Folk Superstition – Morocco

Folk Superstition- The Evil Eye

When I was home for spring break, my mother was wearing this red string around her left wrist.  At the time I didn’t pay it much attention, but when I told her about my folklore collection, she told me something about it that I could not leave out of the collection. Wearing a red string around your left wrist prevents bad luck and doesn’t allow the evil eye to interfere with you.  I was not totally sure what she meant by the evil eye, so the questioning began.

I asked her more about the evil eye and where she learned the story.  She said she learned about it on her trip to Morocco.  Supposedly, the evil eye dates back to around 3000 BC.  My mother said wearing the red string around your left wrist is an old Moroccan tradition passed down from medieval times.  She said this was told to her on biking trip there in one of the town’s.  She can’t remember if a local or a tour guide told it, but nevertheless, she bought some type of evil eye souvenir and this red string.  When   I asked her why she wore it and what she thought of the superstition, she said, “I don’t really know if I believe it necessarily, but it is very unique and it brings back a lot of memories from the trip”.

When analyzing this, it is tough to generalize why others wear this string on their left wrist, but I think I know why my mother does.  Every time she looks down and sees this string, it reminds her of the trip.  This instantly connects her with Morocco and the wonderful times she had there.  This also connects her with the Moroccan culture.  It is something that most Americans don’t know about or have, so this changes her sense of identity in some respects.

Another interesting thing to notice is who told her the story of the evil eye.  If it was indeed a local, this could have been simply to tell an old Moroccan belief.  But I also believe it might have something to do with all the evil eye souvenirs.  Tourists who buy these Moroccan items help their business tremendously.  Whether the evil eye “exists” or not, selling things connected with it is a moneymaker in Morocco.

This can also be found in the following:

Evil Eye

Mark P. Taylor

Folklore, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Sep., 1933), pp. 308-309

Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd.