Evil Eye Blue Beads ward off the "evil eye" according to Turkish Cypriot culture.
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Evil Eye Blue Beads
(Nazar Boncugu)

Evil Eye Necklace
Evil Eye Necklace
photo by: Anonymous
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Everywhere in North Cyprus, blue beads are hung from taxi mirrors, over restaurant doors, and even embedded into walls and arches. These humble beads play an important function for Turkish Cypriots, as they ward off the "evil eye".

The "evil eye" tradition in North Cyprus

Right across the Mediterranean, in a tradition dating from pre-Christian times, people have believed that a look of hate from one person to another can bring on illness, bad luck and even death. It's not just hatred, either, that can invoke the evil eye, as jealousy or even extreme affection can be the cause! So, clearly, with so much potential danger around, you need protection. These Northern Cyprus blue glass beads, each with a painted eye in the centre, supposedly ward off the evil glances, which bounce off their smooth glass surface. Also, the colour blue has protective powers, although ironically many Turkish people distrust those with blue eyes!

History of evil eye beads

It is said that the Egyptians first used such beads, but certainly their use spread rapidly through the eastern Mediterranean. The blue beads so popular in North Cyprus originally came from the Anatolia region of Turkey, where the Anatolians still use them extensively. Turkish Cypriots believe there are three kinds of evil eye; the unconscious evil eye, which causes harm unintentionally, a deliberate evil eye and the invisible evil eye.

Finding blue beads in Northern Cyprus

With so many potential evil glances, you won't have to look far to find the blue beads in use!  However, they also crop up in unusual places in Northern Cyprus. Animals and plants can be affected by the evil eye too, so you'll see blue beads hung on a calf's forehead, or stuck on a pole in a flowerpot. Most North Cyprus homes will some evil eye blue beads, probably on the doorframe, as the evil eye can strike a house, too.

Buying blue evil eye beads in North Cyprus

The blue evil eye beads in North Cyprus are made from glass, and should also contain iron, copper, water and salt. (This combination of ingredients makes the beads more resistant to evil.) The blue beads (or nazar boncugu) can be found in North Cyprus jewellery, as decorations, or even set into gold and silver with the inscription "God Bless". You may even be given one by a friendly North Cyprus shopkeeper, who sometimes have a supply to present to new-found customers. After all, what better customer service can you offer than to protect your clients when they leave your shop!

Burning Olive Leaves to Ward Off Evil Eye

Another unique tradition belived by Turkish Cypriots is olive leaf burning.