Shooing Away the Devil

“Then there’s like the spitting thing, like shooing away the devil. So if you wanna make sure that the Devil doesn’t get to you, your mother or grandmother doesn’t literally spit on you but they make the motion and that type of sound. It’s like a “tsoo tsoo” spitting sound. It’s to make sure the Devil stays away, and not just when you’re a kid. So like my grandmother will say to me now, “You’re so pretty” or “Your hair is so pretty” and then she’ll do the spitting type thing. You can’t be vain, you need to stay humble and not let those kind of comments inflate your ego.”

This is a cultural practice that is widespread throughout the Jewish religion and many others. She explained how commonly used it is throughout her whole family, and her grandmother is very adamant about upholding it.

Family members and friends will often partake in this. Whenever complimenting or praising someone, they do this to make sure that they do not become egotistical and prideful, which would make them susceptible to the Devil’s influence apparently.

I’ve heard of similar actions in other cultures or seen it in films even. When discovering the reasoning behind it, it does seem to make sense, especially if one truly believes they need to protect someone from the Devil’s clutches. It’s similar to the evil eye, as they both refer to remaining humble even when people admire you or praise you.