The ‘Evil Eye’ & The Dordolec in Albania

By Katie Snow

The ‘Evil Eye’ & The Dordolec in Albania

The EVIL EYE, you know, the one that brings damage to all your valued possessions! Even your children!
In Albania this is a very real fear and they have just the cure, The “Dordolec”.

This stunning countryside is peppered with garishly dressed dolls and plush toys that they
straegically place throughout their properties and atop rooftops to protect against such curses.

Dordolec in Albanian means doll or scarecrow and they believe by placing this iconic figure it reduces the
danger of the Evil Eye curse that has shown a sudden emergence throughout their country. This is all related
to the ancient superstition of the ‘evil eye’ and the attempt by the superstitious to retain what
they have.

Traditionally the Dordolec would have been a figure, in the shape of a human, made out of old clothes stuffed with
straw, and many of these can be seen in your travels there, however, they have added plush animals and toys into the
mix. Though this is through the country as stated above the main concentration of these talismans seem to be in the
village of Tirana. They not only grace the rooftops and gardens but now the fences, fruit tress, vines and balconies
of the homes. Comically enough there seems to be a minimalist movement where you can also see just shirts tied to a pole
or a spiderman attached to a vacant building.

The idea of the dordolec is not to frighten away people as the scarecrow ‘frightens’ birds, it’s more complex than that.
The idea is the passer-by ‘fixates’ on the dordolec and in that way doesn’t covet the property on which it’s attached,
it’s there to prevent envy which might lead to someone taking action to acquire that particular piece of wealth. It’s
there to help reinforce one of the strictures of the Ten Commandments, the one about coveting your neighbor’s house,
wife, servants or ox. However, there is no direct correlation between this superstition and religious beliefs.
In Albania such beliefs can be found in all religious communities, Muslim, Orthodox or Catholic.

Just where this ideology has come from seems to vary. Some state the tradition, some state that poor men have a greater
fear of losing what they have. Some even state it was brought back from Greece where many Albanians have been forced to go to in
order to find work after the wholesale destruction of industry in their own country in the last 20 years or so.

Whatever the exact reason for such an upsurge it seems to fit into an isolated society that is looking for something to protect
itself from the hostile world outside.


Dr.Bidoshi PHD