The Evil Eye Proverb

Informant Data:

The informant is a 19-year old American student who was born in Santa Monica, California in 1996. She’s lived in Los Angeles County all her life with the exception of when she lived in Paris between late August 2014 and mid December 2014. Her father’s ancestry is American as far as back as the founding of the Plymouth Colony in 1621 (but before that, the family is originally from England), and her mother’s ancestry is Romanian. She is a freshman at the University of Southern California and thus currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


Contextual Data:

Over lunch, I was talking to my informant about her experiences in Paris for the first semester of the school year. My informant eventually began talking about how over Thanksgiving break she visited family in Romania. She eventually told me of something she thought was bizarre that happened when she was eating dinner at her Romanian grandfather’s house: that her grandfather accidentally spat on her, after which he said what could be considered a Romanian proverb. I recorded this proverb below with her permission.



(Audio recording transcribed)

“If you don’t spit on people that are beautiful, the evil eye will get them.”



My theory about this proverb is that it seems to be a way of saying that if you don’t teach beautiful people to not be egotistical, then they will be taken over by a mindset that lacks morals and empathy. If this is what it means, then this would speak to a valuing of having morals that holds some importance in Romanian culture.