I have decided to shed some light on my culture after years of sitting back and not saying anything. So sit back, shut up, and let me tell you what you’ve been doing wrong.
So there’s this thing called a Chamsa (alternate spelling: Hamsa). You may know what it looks like, usually a hand with or without an eye in the middle of it. It’s a beautiful symbol and it stands for many things.
It has come to my attention that many companies have thought it socially acceptable to make jewelry and clothing based on the idea of this Chamsa, and I am here to tell you why you should stop.
First off, I’ll give you some background on this lovely little symbol. In Hindu and Judaism religions, the Chamsa is used as a protector, a symbol of protection and peace. (And if I’m wrong on anything please correct me, as I am only Jewish, not Hindu) In Hinduism it is more used to represent the five chakras in your body (aka the five fingers of the hand) and is equated with spirituality. In Judaism, however, it is seen as a protection from evil, and that the “all seeing eye” of G/d is what protects you when you wear it. I myself have boughten many a pair of earrings where the place I bought them from admitted to having no clue what the symbol meant when I asked them.
This is what I’m talking about.
So many companies are using this symbol as a fancy trend, a cool symbol to get tattooed on your body, while they are simultaneously erasing the decades worth of history and meaning behind it. I cannot speak for the Hindu population, but on behalf of the Jewish community, I am extremely upset at the ignorance and cultural appropriation these companies are showing.
This is just the same as wearing a Bindi if you are not Indian, or wearing a Hijab if you are not Muslim, and it needs to be stopped. When you buy these Chamsas in the store and wear them on your ears and wrists without even a thought of what it could mean, you are erasing my culture. I am a part of a people who have already been erased by the mankind of history, and I will not stand to be erased any more.
This is my culture, and my culture only. It is not trendy, or hipster, or cool or anything else you may think. It is ignorant and it is erasure.
Please remember this the next time you think about buying that cute little necklace or those beautifully breathtaking earrings with the hand on them.
Please think about the history.