Strangers tell us when they see Eda. Our family members say it as they kiss her fingers and toes. Our friends tell us when we post pictures of Eda on Facebook.
What is it that everyone is saying?
You have the cutest baby ever? Nope.
They’re saying, Nazar’dan saklasin. Hide her from the evil eye.
What exactly does it mean?
Well, according to Turkish culture, and many other cultures in the Mediterranean area for that matter, people believe that nazar is to blame when things go wrong. As one of my friends so kindly put, “You believe that sh*t happens, right? Well that sh*t is nazar.” (Thanks for your eloquent words, Koray. ) Many people believe that by posting pictures of Eda on Facebook, Instagram, or this blog for that matter, people will become jealous of what a beautiful baby Eda is and bad things will happen to her. (So in their eyes I’m a horrible mother, or one that is definitely playing with fire.) I try to tell people I’m a yabanci (a foreigner) and that nazar isn’t a part of my culture but I’m still given the “tsk tsk tsk” look and the phrase is repeated again.
So what’s a mother/person to do?
To protect oneself from nazar you are supposed to wear a nazar boncuk (an evil eye bead). Wearing this nazar boncuk somehow deflects or wards off the negativity and keeps you safe. In the photo above you can see Eda touching the nazar boncuk. (One point for the foreign mommy, right?) You can find them in all shapes and sizes and everywhere you can imagine (more on that later). Many Turkish parents even safety pin an evil eye bead on the back shoulder of their children sometimes for as long as 3 years!
More on the nazar boncuk… (check out my page on nazar boncuk for more details/examples.)
As mentioned, this evil eye bead comes in all shapes and sizes and can be found literally EVERYWHERE. It is not uncommon to see it before entering a house, to see it on government buildings, hanging from car mirrors, and even on jewelry. In fact, I have a special Pandora charm of a nazar boncuk. When people ask if Eda is wearing one I tell them I’m wearing it for her.