What’s that all about? Chilli & Limes & Nazar?

People believe in superstition and follow the tradition which is followed by their ancestors without questioning them once or finding out the truth or fact behind it. Some follow it because of their strong belief in that act, while some do it just because they've been following it for years. With this journey on The Jai Jais I seem to question so much about the reasons behind or rites, rituals signs and symbolism. This is also the inquisitive nature of my children too, always asking…..”but mummy why?”.  I have been humbled by your responses to my posts and blogs of how much you are also learning and teaching your children along our journey together.

There have been people who have tried hard to find reasons for these age-old practices. One of them is 'nazar utarna', or removing the effects of the evil eye. So today, we thought of investigating, The Jai Jais Way the logic of this superstition, which actually also has a scientific reason to it. 

I still remember to this day my mum removing Nazar with salt, chillies, shoes, poppy seeds circling in 5’s or 7’s, or burning things in fires, does the fire smell? or if there is Nazar no smell, which surprised me a lot no smell when chillies were thrown in fire.  This in in the UK and visits to India too. I actually do this with my children now since babies, and have seen the difference it makes, but never questioned it as that is what we did.  I cleanse my own energy and vibe using white sage and palo sticks at home. In children, people usually try to counteract the effect by putting a small spot of kajal on the forehead or behind the ear…. Do you know why? The basic logic behind this is to make the child look ugly so that he or she looks unattractive to the 'evil eye'. 

Have you seen Chillies and Limes hung over doorways and in vehicles? People think its can bring prosperity and others think it can ward of the evil eye.

The scientific reason behind hanging lemon and chilli on entrance –
Long ago, the technology was not that advanced so pesticides were not available. So, our Ancestors invented this insecticide from Lemon and Chilli. They used to put the lemon and chilli on doors of their shops or home to keep away the mosquitoes and insects because they used to live in the homes made up of mud and stones.

Lemon and Chilli are very rich in vitamin C. So when the lemon and chilli were pierced by a cotton thread, the fluid acid from the lemon stick all over the thread and the smell of it get spread into the surrounding environment with the help of air. This smell helps to repeal the insects to enter into shops and homes and in the same way, Chilli too is remedial as it acts as germ-killer when hung outside. (Ref: Asking Minds)

Just like the technology was not advanced, paths too were full of trees and dirt. So, while traveling from this type of areas, there might be a risk of snake bites and other venomous creature’s sting so in such case lemon and chilli were used to check whether the bite was venomous or not by tasting it. Taste buds of a person doesn’t work after a venomous sting as his nerves would be paralyzed. So if the taste buds feel the sour or spicy taste of lemon and chilli that means the bite was not venomous but if the taste buds can’t sense the difference in taste so this indicates that the bite was venomous which helps people in knowing if they need immediate medication or not. (Ref: Asking Minds)

According to legends, the goddess of wealth and prosperity Lakshmi has a twin sister called Alakshmi, they both came from the churning of the ocean. She goes with Lakshmi everywhere she goes. Alakshmi is the opposite to Lakshmi and brings poverty and deprivation. Lakshmi likes sweet things, where as Alakshmi likes sour and pungent tastes.  People leave limes and chillies hanging so she is satisfied at the door and does not enter the adobe. She looses her urge to enter the house or shop and will turn around without casting her vicious eye.

There is also a popular folklore legend that once both sisters went to a merchant and asked which one was more beautiful. The merchant played a very clever trick and said that Lakshmi looked beautiful when coming inside from outside, and Alakshmi looked beautiful when she was going outside from inside.

After knowing the reason, all logics seem so simple, our ancestors are more scientific than us!! They just hide the pure logic and attach it to religion. Do you believe in Nazar or preform rituals to get rid of the evil eye would love to know your views.

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