In India cord amulets are used as an evil eye protectant for newborn babies. The cord -- red, black, blue or mingled colours of string, with or without blue beads -- is put on the child's neck or wrist and left until it breaks, by which time the child is presumed to be old enough to withstand the "eye." In practice, such cords may last several years. A friend of mine, Margaret Raymond, tells me that she knew a man from India who related that he had been given such a cord at birth, strung with a blue bead of lapis lazuli, and it only broke when he was 12 years old.
In Israel, visitors to the shrine of the birthplace of Sarah, the wife of Abraham, founder of the Jewish religion, are given a red string cord to wear about their wrists. When the cord breaks a blessing is released.
In at least one Peruvian package amulet, a mano fico hand wearing a cord charm is utilized as an evil eye protectant.
In Brazil, there are white paper bracelets printed with pious words in red to be worn after visiting shrines; good luck and protection from the evil eye are promised.
Also from Brazil -- and purchased in Boulder Creek, California, at a hippie jewelry store called Pinnacle Grouse -- come "fortune bracelets." These are made of split palm fronds into which are braided and twined seven glass seed beads. The beads come in eight colours, and a descriptive card explains their specific uses:
Tie this magical bracelet on your wrist or ankle. Legend has it, when it wears out and breaks, your fortune will come true.
- Blue: Love
- Gold: Money
- White: Peace
- Black: Fortune
- Green: Hope
- Red: Health
- Purple: Energy
- Pink: Your Choice
The was a very modest $1.50 per bracelet or 5 for $6.00. The store owner said that the bracelets last 6-8 weeks on the wrist and 3-6 weeks on the ankle. "If you want fast action, tie it on your ankle," he suggested, "you know, something about the flexing. And take lots of showers."
To my surprise, because this was a hippie store in a backwoods California hippie town, the bracelet colour that was most in demand and had almost sold out was the golden-beaded or money variety. The white-beaded peace bracelets lagged far behind in popularity.
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