Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nazar Boncuk.... the Little Magic Stone that protects one from the *Evil Eye* This is a typical item, a specialty of this region everyone takes home as a souvenir. It's called the Boncuk (pronounced "bon-jook"),the little magic eye-shaped stone that protects one from the *Evil Eye* . You will see this blue glass accessory everywhere in Turkey. But what is behind this superstition? Apparently.... (edited from somewhere on internet can't remember where!)

Once upon a time (yes, it starts like in a fairy tale) there was a rock by the sea that, even with the force of a hundred men and a lot of dynamite, couldn't be moved or cracked. There was also a man in this town by the sea, who was known to carry the evil eye (Nazar). After much effort and endeavor, the town people brought the man to the rock, and the man, upon looking at the rock said, "My! What a big rock this is." The instant he said this, there was a rip and roar and crack and instantly the immense and impossible rock was found to be cracked in two.

The force of the evil eye (or Nazar) is a widely accepted and feared random element in Turkish daily life. The word *Nazar* denotes seeing or looking and is often used in literally translated phrases such as "Nazar touched her," in reference to a beautiful young woman, for example, who mysteriously goes blind.

Another typical scenario: A woman gives birth to a healthy child with pink cheeks, all the neighbors come and see the baby. They shower the baby with compliments, commenting especially on how healthy and chubby the baby is. After getting so much attention a week later the baby gets ill. No explanation can be found and it is ascribed to Nazar. (Although it may also have been any one of the following: sweating, drinking cold water or sitting in a draught between an open door AND window, sleeping with the window open, not wearing slippers or eating yoghurt and fish together) Compliments made to a specific body part can result in Nazar. That's why nearly every Turkish mother fixes with a safety pin a small Boncuk on the child's clothes. Once a Boncuk is found cracked, it means it has done his job and immediately a new one has to replace it.

Its a very interesting tradition and an attractive accessory and needless to say, Arwen has many a little boncuk; on her stroller, to pin on clothes, in her room...
(A with travel-boncuk pinned on.....)

I only have one thing to say and that's that repeatedly hearing 'Nazar touched her' when I'm trying to understand why she is crying, er, doesn't really help. Luckily she doesn't cry that much (Maşallah Maşallah a thousand times Maşallah!- I should also say that after saying something like that to further protect her from the Nazar! AAAARGGHHH :O) )

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