Residence: San Diego, California
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/25/19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Turkish
What is the Evil Eye?
P.N. – “So, the evil eye protects you, your family, your household, from evil. And this is a myth, and also a glass object. Every [Turkish] family has an evil eye in their house . . . My family thinks that if you tell somebody something good that’s happened to you, there’s gonna be envy there. And they’re gonna somehow will nature to get rid of that opportunity for you. The evil eye is meant to protect you from that. So we have evil eye’s in different parts; like, for instance, we have one in our car to prevent a car crash.”
“We have an evil eye in front of our house. You’re supposed to have an evil eye on top of the doorway to prevent bad things from entering. One day, during the time when I was applying for colleges, it BROKE. I remember, because my mom thought that that was a good thing. “It’s done it’s job,” she said. And so she put a new one up, and I got accepted into USC!”
“Another example was this: I was wearing my first ‘sexy dress’ in high school to this New Years ball. I had a hair piece, everything. I looked good. I was showing some cleavage. My aunt put an evil eye in my jacket, and said it would protect me from the boys. I still have it there in my pocket.”
What does the Evil Eye mean to you?
“The Evil Eye reminds me of my parents, because I have always considered them to be the most superstitious people. And I guess when I think about other types of ‘evil eyes’ in other cultures, it feels like it brings me closer to those people as well. There’s definitely a sense of identity with everything I’ve said here.”
Immediately, this made me think of the Jewish Mezuzah, which is a similar concept to the Turkish Evil Eye. The Mezuzah, a small piece of parchment scribbled with specific verses from the Torah, is put on a family’s doorway to prevent any bad luck from entering the home. When I brought up the Mezuzah to this person, she smiled, and informed me that she knew of the Mezuzah already. The evil eye is definitely something that reflects one’s culture, one’s traditions, and one’s superstitions. It’s for this reason that I am such a fan of the Mezuzah, as well as the evil eye now; it’s because I, as well as countless other people from a number of different cultures, can relate very strongly to it. How different can two peoples really be, when they’re unified by so many aspects of life?