Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's Halloween, Do You Have The Malocchio?

Happy Halloween, everyone. I've never been a big fan of Halloween, even when I was a kid. Living in Philly posed some...challenges for the legitimate Halloween trick-or-treater. Personally, I never had any major issues. To make sure that we didn't have any issues, my mom would take us only on 2 streets: ours and my grandparents' (who lived about 2 1/2 blocks away). Although, I must admit that my grandparents' street was pretty awesome; they had a candy store on the corner! Phil's. (For some unknown reason everyone in my family and up the street called him "Fibbie." Whatever!) Well, Fibbie would give out the full-sized Hershey bars! And I'm talking the late 1970s and early 1980s. Candy bars were like twice the size they are now! Or Marathon bars. Sweet Christ, those were the best candy bars ever. EVER! Do NOT even try to argue with me!

Also, I grew up in a family that kind of hung onto "The Great Depression" mentality. We were always going to die or get some horrible debilitating illness just by doing anything that meant leaving our house for more than 5 minutes. They swore we'd get Scarlet Fever if we played under an open fireplug in the summer. They had us by the age of 4 firmly believing that sitting on a cold, marble step outside would doom one to Polio. So my family was convinced that gallivanting around in nothing but a costume for an hour on November's eve would cause us all to get Spinal Meningitis or Diverticulitis or Hepatitis or something, resulting in certain death. Therefore, I recall MANY a Halloween where my sister and I wore our costumes over our winter coats---yes, OVER---complete with hats, scarves, and gloves. It's kind-of hard to be a convincing witch, or clown, or basically anything when you look like Cookie Monster in a pointy hat. I'll pause here for a moment while you compose yourselves....

All done?

Then there was...the Malocchio. The "evil eye." The Malocchio was not limited to only Halloween. Oh no, sir! You could be a victim of the Malocchio year-round! How nice! How does one know they have the Malocchio? Well there are some subtle signs. Got a headache? Feel unusually tired? Ears itching or ringing? Depressed? You don't know what, but you just feel "out of sorts?" Well, chances are you've got the Malocchio.

Getting rid of the Malocchio---in my Italian culture---involved a rather simple set-up: a dish of warm water (it had to have a rim) and a tablespoon of olive oil. My grandmother was the "Malocchio Terminator," if you will. She was the only person that presided over this ritual. She then drew olive-oil crosses in 4 positions around the rim, and drew olive-oil crosses on the head, lips, and wrists of the afflicted. All the while, my grandmother would be mumbling some sort of prayer, which to this day, I still don't know what it was. Then after all that got done, she'd say a different prayer of some sort and with her index finger and thumb, she'd pinch a drop of the olive oil into the dish of water. Depending on how the oil reacted with the water, it meant different things. If it split in two, it meant one thing. If it spread out wide all over the surface, that meant something else. (I think that meant that someone was spreading lies about you.) And there were other variations. Then she'd use the oil to make the crosses again on the head, lips and wrists. I think she did this procedure 12 times: say a prayer, pinch out the oil, make the crosses. After the 12 times, she'd dump the rest of the oil from the spoon into the dish, then make big crosses three times in the oil and water mix. Then she'd dip her fingers in the oil and water and she'd draw triple crosses on the head, lips and wrists, all the while repeating some prayer. Done. And you felt better. Seriously. No, I am not crazy! :-P

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying a very heart-felt, "thank you" to my secret pal, who sent me a very cool Halloween card! I hope you can see the text on the front. If you click on the picture, it will make it bigger, then I think you can see:


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad my card arrived on time! Would you believe just after I mailed the snow began falling? We had a cold and snowy Hallowe'en, but it didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves.

Gina said...

WOW, snow?! Unbelievable! I'm glad you guys had a fun time on Halloween!

Are you watching Lost tonight? I think this season is pretty good, certainly better than last year, but maybe not as good as season 1.


Anonymous said...

Of course I'll be watching Lost (though I usually have to tape it and watch it the next day). Last week's episode was definately the best so far this season... back to the psychological. Have you been watching The Nine? I'm getting hooked into the show too.