We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

NY, NY/Istanbul...
Level Contributor
4,852 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Hi Guys: Yesterday my Turkish grocer gave me an "evil eye" pin to ensure good luck for our film, Istanbul, Up Close and Personal. This got me thinking, we have lots nazar bonjuks in our house, one large one hangs on our bedroom door, and all the children and granchildren have them, one even is pinned to the shirt of our newest baby T. So I thought I'd write a post about this very prevelant charm that you see all over Turkey in many different forms. Pins, earrings, I have a pendant of an evil eye surrounded by diamonds, and a handbag with evil eyes from the bag shop in Sirince. I have a evil eye magnet on the kitchen refrigerator. Even Orhan at the Arifoglu perfume store gave me a tassel soaked in my favorite scent that had an evil eye attached to it. So what's behind the nazar bonjuk. Here's what I found out about it.

Countries all over the Middle East have amulets that ward off the evil eye. Some people believe that people can give you an envious gaze or that a lot of praise will attract evil spirits intent on giving you bad luck. The eye set in a blue background stares out into the world warding off evil spirits. It is seen in Turkish homes, in cars, we gave our melon seller a charm to hang in his new melon van. Some are embedded in the sidewalk in front of some homes and businesses in Turkey.

The color blue is said to signify water since water is a precious commodity. Nazar bonjuks can be set in other colors for fashion purposes but blue is the authentic color. Don't worry your colored nazars will protect you just the same.

These amulets go back many centuries. They are mentioned in Sumerian writings and found in ancient tombs in Sanli Urfa.

So what's the story. It is said that a long time ago there was a rock that no one, not even the strongest man in town could move or split. But the town did have a man who was said to have the nazar, or evil eye and he was brought to the rock. The man reportedly said, "Wow, what a big rock this is" and when he said it the rock split into many pieces and fell into the sea. There are probably more legends assocaited with the nazar bonjuk so post them if you have them.

One important thing to remember is that if the amulet is cracked its power is gone and you have to replace it. Since things haven't been going all that great around here lately I checked my nazar bonjuks and found that the one on the bedroom door had cracked and now I will have to get another. I have hung a small one on the door temporarily.

Is your LemonLady superstituous, not as a rule but it can't hurt. After all in today's world we need all the luck we can get. So when in Turkey get your nazar bonjuk and if you can't get there, get one from Tulumba, the online Turkish store which has many kinds. I love the one which is a little brass tree with hanging nazars. tulumba.com. Please add your own "evil eye" experiences. We'd love to hear them. I wish you a Happy Weekend, free from the evil eye, LemonLady

Here's more on the evil eye all over the world from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_eye

Perrysburg, Ohio
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

While I'm not usually superstitious either, I also don't believe in tempting fate so I would have replaced my cracked one also. With my husband currently in Iraq and my youngest daughter getting ready to deploy to Iraq, I plan to purchase evil eyes for them and the rest of the family, including some to hang on the collar of our two dogs. I know if sounds goofy, but as you say it can't hurt!

NY, NY/Istanbul...
Level Contributor
4,852 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Dear Osumom: thanks for telling us about your husband and daughter and I know everyone on the forum will keep them and you in their thoughts. Glad you liked this post, I had a good time writing it. LL

NY, NY/Istanbul...
Level Contributor
4,852 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Not silly to give one to the dogs. Our dog Charley has one too. LL

Perrysburg, Ohio
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Thanks for your thoughts, LL, and glad to hear your also a dog lover!

NY, NY/Istanbul...
Level Contributor
4,852 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Hi: Charley does not consider himself a dog, the only person who thinks he is a dog is the pookie bear husband. Pookie bear has suffered through years of pets, dogs, cats, lizards, turtles, fish, etc. He doesn't like animals. I suppose after having 6 children and 6 grandchildren he just didn't want to clean up after another creature. But Charley is a great dog and will have his first trip to Turkey with the family this summer. LL

Abu Dhabi, United...
Level Contributor
75 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Thanks for your interesting post, LL. I love these sorts of discussions. The evil eye bracelets are all over my apartment, not out of superstition but because I think they are pretty. They are assorted by color on every door knob..

As to the evil spirits, I thought my students were pulling my leg, but one day the (university) students told me about the djinns here. They were very passionate about them. Sounds like they are a sub-culture here, with their own habits, benevolent so long as you show a healthy respect for them. And then the class returned to their laptops.

A bit off topic, but in Oman I walked through Wadi Ghoul, "Valley of. " And there was a magical tree in a nearby village, Bahla, even the people here know about it. As to the color blue, I don't know if it has anything to do with the power of the color, but Bahla was also once known for its production of indigo dye. The people drooped strings of indigo from the tree's branches.

Ruhr Area, Germany
Level Contributor
15,156 posts
122 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Dear Osumom,

all my best wishes for your daughter and your husband.

I´m not very superstitious too, but sometimes, when there is a difficult situation I tend toward a kind of superstition, I think it can´t do harm.

When we have been in the Yerebatan Cistern there was a hole in a column and people put a finger or thumb into the hole and hope that a wish would come true.

And I must admit that I did it too, hoping that my husband will get over his desease. Perhaps it is silly but why not.

I have still an evil eye bracelet, perhaps I should wear it.

Have a very nice weekend

Patara01

NY, NY/Istanbul...
Level Contributor
4,852 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Hi Guys: no harm in wearing an evil eye. I always wear one. All over Turkey people tie ribbons on trees and make a wish. I've done this in Selcuk, on Princes Island and up by the Chimaera lights.

Hi Josefina, nice to see you post. I've heard about djinns. Glad you like this post. I thought it be interesting to write about it. If our film gets funded we'll be Istanbul all summer, so I hope to see you there. Are you going to Cyprus? I will send you an email with all the latest news. LL

Perrysburg, Ohio
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Thanks Patara, I appreciate your thoughts. As for the hole at the Cistern, I've seen pictures of people putting their thumb into a hole and turning it, but I never knew where in Istanbul it was! Now I know and I'll make sure to make a wish while I'm there.

LL: Our dogs are also not dogs, as we consider them "four legged fur persons" (stole that from a Shirley McLaine movie) and are definitely a part of the family (although my husband seems to think along the same lines as your PookieBear). I hope Charley has a great time in Turkey...what a lucky dog!

London, United...
Level Contributor
6,743 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Nazar Bonjuk or How to Avoid the Evil Eye

Thanks LemonLady for this little story - I always used to think that the little eyes they handed out when you bought things was a "touristy" thing but I remember my Turkish teacher telling me it was perfectly normal in Turkey when you bought something (like a piece of clothing) to be given one by the seller to pin on to your new clothes to ward off jealous "evil eyes" from your new gear!