10 Things about 'Mal De Ojo' or the Spanish Evil Eye

What is Mal De Ojo?

Mal de ojo is a Spanish phrase that translates to "Evil Eye" in English.

It is a deep-rooted Hispanic, Caribbean, Latino, and West African folk belief, that a malicious look of jealousy or envy, or an innocent look of admiration, can bring bad luck, ill health, or misfortune to the receiver.

Here are 10 things you may not know about Mal De Ojo or the Spanish Evil Eye!

1. What is the meaning of Mal De Ojo?

In Spanish, “Mal” means evil, “Ojo” means eye, and “de” means of. So “Mal De Ojo” translates to “evil of the eye”, also known as ‘evil eye’ in many cultures.

Mal De Ojo is believed to transmit from the eyes, carried through the air, and received through the eyes of the recipient.

2. Where did Mal De Ojo originate?

While the belief in the Evil eye can be traced to ancient Egypt in 3000 BC. It is believed from Egypt the belief traveled to ancient Mesopotamia in 1500 BC, before reaching ancient Greece in 700 BC, and ancient Rome and Carthage in 500 BC.

It can be argued the belief in the Evil Eye may have first reached the Iberian Peninsula with ancient Carthgenians in 550 BC and stayed with the local people of Hispania during the Roman occupation of the lands now known as Spain in 220 BC.

By the time of the Spanish independence from the Moors in 1500 AD, the belief is said to have formed into the distinctively Spanish “Mal De Ojo”.

3. How does someone receive Mal De Ojo?

Often disguised as a compliment or admiration, including self compliments and self-admiration.

The belief in “Mal De Ojo” is said to primarily affect babies and children, but in some parts of the world is said to even affect adults and personal objects.

4. What does giving someone Ojo mean?

“Ojo” means eye. Giving someone Ojo means that sometimes willingly or unwillingly, a look of envy, jealousy, malice, or even extreme adoration, can bring bad luck, ill health, or misfortune to the receiver.

5. What are the symptoms of Mal de Ojo?

Symptoms of “Mal De Ojo” include a sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive crying, or insomnia in babies and children.

In adults, the symptoms can include unwelcome bad luck, loss of appetite, weakness, fever, stomach ache, fatigue, nausea, or sleeplessness.

6. Does Mal De Ojo Exist?

While “Mal De Ojo” is not recognized as an illness by Western medicine, it’s considered to be a disease similar to diabetes or the common cold in local cultures.

It is believed that the strong feelings of a person who gives the “eye”, heats the blood of the recipient, and the various unwanted symptoms of Mal de Ojo are a result of this heated blood.

7. How do babies get Mal De Ojo?

Babies can get Mal De Ojo from jealous, envious stares, or even from excessive adoration and admiration from parents or close relatives.

While “Mal De Ojo” is said to primarily affect babies and children, in some parts of the world it is said to even affect adults and personal objects.

8. How do you cure “Mal De Ojo”?

A common remedy across continents for “Mal De Ojo” is to circle a raw egg over someone who is believed to be afflicted. The egg is circled above their head multiple times, and placed in a bowl under their pillow for a night.

If the raw egg becomes cooked overnight from the blood’s heat, then the person is said to have been afflicted by “Mal De Ojo”.

Other ways to cure “Mal De Ojo” include seeking the aid of local folk healers, often known as a Curandera. Prayers can also help rid a person of “Mal de Ojo”.

9. How do you stay protected from “Mal De Ojo”?

In some parts of the world, people stay protected from Mal De Ojo by wearing a red string, or Mal De Ojo bracelets, such as Azabache bracelets or Pulsera de Mal De Ojo.

Asking for God's blessings is another way to stay protected from Mal de Ojo. As well as by wearing Mal de Ojo necklaces, pendants, rings, earrings, and charm beads.

Home and personal objects can be protected from Mal de Ojo with Mal de Ojo wall hangings or other Mal de Ojo home decor.

Mal De Ojo Bracelets and Other Jewelry

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Mal De Ojo Wall Hangings and Home Decor

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Mal De Ojo Accessories

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10. Do other cultures believe in Mal De Ojo?

While Mal De Ojo is distinctively Spanish, it is based on the ancient belief of Evil Eye Protection, which is amongst the most popular beliefs in the world today.

The Evil Eye finds mention in the Quran, the Bible, in ancient Hindu, Buddhist, and Judist texts.

While Spanish missionaries and conquistadors are believed to have carried the belief in Mal De Ojo with them as they colonized the Carribean, Latin America, and the Phillipines.

Other cultures that have also adopted distinctive versions of the belief in the Evil eye include Mati or the Greek Evil Eye, Malocchio or the Italian Evil Eye, Kem Goz or the Turkish Evil Eye, and Nazar or the Indian Evil Eye.