The Apulia region has many characteristics that set it apart from the rest of Italy: the variety of cultures, traditions, landscapes, food… even more so superstitions. Some of these are still alive, others have acquired the name of “legend”, therefore only stories to be told. However, superstitions, myths and legends continue to tell the culture of our people. In this article, I am going to talk about the most bizarre but also the most famous curse: the evil eye. You only need to talk to some Apulian grandmothers to get a clear definition, but I will try to give as detailed an explanation as possible. The affascinu (in Apulian dialect) can be provoked by another person with just a glance, but the main ingredient is envy.
The evil eye, like a disease, has symptoms. The most frequent are headaches, fatigue, sleepiness. But do not worry, the old ladies have a solution. There is a “formula” that is passed down from mother to daughter only on Christmas night, otherwise it loses all its effectiveness. This is a set of prayers, spells and invocations designed to free the unfortunate, or in this case, the affascinatu (charmed). I am not allowed to go into detail, but I can add a few of them: a few drops of oil are dropped into a white dish with a salt and water base, accompanied by the extremely focused grandmother whispering the formula. As if this was not bizarre enough, if the spell is successful, the grandmother and the victim will start yawning repeatedly. Obviously, prevention is better than cure, which is why there are many who stock up on amulets of various kinds (horseshoes, red horns…) to ward off the curse.