Giving babies ”Ojo.”

A is a 59-year-old Hispanic American female originally from La Junta, a small town in Southeastern Colorado. A currently works as a background detective in Phoenix Arizona.

A informed me of this folklore over a dinner discussion. We were on the topic of family superstitions, and I asked A if she had any superstitions that she remembered her family believing in.

A: I was thinking about this a few days ago. I remember Nana and my aunts talking about giving a baby “ojo” by looking at them and falling over how cute they are it makes them sick if you do it too much. And then I read about it and I laughed because this is exactly what I remember hearing them talking about it, when I was little. I also remember in order for them to come back from the baby getting that, when you’re born they put a little bracelet on the babies made out of coral. I will call Nana to make sure but that’s what I remember. To help babies ward off the evil eye or “ojo” the babies would wear a little string with a piece of coral red coral. And then the mothers would put an egg in a cup of water near the bed to help them heal from the evil if they got it laughs.

Reflection: This folklore seems to be associated with the idea that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. It brings greater context into my own family, as I remember my grandmother scolding my cousins for fawning over a baby, and I never knew quite why. I find it interesting that specifically coral and eggs in water act as deterrent. Perhaps they both have an absorbent property that draws evil away when placed in the immediate proximity of a baby.