galata tower on istanbul skyline

Expat Life Istanbul: Evil Eye Nazaar Beads

Nazaar Beads are something we learned about when we lived in Istanbul, Turkey.

Nazaar Beads

Everywhere you go in Turkey, fixed on front doors, swinging from taxi rearview mirrors and even incorporated into jewellery designs, you will see Nazaar Beads. They are flat, blue, circular glass ‘eye’ beads. They are to deflect, distract and ward off the evil eye or bad luck with their bright colour.

Nazzar bead, blue good luck charm Turkey.

What is the evil eye?

The evil eye is where someone casts a cursing or malevolent look in your direction resulting in bad luck or misfortune. Others are even more superstitious and believe that the evil eye is a malevolent supernatural force. Either way, you don’t want to be the victim of the evil eye.

What if it breaks?

Don’t worry if your nazaar bead cracks or breaks. Unlike the 7 years of bad luck associated with cracking a mirror, it means that the bead has done its job and warded off some invisible evil or bad luck that was heading your way. Then all you have to do is buy a replacement bead to continue to live in peace and harmony. A neat marketing ploy!

Pasabache vs Ikea

We discovered a shop called Pasabache. The shop sells both ‘life’ products, i.e. everyday kitchen wear and also boutique items – which include a selection of covetable, beautiful, fragile and more expensive Turkish glass wear and ceramic (including high-end giant Nazaar beads). As we entered the artfully lit boutique display area, Pickle looked around and gleefully yelled: “Ikea Mummy”.  I gave him the evil eye* and we left very quickly.

* In modern English giving somebody the evil eye just means glaring at somebody, not cursing them.  Just to be absolutely clear, I did not put a curse on Pickle, I was just embarrased and gave him a cross look. 

We loved our time in Istanbul, from our first impressions, to the cultural conundrums and lost in translation moments we encountered.

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