Mal de Ojo

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My object is called the mal de ojo brazalete, which means the evil eye bracelet. My mom and dad bought this bracelet 14 years ago in Dominican Republic. They gave the bracelet to me a year later when I was born. “Mal de ojo” is caused someone looks at you with envy. It is believed to inflict injury or bad luck. This is a deeply embedded superstition in Latin American culture. Mothers especially fear the evil eye; they protect their children with the bracelets. My dad is from Dominican Republic and immigrated here when he was 14 years old on a family- sponsored visa. His family was in poverty, and came to America with nothing. My mom also grew up poor in Puerto Rico and migrated here at age 9. Back in their own countries, each had a mal de ojo bracelet. They wanted me to have this same protection. My bracelet had my name engraved on a thin gold bar, which I later accidentally broke. This worried my parents because when a mal de ojo bracelet breaks, it means someone has looked on you with envy and you are cursed with bad luck. Of course nothing happened but that is what they believed. This object represents my culture and beliefs. This connects my story to hundreds of thousands of other stories that are similar yet different, because this bracelet is a recurring tradition that has been followed for centuries.

Place(s): Dominican Republic
Year: 1987

– Gabriela Tejada

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant