The Famous Evil Eye Amongst Latinos

The Famous Evil Eye Amongst Latinos

Have you heard if the famous evil eye amongst Latinos?  To say that Latin America can be a place to find all kinds of wild superstitions would be an understatement.

In fact it may be more accurate to think of such superstitions as a basis for many Hispanic cultures.  The famous evil eye amongst Latinos holds varying degrees of validity and clout depending on which country you are in and who you talk to but there is no denying that this superstition has permeated Hispanic culture to the point that it is still relevant to this day despite its archaic roots.

What is Evil Eye

I remember hearing of the dreaded evil eye as a child but it was mostly in jest as my family didn’t give much credence to the superstition-at least not in any medical sense.  Instead my mother and her sisters would talk about the evil eye when someone gave them a cross gaze (usually from another woman).

The superstition has much deeper roots and some believe it to be an actual medical condition.  So what is mal de ojo?  The history of the evil eye can be traced as far back as ancient Babylon and Egypt.  In fact Egyptians used to paint their eyes with something like eye liner to protect them from the condition.

For Hispanics the idea that you can become ill from an envious stare or from the gaze of someone much more powerful from you came from Spain and South America ran with it.

The famous evil eye amongst Latinos refers to a gaze that is given usually unintentionally to someone and that intent look has the power to make the subject physically ill.  It is usually prevalent amongst babies and small children and can occur when someone simply looks upon a small child with admiration.  The child becomes ill, may vomit, may lose appetite, may incur a fever or engage in unstoppable fits of crying.

The condition is usually cured by passing an egg over the one inflicted with the evil eye in the shape of a cross.

The Famous Evil Eye Amongst Latinos

The Famous Evil Eye Amongst Latinos

The Significance of the Evil Eye Among Latinos

The superstition of the famous evil eye amongst Latinos most likely rose from the fear of weak or poor individuals for the strong and empowered.  The evil eye usually afflicts the weak, feeble, elderly or very young and just the malevolent look of a powerful and feared person was enough to curse an entire household.  The eyes after all have always been very telling of a person’s intent and have significant mental attachment to our spirits and thoughts. In many cultures it is a warning against envy as well.

The Practicality of the Evil Eye

In my opinion, people picked up on this tradition for valid reasons.  The eyes convey more information than we give them credit for and negative energy and the effect of ill intentions, even if not acted upon, have very real effects.

For me the evil eye is something that can be harmful in the way that surrounding yourself with negative people and being in a negative environment can be detrimental to your mind and body.

Can a person become medically ill form the evil eye?  Probably not.  The fact that symptoms accredited to the evil eye include sadness and fear is probably evidence that people who believe in the evil eye are grasping at straws and looking for any excuse to attribute their woes to.

However, I do believe that the evil eye has more of an impact on our psyches than we would like to believe. Surround yourself with ill and ill will come to you.

There are many other strange and culturally rich traditions in Hispanic culture, to know more about them check the section Hispanic Traditions.

About Brandon Gonzo

I grew up in Los Angeles, privileged by the hard work of my single Latino mother. While most of my peers were still wondering what they wanted to do, I was fortunate and foolish enough to know with certainty I wanted to write, and there was little anyone else could do or say to try and divert me.
I am as passionate about turning words into prose as I was when I was first stunned by the literary fluency of authors like Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson.

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