Nigerian eye twitches

BACKGROUND: My informant, CI, was born in the US. Her parents are immigrants from Nigeria. The following piece is a Nigerian superstition passed down from her parents to her. CI explained that this superstition has rung true for her in many of her real-life situations.

CONTEXT: This piece is from a text conversation I had with CI about her family’s beliefs.

CI: Idk how much text you need but a Nigerian superstition is that if one of your eyes twitches for an extended period of time it means that you will soon witness something of large consequence.

Me: Is it usually something bad?

CI: It could b good or bad or either. Like so many situations I’ve had point back to this.

THOUGHTS: The thing that struck me about this belief is its pure ambivalence. There is to be no fear or joy surrounding the eye twitching because the individual will not know if the predicted event will be negative or positive. I also think it’s interesting that the individual is more of a passive party in this belief. In many other cultures, I think it’s common for people to believe that after a certain sign something may happen to them or their family. But the way this is phrased suggests that the individual will only be witness to something of significance. It adds a layer of separation between the individual and the event.