When my son was born, my husband’s grandmother asked if she could tie a red ribbon to the bottom of his crib. This was to ward off the "evil eye" and keep away bad luck.
Some people wear a red string or bracelet on their left hand to ward off the "evil eye" too. The red bracelet is called a roite bindele in Yiddish, The idea of a red ribbon warding off evil comes from old Jewish folklore and is associated with Judaism’s Kabbalah. The Kabbalah is a mystical doctrine, not religious in nature.
The "evil eye" in Judaism is connected to other people’s envy having the potential to cause evil. Where newborns are concerned, there seems to be a connection with the mythological figure of Lilith. In some stories, Lilith was Adam’s first wife (before Eve). She became known as a demonic woman who was blamed for the deaths of infants. She’s also known as a baby-stealer. Talismans are worn to ward off her "evil eye".
There is a ritual that is still performed at Rachel’s Tomb. It involves wrapping a red string around her tombstone seven times while a Rabbi recites a prayer.
Please feel free to share any traditions you know about talismans to ward off evil and to protect babies in the comments below.
Image: Rachel and Jacob by William Dyce (1806–1864)
This artilce was posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Customs for Newborn Babies, Folk Lore, Good Luck, Good Luck Charms, Good Luck Colors, Israel, Languages, Parenting, Red String, Roite Bindele, Superstitions, USA, Yiddish. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.