The Evil Eye – Mal Occhio by Toni

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    The Evil Eye – Mal Occhio

    Mary Santangelo / Toni B []

    If your Italian, there is no way you could of never heard of “the evil eye” better known as mal occhio. Mal:bad; occhio: eye – also known as jettatura if your Sicilian.

    My Mother would say – if somebody envy’s you or is jealous of you, they will give you “that look”. When that happens, you will end up having the worse headache in the world. Many believe that the human eye had the power to heal or destroy. Some say the eyes are the windows of the soul and that power within comes up through the eyes.

    Eye contact is a very powerful thing and Italians are very animated when they speak and express themselves. They not only talk with expression, but with their hands. If you’ve ever been to Italy (especially Naples), you’ll understand what I mean. When I went to Italy in the 70’s and traveled to Capri, my first stop was Naples and as the motorbus pulled into the town, I thought I was entering a Sophia Loren movie. Frankly, I loved it! I felt right at home.

    When I visited the leaning tower of Pisa, there was an open market and their “best seller” was the famous Cornuto (the horn). The horn which just about came in every shape and size imaginable was hanging and displayed at every table in the market. The horn is the amulet worn by Italians to take the evil eye away. Generally worn around the neck, it protects against “the look”. You can find it in gold, or mostly red coral. To me, they looked like a bunch of red peppers hanging in bunches. It truly was a sight.

    They also had the mano cornuto (the horned hand) as well. Either one protected you. If you didn’t have either one around your neck, you always made the gesture of the horned hand and that was just as good.

    However, the evil eye was not only an Italian belief. It existed all over the world by different names. In Hebrew it is called ayin ha’ra (the evil eye) and is even mentioned in the Torah (the old testament of the bible).

    I personally have a gold one and did purchase one of those huge cornuto’s and brought it back as a gift for my Parents. They are sold on the net and in some jewelry stores.


    All rights reserved, Mary Santangelo / Toni B []
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    Mal Occhio!!!  One of my mothers favorite words when she was driving. We lived in New York. And of course the traffic there was sometimes, not too good. My mom would be driving along the freeway, and a car would cut her off.  And of course, up went the hand, fingertips touching the thumb. Mal Occhio! She would say!

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 4 months ago by Pat.
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