Do not look at a beautiful girl in the morning

27 Jul

“If you see a beautiful girl in the morning before any other thing, you will have bad luck. In Taiz, we believe that seeing an ape is better than seeing a beautiful lady,” Mahmoud Ali, 38, told the Yemen Times.

Malak Shaher



In Yemen, people believe in things that cannot be explained by common sense or by science. Seeing a black cat or a black dog means the same for people all over Yemen, including Taiz. They believe that their day will not pass smoothly.

Almost all Yemenis, especially the old ones, associate bad luck with magic. If a girl is divorced many times, her mother interprets this by saying that her daughter has been affected by magic or by the evil eye.

“This is the third time that my daughter has divorced. She is beautiful and should not be divorced at her young age. Someone must have put a evil eye on her or maybe she is under a spell,” said Fatima Ali.

Almost all those who believe in superstitions are older people. The daughter, who has been divorced three times, does not believe in this and said that it was her destiny to divorce three times.

“We just did not get along with each other and that is the story. The evil eye or magic has nothing to do with me getting divorced three times,” Ruba said.

As Yemenis believe in the evil eye, they try their best to discover if they are affected by someone of not.

In Sana’a, in the north of Yemen, people hold red and white material over the head of someone suspected of having been affected by the evil eye and read verses from the Quran. They then burn the material on top of incense. He or she stays in the room where they walk around and spread the incense fumes. If the incense makes a low popping sound, it means that the person is truly affected by the evil eye.

Nevertheless, superstitions in Yemen are not just associated with bad luck.

Um Hani said that she can tell if someone is to visit her or not. Sometimes, a black flying insect called a ‘hanthor’ in Yemeni Arabic, comes from the window and flies inside the house telling her that someone will visit her. She said she feels happy if she sees the insect.

“If the house is untidy, I get up and clean it just in case somebody appears suddenly,” she explained. “The flying black insect is not the only one who makes me guess if someone is to visit me or not. Sometimes my left foot itches and that means that someone is to show up for sure.”

“Every time it appears, in minutes or no more than a few hours, somebody shows up,” explained Um Ali.

The position of shoes when people take them off says if someone will travel or not.

“If one shoe got above the other while taking them off, it means you will travel,” said Marwan Saleh.

In Yemen, not only can insects or the position of inanimate things predict the future, but people also believe in their bodily instincts too. They also believe that they can tell if things are happening behind their back.

It is common for example in Dhamar, in the north of Yemen, that if someone bites his tongue by accident, it means somebody is talking behind his back maliciously.

Hands can foresee the future too. But the two hands do not indicate the same thing. When the right hand itches, they expect to spend money. However, when the left hand itches they expect to receive money.

Eyes are predictive too. If the upper eyelid of a Yemeni person flickers, it says that he is to see somebody dear to his heart. However, flickering in the lower eyelid indicates that he will cry.

If an eyelash falls on someone’s cheek, they ask you to make a wish and ask you to guess where the eyelash is. If you can tell, your wish may come true.

For You

In order not to be accused of affecting someone with the evil eye, one should say Mashalla for something he or she likes. Mashalla means that whatever this person likes is what God wants



2 Responses to “Do not look at a beautiful girl in the morning”

  1. Wangui April 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Interesting, but i think this happens in most cultures. In Kenya we also have our from scratching one palm means you will receive money and the other you will give out some. I think its a cultural thing that does not really need to be explained but we have been socialised to somewhat believe in them.
    Such is life and the cultures we are born into

    • malaakshaher April 28, 2011 at 2:06 am #

      yeah, but isn’t that interesting that we share some beliefs? 😀

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