Istanbul
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It's a souvenir, AND protection from evil!
As I mentioned in another recent post, my favorite souvenirs are items that carry significance in the local culture. In Turkey, that could only mean the ubiquitous nazar or evil eye bead (Turkish: nazar boncuğu). It’s meant to protect against the evil eye, and is often wrongly translated as the evil eye itself, when it’s actually a benevolent eye. The best explanation I’ve received is this: It’s a form of fighting fire with fire (an eye for an evil eye). It is usually seen in the form of a hanging ornament or flattened glass bead or amulet, made by hand and used as part of a necklace, bracelet or pin. While it can be worn by people, including babies, it is also seen on cars, trucks, doors, horses, and even cell phones. Now that’s protection!
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