Red, red ribbons

We all know that red ribbons ward off the evil eye. Duh. What I was wondering was why.  I mean, when my grandmother tied red ribbons on me and on my son’s crib and carriage, I didn’t ask any questions.  But today’s kids are so, well, curious.  They aren’t just doing what we tell them because we tell them to. 

So, I figured back-up was necessary and found this information at Traditions Renewed.  Add it to your arsenal of Jewish and maternal wisdom!

Many mothers and grandmothers tie red ribbons and strings to children’s underwear and bedding to prevent the evil peer. The color red is significant within Jewish history because it was one of the items necessary for the building of the original Temple. Red thread and dye were used to make fabric; the red thread came from a type of worm. Rabbi S. R. Hirsch points out that the worm was the lowest form of life, and yet it was intrinsic to the building of the Sanctuary. The red thread, reminiscent of the lowly worm, can be seen as protection against this. Each time a person looks at the string he is reminded that a person is really as lowly as a worm. This humility is the ultimate weapon against the “evil eye.” Mashallah! (the verbal amulet to ward off evil)

I think this is in line with my grandmother’s thinking, that the presence of the red ribbon makes the baby, or the bride – imperfect – therefore the evil eye, or bad wishes will be diverted. Or, the explanation that I accepted without question, which was simply that the red ribbon warded off evil spirits, bad karma, mean thoughts — because well, they just did.

Those were the days.


3 Responses to “Red, red ribbons”

  1. 1 yourotherjewishmother August 10, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Is it too late? Can I tie red ribbons on my teenagers’ beds? Sometimes it seems that evil spirits have taken over their bodies.

  1. 1 And we do this, why? « Your Jewish Mother Trackback on August 13, 2007 at 4:47 am
  2. 2 And we do this…why? « Your Jewish Mother Trackback on August 13, 2007 at 4:49 am

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