Everyone recognizes it: the classic little hand symbol that is being displayed by countless individuals around their necks, wrists and fingers. This popular fashion trend has taken the world by storm as the hipster uprising continues. Not only used in jewelry, but also in shirts, wall decorations, and many other modern design examples, these hands have become a symbol for this generation.
Now I am in no way annoyed by hipsters, or the excessive display of one design in particular. But what really grinds my gears is that people have no idea what they are wearing
Allow me to elaborate. Wearing this cute little “hand” is in no way a new revolution, or just a fashion trend. This recognizable amulet is actually a “Hamsa,” a religious symbol used in both Islamic and Jewish faiths. Referred to as “the hand of Fatima” in Islam and “the hand of Miriam” in Judaism, this symbol can be traced back all the way to early Mesopotamia, and has been popular in the Middle East for centuries.
And the symbol has a deeper meaning than everyone knows. The hamsa is worn in order to bring the owner happiness, luck, and good fortune. It also is used to protect against the “evil eye” in each respective culture.
Now the amulet isn’t fixed to be worn only by individuals of these faiths. I have heard that anyone wanting protection or a bout of good luck can wear the “hamsa,” although I am unsure how much truth there is to that statement. But personally, I don’t mind people of different faiths wearing them. My problem is the blatant ignorance that they show by not knowing the symbol’s history, or even meaning.
People are just wearing these as jewelry because it is cool, and it’s the “new thing” that everyone is doing, and they are completely disregarding how culturally insensitive they are being. It is okay to want to know more about the history of the symbol, and wear it because you respect its meaning. But it is in no way okay to just wear it because it looks cool. It is understandable if someone didn’t know its history, or that it even had a history, but I am tired of hearing people say that they don’t care about its meaning, they just like it.
I understand that if you ignore fashion trends, you will feel ostracized from your community. But please, for the love of whatever G-d you believe in, understand what you are wearing before you put in on.