Thursday, February 26, 2015

Apotropaic Devices in Greek Wedding Rituals



In October 1987 the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora printed an article by George Pilitsis titled "Apotropaic and Other Magic Devices in Greek Wedding Rituals."

Reading the article brought back memories of stories about my mother's Thea Petrakina.  She was my maternal grandmother's "go to" person for all issues regarding the evil eye. 

Excerpt from article:

In Greece, the belief in the evil eye appears to be fairly consistent and uniform, and is often associated with envy, gossip, and magic.  While anyone, young or old, male or female, ugly or beautiful, may invite or provoke envy and thus become a victim of the evil eye, gossip, and aggressive magic, it is usually the fortunate, the prosperous, and those in a period of transition in life that run the greatest risk of falling prey to its effects.  These include young children; mothers at the time of childbirth and until their purification, forty days after the birth; and young people during the time of courtship and, especially, at the time of their wedding.  According to popular belief, the physical harm caused by the evil eye and aggressive magic can range from illness to death.  A person afflicted with it may experience symptoms ranging from severe headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and sleepiness, to irritation or depression.  Moreover, misfortunes in one's life, such as loss of wealth or employment, destruction of property, or wrecked marriage, are often attributed to the malevolent power of the evil eye and magic.

Marriage is a time when tension and anxiety run high.  This is a period in the life cycle which presents the greatest danger and thus is a time when the individual feels exposed to great risks emanating from the world of magic and the supernatural. . . . . 

(This article is limited to). .  discussing the apotropaic function of a number of customs and rites observed in various parts of Greece before and during the wedding ceremony.  

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE - http://hdl.handle.net/10066/13117


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