The Pagan Origins Of Making A Wish On An Eyelash

Superstition appears to have an impact on people around the globe, whether they realize it or not. But it doesn't always come in the form of being scared to walk under a ladder or believing that breaking a mirror will bring seven years of bad luck. Sometimes it appears in daily life as a small gesture without much thought, or with one particular thought — a wish.

Superstition seems less frightening and more fun when it comes in the form of a wish. For centuries, humans have wished on stars, dandelions, and even the bones found in poultry, known as wishbones. Another common target of wishes is the eyelash. Like the rest of the hair on our bodies, eyelashes fall out, and sometimes we're lucky enough to catch them in the act and make a wish. However, according to folklore, wishing on eyelashes isn't all just fun and games, and like many other traditions, the act of making a wish on a fallen eyelash developed from pagan roots.

You can use an eyelash to ward off the devil

The act of wishing on an eyelash has been around for hundreds of years, dating back to 18th-century Britain and Ireland. A person could start the wishing ritual by placing a fallen lash on the back of their hand and then throwing it over their shoulder while simultaneously wishing for whatever it is they desire most. If the lash floats away, the wish will come true. However, if the lash gets caught on anything or remains on the hand, the wish will not come true, according to "The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland."

There's no word on whether a person can try again if the eyelash remains on their hand, but the steps required to have a wish granted make the whole process a unique game-like activity. However, tossing an eyelash over the shoulder isn't all fun and games. According to the Times of India, when you blow away an eyelash, you're actually blowing away the devil. The belief is that the devil gains power over humans by collecting their hair. So it's imperative to blow away the hair before the devil can reach you.

There are plenty of other ways to make a wish

According to Scientific American, evil has traditionally been defined as "taking pleasure in the intentional inflicting of harm on innocent others." The devil has always been feared by humankind for possessing immeasurable evil. Protecting oneself and loved ones from the malice that they may bring has long been a top priority, and achieving this protection comes in endless forms of rituals and beliefs. Nowadays, wishing on an eyelash isn't just a way to ward off the devil, but one of many ways one can try to will their desires to life. If there's not an eyelash ready to be tossed, a wishing fountain or even a wish at 11:11 may suffice.

There's no telling whether a person's wish really comes true or if blowing away an eyelash actually prevents the devil from gaining power over you. But as long as there's a chance to receive what's desired or to ward off the devil themself, it might be worth a try.