Tag Archives: Grandparent Folklore

Rubbing the Evil Eye Away

Background: The informant is a 26 year old female who lives in a suburb of Chicago. She was born and raised around the city with her grandparents, mother, and younger brother. Her grandparents, immigrants from Mexico, imparted most of their knowledge to the informant.

Context: The context was in a phone call, and the informant was asked if she knew any traditions surrounding Mexican folklore. She barely took a moment to think before she was recounting a very common experience happening to her as a child.


VA: When I was younger, the most common thing I can think of, is getting rubbed down by an egg would soak up the evil eye.

Me: Any specific type of egg?

VA: Not that I know of. We always just used chicken eggs.

Me: So, it would basically just be your family would rub the egg on you? Who would be the egg-rubber?

VA: Someone wise would usually do it. I’m not sure what qualities someone has to be the, uh, egg-rubber. I remember that my grandfather did it for us [informant and her brother].

Me: Is there anything else you would do?

VA: Yeah, after you rub it down on someone and soak up the evil eye… Afterwards, you crack the egg into a glass of water. So, the bad stuff can’t get out. It’s called oomancy.


Informant: The egg and the evil eye are a staple from her childhood. They still believe in the concept and it ties her back to her grandfather, who would always rub her with the egg.

Mine: I’ve never heard about the tradition with the egg, but it is apparently prevalent in Latin American cultures. It ties back into the elder being the wisest and the carrier of most of the traditions of a particular group. In the case of the informant, her grandfather would always be the one to perform the tradition, and in the process, he was imparting the knowledge he knew onto her and her younger sibling. I would suspect an egg is used to seep out the evil eye because an egg is commonly associated with purity, and by touching a dark thing with a pure thing, it will cancel each other out. Also, the egg has a hard shell and, as such, if the evil is taken within, the hard shell functions as a prison, and keeps the spirit within, until it is able to be cracked in the cup. I would think the wate functions similar to holy water and burns out the evil spirit.