A naẓar (from Arabic نَظَر [ˈnaðˤar], meaning 'sight', 'surveillance', 'attention', and other related concepts) is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye. The term is also used in Azerbaijani, Bengali, Hebrew, Hindi, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu and other languages. In Turkey, it is known by the name nazar boncuğu (the latter word being a derivative of boncuk, "bead" in Turkic, and the former borrowed from Arabic), in Greece is known as μάτι (the evil eye). In Persian and Afghan folklore, it is called a cheshm nazar (Persian: چشم نظر) or nazar qurbāni (Persian: نظرقربانی). In India and Pakistan, the Hindi-Urdu slogan chashm-e-baddoor is used to ward off the evil eye. In the Indian subcontinent, the phrase nazar lag gai is used to indicate that one has been affected by the evil eye.
It is commonly believed that the evil eye can be given in the guise of a compliment, signifying its connection to the destructive power of envy (for one's wealth, beauty etc.). Amulets such as the nazar are used in accordance with common sayings such as "an eye for an eye", where another eye can be used to protect the recipient of the malefic gaze. The evil eye causes its victim to become unwell the next day, unless a protective phrase such as "with the will of God" (mashallah in Arabic) is recited. Among adherents of Hinduism in South Asia, when a mother observes that her child is being excessively complimented, it is common for them to attempt to neutralize the effects of the evil eye (nazar utarna) by "holding red chilies in one hand and circling the child's head a few times, then burning the chilies."
It originated in Mesopotamia and was first brought to Mediterranean countries through trade.
The nazar was added to Unicode as U+1F9FF 🧿 NAZAR AMULET in 2018.
A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge. "The bead is made of a mixture of molten glass, iron, copper, water, and salt, ingredients that are thought to shield people from evil."
"According to Turkish belief, blue acts as a shield against evil and even absorbs negativity." In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, "blue eyes are relatively rare, so the ancients believed that people with light eyes, particularly blue eyes, could curse you [one] with just one look. This belief is so ancient, even the Assyrians had turquoise and blue-eye amulets."
The Turkish boncuk (sometimes called a göz boncuğu or eye bead) is a glass bead characterized by a blue glass field with a blue or black dot superimposed on a white or yellow center. Historically old, the blue bead has gained importance as an item of popular culture in Modern Turkey. The bead probably originated in the Mediterranean and is associated with the development of glass making. Written documents and extant beads date as early as the 16th century BC. Glass beads were made and widely used throughout the ancient world: from Mesopotamia to Egypt, from Carthage to ancient Greece and Phoenicia to Persia, and throughout the Roman imperial period.
"The mythology behind it says that if one of the beads breaks down, it means a very strong nazar has hit you [one], and the bead stored it all up and broke down in order to protect the carrying person."
Arabic verbs have generated an enormous number of words for Urdu/Hindi as well as Persian. ... The word nazar, meaning eye, or sight, is part of the cultural idiom -- <nazar lag jana>, meaning 'evil eye's effect,' and is used in the whole subcontinent.
The phrases "Nazar lag gai" (affected by the Evil Eye) and "Nazar utarna" (removing the effects of Evil Eye) are common in Hindu culture.
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In Rajastan (India) the treatment of the 'evil eye' includes seven red chilis and some salt circled over the head of the sick child before these are thrown into the hearth.