The evil eye - also known as mal occhio, matiasma, ojo de venado - is a folk belief that expresses the fear that the malevolent or just the unconsciously envious gaze of certain persons may bring bad luck, illness and disasters.
The evil eye is an ancient belief dating from Ancient Egypt, widespread across many cultures worldwide. This folk belief is currently found in many areas, but mainly in the Mediterranean countries, in Middle East, India and Mexico. The Orthodox church also accepts the evil eye danger – which is known as “vaskania”.
In ancient Greece it was believed that certain people –among them even Socrates - were capable to either unconsciously bewitch others or influence other people by hypnotizing them to do it just with a glance, a “demon look”.
The power of this belief is evident if we see how many ways and charms have been used in order to avert it. Garlic, "xematiasma" (in the form of a prayer), oil in water are some of the ways people use to ward off the evil eye. It is however considered that the most effective way to avoid the evil eye is the use of charms and amulets.
Evil eye charms are found in Ancient Egypt in amulets depicting the eye of Horus, in ancient Assyria and in Ancient Greece where an eye was painted on the bow of the triremes for protection reasons.
Currently, the most common forms of evil eye charms are: the round eye, the all-seeing eye, horseshoes, a hand, or a combination of two elements, such as the eye in hand, also known as Hamsa or the Hand of Fatima.
In Greece and Turkey the most popular evil eye charms are the blue glass eye (called as well nazar) that can mirror back the evil, while the all-seeing eye in various versions is another popular option, mainly among the younger generations.