck for Easter.

Me: So you pick the one that you painted? Or does someone paint all of the eggs and you choose from those?

A: For me it was always like somebody painted all of them and you picked the one that you want, which for me, I always tried to pick the coldest egg, ’cause it was like the hardest egg. Yeah. I won a lot them when I was younger. So, yeah, that was fun.

A talks about a family tradition which they do every year on Greek Easter. She has fond memories of the tradition as she won many times growing up, also because she laughed and smiled a lot in her interview. Though she does not live in Greece, or more specifically Cyprus, where her grandparents live, she still celebrates the Greek traditions that have been passed down though her family.

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