10 Things about “Mal De Ojo” or the Spanish Evil Eye

What is Mal De Ojo?

“Mal De Ojo” 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!

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 itself can be traced to that of the “evil eye” originating in ancient Greek and Roman civilization.

The widespread belief in Mal De Ojo in Latin America and the Caribbean can be traced to Spanish colonizers in the 1500s and onwards.

From here the belief carried to the United States with Latin American and Latino immigrants starting in the 1600s.

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 evil eye bracelets.

Also, while not common with the local belief of “Mal De Ojo”, the global belief of the “Evil Eye” can also be averted with evil eye necklaces, evil eye pendants, Nazar amulets, Hamsa charms, or other evil eye charms, evil eye amulets, and evil-eye talisman.

10. Do other cultures believe in Mal De Ojo?

While Mal De Ojo is distinctively Spanish, it is based on the ancient belief in the evil eye, which is amongst the most popular beliefs in the worlds today.

The evil eye is a belief starting in antiquity that willingly or unwillingly others can cast an ‘evil eye’ of jealousy, envy, or malice on a person or a personal object, which brings them harm or misfortune.

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

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