What is the malocchio?
One of the most popular superstitions in Italy is the Malocchio or evil eye. Most Italians will disregard the ancient belief in the malocchio but will own something for protection - you know just in case!
So what exactly is the malocchio?
The malocchio is a superstitious condition characterised by misfortune, unluckiness, negative energy and sometimes illness. The word 'mal' meaning bad and 'ochhio' eye can also be associated with the green eye or envy.
Negative energy can be sent to someone who is jealous or envious of the other person essentially putting the evil eye on them. In Southern Italy the curse can be detected by dropping olive oil in a bowl of water and if the oil turns into an eye the victim has the dreaded the malocchio.
Legend says a person can put the 'evil eye' on someone just by looking at them. The curse of the malocchio is said to come from the root of envy. Another superstitious belief of the Italians, to never brag or say how well they're doing.
The evil eye can be traced back to the Romans in Italy where people were punished if they were said to have put a curse on another. Many other ancient cultures believed in the evil eye throughout the Mediterranean.
The Italian bulls horn or cornicello is said to protect against the evil eye. Often worn as an amulet for protection and often mistaken as a red chilli, the cornicello charm is said to safeguard and bring good luck to the wearer.
The mano cornuto or horned hand is also a symbol of protection of the malocchio. The hand charm faces downwards to send negative energy away. The mano cornuto pendant can be seen on key rings and worn on a necklace.
The ritual of prayer is often seen as a remedy against the malocchio. Many prayers ask for protection and for the curse to be lifted.
Today, many people still believe in the malocchio and who wants to take the chance!