Our seventeen years old car died on us five weeks ago. It has costs us all this time to find an other car that suited our needs and our budget, but finally, today, we got a ‘new’ car, only ten years old. The color, dark green, would not have been our choice, but beggars are not choosers, and we are sure green will ‘grow on us’. Pfuff, live is hard without wheels.
Following good Turkish usage, the first thing to do with a new car, is to hang a ‘nazarlık’ or evil eye charm from the rear view mirror, to protect us, and the car, from all kind of evil.
When we first came to Turkey, I thought that this evil eye business was some kind of curse or spell that somebody cast upon you. Now that we have lived ten years here, we know that is a much more subtle and complex affair. Also it is surprising that almost everybody here is very serious about this evil eye, also people that we considered above any form of superstition.
Evil eye is something that ‘happens’ almost outside the will of the beholder, for instance when somebody praises you, or something that you have on, without meaning it, or with envy in their heart or jealousy, causing you to loose the item or the quality you are being praised for. You also can bring the evil eye upon yourself, by bragging or simply being overconfident, for instance, saying ‘I’m never ill’, defying the odds.
New born babies are especially susceptible for the evil eye, so that they are kept in traditional house holdings with a fine cloth loosely draped over their faces for their first forty days. After that they seem to develop some sort of immunity. Evil eye is brought upon a baby not only by malicious looks, but by any look from an unclean woman, that being a woman having her period or not having washed herself properly after having intercourse!
So, no visits to new borns when having your ‘curse’, and when you want to praise your friends baby, you say: ‘Thank God, what an ugly, ugly baby’, that to demonstrate that your intentions are good and you wish no harm.
Books can be written about this subject, and it makes interesting folklore. Once in a while we use this evil eye beads and charms in our designs. They are quite nice and bright and where our intentions are concerned, well, we wish all the best to our dear ugly friends!