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Turkish Evil Eye: All You Need to Know About Its History and Its Meaning

The evil eye is a widely recognized emblem in many cultures. It is also known by various names, depending on the location and local beliefs regarding the occurrence. However, in Turkiye, the idea of the evil eye is exceptionally entrenched. In fact, it’s so widespread that most individuals carry their own personal amulet to shield them from the evil eye. If you’re curious about this phenomenon, what it signifies, and why it’s so common in Turkiye, keep reading.

1. What Does the Evil Eye Mean?

Turkish Evil Eye hanging from the ceiling

“Nazar boncugu,” also known as the Turkish evil eye, is a famous symbol in Turkish culture and many other cultures in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and South Asia. It is believed to protect against an evil eye, a malevolent gaze that can cause harm or misfortune.

The symbol of the Turkish evil eye is not just a piece of art, but a powerful protector. It typically consists of a blue eye-shaped amulet or talisman, often made of glass or ceramic, with concentric circles or other patterns surrounding the eye. The intense blue color of the eye is believed to ward off evil spirits or negative energy, offering a sense of security and protection.

The evil eye concept is deeply rooted in folklore and superstition across various cultures. The Turkish evil eye is often used in jewellery, decorations, and other items, and it’s commonly given as a gift to offer protection and good luck to the recipient. It symbolises warding off negative energy and bringing about positive vibes and protection.

2. The Turkish Evil Eye’s History

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The evil eye’s origins are unknown. There are several tales and stories concerning the origins of this superstition, but it’s hard to know which are accurate or how they all fit together. According to one of these legends, the evil eye traces back to ancient times when people thought that the gods dwelt in their crops. They believed that if people looked at or complemented their crops, it would cause them to grow quicker, but this would be harmful to the crops.

Another belief holds that the evil eye is caused by envy. People may feel envious or resentful of another’s achievement or good fortune and cast an evil eye on them in an attempt to tear them down. Whatever its origins, the evil eye has been around for centuries and is still a widespread belief in Türkiye today.

3. The Evil Eye’s Blue Color and Material

Turkish amulet hanging from the tree

The Turkish evil eye’s blue colour is significant and symbolic. Blue is often associated with protection, spirituality, and calmness, as it is in many other cultures. In the context of the evil eye, blue is believed to have unique properties that can ward off negative energy and protect against harm.

As for the material, the Turkish evil eye amulets are traditionally made from glass or ceramic. These materials are chosen for their durability and ability to retain the vibrant blue colour that is characteristic of the evil eye symbol. Glass and ceramic also have a long history in artisanal craftsmanship in Turkey and other regions where the evil eye is prevalent, adding to the cultural significance of these materials.

The craftsmanship of these amulets can vary widely, from mass-produced items to intricately handmade pieces.

4. Where can I get Evil Eye beads in Turkiye?

Evil_history

In Turkey, you can find Evil Eye beads in various places due to their cultural significance and widespread belief in their protective properties. Here are some familiar places where you can purchase Evil Eye beads in Turkey:

  1. Local Markets: Visit traditional markets, bazaars, and souks in cities and towns across Turkey. These markets often have stalls or shops selling handmade crafts, including Evil Eye beads.
  2. Tourist Areas: Check out popular tourist spots and resorts, especially the ones loved by travelers from around the world. Shops catering to tourists often sell a variety of souvenirs, including Evil Eye beads in different forms and sizes.
  3. Artisan Workshops: Seek artisan workshops in regions known for their glass and ceramic craftsmanship, such as İznik, Kütahya, and Avanos. Artisans in these areas create intricately designed Evil Eye beads using traditional techniques. You can also find amazing workshops in Taksim’s streets.
  4. Speciality Stores: Look for speciality stores and boutiques focusing on Turkish handicrafts, home decor, and cultural items. You might find a lovely collection of Evil Eye beads in these stores, often handcrafted by local artisans.
  5. Online Retailers: Explore online marketplaces and websites specialising in Turkish products and handicrafts. Many Turkish retailers offer a wide range of Evil Eye beads for sale, allowing you to browse and purchase from the comfort of your home.
  6. Street Vendors: Look for street vendors and mobile sellers, especially in tourist-heavy areas and busy city streets. They may have a selection of Evil Eye beads available at competitive prices.

5. Nazar Meaning

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“Nazar” is a term used in various languages, including Turkish, Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, to refer to the Evil Eye or the act of casting it. The concept of “Nazar” encompasses the belief that specific individuals possess the power to cause harm or misfortune to others through envy or jealousy, typically by looking at them with ill intent.

While the belief in the Evil Eye is often dismissed as superstition by some, it remains an integral part of cultural identity for many people, shaping their beliefs, behaviors, and interactions with others. Whether viewed as a protective charm or a cultural curiosity, the Evil Eye serves as a fascinating example of the enduring power of belief and symbolism across diverse societies.

 

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Buse Yıldırım

A global citizen, eager to travel where she has not travelled yet.
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