It is thought that the “evil eye” belief had its roots in ancient Egypt, and it was passed on later to Mediterranean tribes and cultures. The evil eye is a human look believed to cause harm to someone or something else. The supernatural harm may come in the form of anything from a minor misfortune to disease, injury or even death. The victim’s good fortune, good health, or good looks, can provoke an attack by someone with the evil eye. If the object attacked is animate, it may fall ill. If the object attacked is a cow, its milk may dry up; if a plant or fruit tree, it may suddenly wither and die. It can even affect objects and buildings. The evil eye cast upon a house may soon develop a leaky roof or an insect infestation. To sum it up, just about anything that goes wrong (for any reason, or no reason at all) is blamed on the power of the evil eye.
There might be plenty of logical reasons people might envy each other. I will point out the ones I’ve heard and love:
- You walk into a party looking stunning as usual in your 10inch heels, and then suddenly you trip and fall … saybit 3ein (meaning you were hit by the eye)
- You’re posting amazing pictures of your trip on facebook walking along the Champs (what we Lebanese call the Champs Élysées) when on the way back at the airport you loose your luggage as you were trying to buy the last item available at the duty free 5 minutes after boarding time… saybit 3ein
- You go to a sobhiye (women’s brunch), wearing your most stylish outfit, sitting next to your best friend who is coughing like mad, on the same night you start developing a cold … saybit 3ein
- You take your kids out for lunch on Sunday and bump into a friend that tells you your kids are adorable. The next day your kid falls on the stairs while she’s acting up the last scene of the movie Tarzan… saybit 3ein
We truly believe that an evil eye will hit us like an asteroid at any moment in time and cause complete havoc to our life. Again being Lebanese, we have different expressions that we use, depending on the gravity of the evil eye’s curse. Here are my favorites:
sabitik bil 3ein (she nailed you with the eye) _ the most common expression
tara2it 3ein (she hit you an eye)
fa2a3itik 3ein (she blew you up an eye)
sabeta na2fit deen 3ein ( she nailed her one hell of an eye)
tara2ita 3ein akho ikhta ( she hit her a brother’s sister eye, talking about a major evil eye here! )
sibit hale bil 3ein , something I use very often (I nailed myself with the eye), when you cause yourself misfortune by being extremely happy about something.
We are a funny bunch of people. We love each other, we hate each other, we fear each other, and we envy each other, yet we can’t live without each other and the minute we see each other we genuinely hug and embrace like we were born from the same womb.
Because anytime something bad happens to me, my family and friends, shower me with the blue eye charms to sprinkle around like fairy dust, (including one to put inside my Christmas tree!), I #livelovelebanon and I will #fighton