Every nation has superstitions of which some originated thousands of years ago. A popular belief existing in many corners of society is the evil eye. A look can cause pain, injury, or bad luck to anyone on the receiving end. People who are envious or simply believe that a person does not deserve the good fortune bestowed on them also give the evil eye subconsciously.
Therefore, throughout history, man has made many forms of talismans designed to ward off bad luck. A rabbit’s foot is the most common European example and in Turkey, the Nazar Boncuğu is widely displayed in homes, shops, and business.
Souvenirs and Meaning of the Blue Evil Eye in Turkey
The Nazar Boncuğu is not just a Turkish tradition anymore. It is also the most popular souvenir sold. From small key rings to necklaces to large ceramic eyes to hang up in the home, they are all sold wherever tourism exists.
Traditionally a circle or round sphere, it is dark blue with the shape of an eye in the middle. Stroll through the grand bazaar of Istanbul and you will lose count of the number of times you see it. Visit panoramic viewpoint in Cappadocia and they hang off trees providing many perfect photo opportunities.
But do the Turks still use them? Yes they do.
Almost every Turkish person I know has one to carry around with them or display in their home. I often asked if they believe it will ward off bad luck and nine times out of ten, they just shrug their shoulders.
It does not matter whether it works, they just need it there, and much like a child clings to a comfort blanket, the (evil eye) Nazar Boncuğu provides peace of mind. It is said that when an evil eye cracks, it has done its job of protecting you and this belief dates back to the origins of the Nazar Boncuğu.
The Evil Eye Master Craftsmen
Now that evil eyes are popular as souvenirs, it is heart-warming to learn that not all of them are shipped in from cheap factories in China.
Making the Turkish evil eye is an accepted master trade that stretches back over 3000 years. Men learned the trade from their fathers and will sit at sweltering hot furnaces to twist, shape, and colour the glass into an evil eye.
I like to think that when I next buy a blue evil eye in Turkey, that an expert artisan will make it. After all, if I am to ward off bad luck, I certainly want the original talismans and not a copy made in China.
See Our Daily and Weekly Tours in Turkey
Explore the historical sites of Istanbul, visit the natural beautiful landmark of Pamukkale or stay in an original cave hotel in the unique geographical lands of Cappadocia. Our tours showcase the best of the country and its many wonderful attractions. Read more here.