Warding off the evil eye

Walking along the streets of Kathmandu sometimes you can notice strange strings of lemons and chilies hanging in front of the doors of the houses or shops. These are meant to ward off the evil eye - any sickness or misfortune transmitted by someone who is envious, jealous or covetos. The belief is that a person, otherwise not evil in any way, can harm you, your children, your house, your health and so on, by looking at you with envy and even by praising you, so it does not always have evil intentions attached to it. Strangers, malformed persons and old women are most often accused of casting the evil eye.
In Nepal and India a popular method of averting the evil eye is to suspend a string of chilies and lemon above the front door/entrance, shoe behind vehicles, black pot in front of the house. The dark eyeliner around the children's eyes or black dot put prominently on the child's face serves to ward off the evil eye as well. Other practices include bathing with rock salt or tying a black thread to the right arm or ankle.

  It is commonly believed that all kinds of illness, pains and handicaps may be caused by the evil eye. And unless this is nullified the effects stay and in such cases no medication helps. Therefore other "remedies" have developed such as waving salt or salt water over the head of the affected person and throwing it in fire or water. At times a lemon with 4-5 chilies tied together are use for this purpose. With the help of mantras the effects of the evil eye are transformed to these objects. They are then thrown away or left at a crossroad.

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