Monday, March 30, 2009

Superstitious Much?

Ok, raise your hand if your grandma has ever cured you of "el ojo"? No one? maybe my family IS a little weird for praying over me while running a cold egg through my body. I have come to realize that, um, not everyone's granny does this sorta thing outside of the confines of our town. Maybe it's our Mexican-American culture mixed in with the Catholic upbringing that makes all of this "the norm" in my hometown. Nonetheless, the facial expressions that I encounter while talking about some of our superstitions and old wives tales is priceless. No, my grandma is not a curandera. But she could be :)
  • El Ojo (a.k.a. The Evil Eye) - Mom says I have it pretty strong at times. Most of the time, it is not done intentionally or maliciously (as in my case), but it could be something as simple as someone's food falling to making a baby cry. What happens is that I'll stare at my mom while she is eating the last flan in the fridge, and then it just FALLS. Or, when I am admiring someone walking down the street and they trip. Or I'll see a baby and I have to touch it, or I will give it El Ojo and it will cry and I will end up with a terrible headache. Or my tia will compliment me on my earrings without touching them, and it will break or get lost within a matter of hours. The Cure: Granny would grab an egg from the fridge and let it acclimate to room temperature while she gathered a glass of water, some a palm leaf (that the church hands out on Palm Sunday) and some red thread. She would get the egg, and would run the egg across my body as she said the Our Father five times. Then she would crack the egg in the glass of water, put some red thread in the water, and make little crosses out of the palm leaf. If I had the evil eye, the "whites" of the egg would surface and touch the crosses. Prevention: Touch whatever you think is cute, because odds are - it will cry, break or get lost. Babies in my hometown don't leave the house without "el ojo de vendado" (the deer's eye) with them at all times. The "eye" (I'm not sure if it's a real eye or not) is supposed to ward off the evil eye from those that wear it. Legend has it that babies need the protection because they are innocent and defenseless life creatures. Anyways, it looks like this, and yes I had one as a baby and my mommy still has it:

Some other superstitions/old wives tales I ran across during my childhood:
  • Don't put your purse on the floor because your money will run away
  • Cover your hair and the mirrors in the house during a lightning/thunderstorm
  • Put a piece of red thread on a baby's forehead to stop the hiccups
  • Don't point at a rainbow, or you'll get a wart on your finger
  • If you watch a dog pee/poop, you will get a pimple-like thing on your eye lid
  • If you hear a dog howl at night, it means the devil is near. Get a pair of shoes and cross them, one on top of another
  • Black cat crossing the street? Not good - you're screwed.
I'm sure there are more, but I wonder what other "cultural superstitions" there are?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wasn't ever sure if "el ojo" existed but there are some night that my son wakes up crying and hysterical. My parents told me that someone must have given him el ojo and my mom would pray and rub the egg over his body, after that he would sleep sound asleep. Maybe it can be true or not, but I am going to buy my son the ojo de venado bracelet and hope that this will help. Thanks for you blog, it just reminded me that other people have the same superitions or cultural myths as my family.