On my wedding day my daddy brought a typical amulet from Naples, a cornetto that he presented to me the day before the ceremony. It must have been a gift from my mum whose origins are Neapolitan. My mum told me to start wearing it immediately and to believe it would bring me and my husband good luck for the future. Today it keeps me company everyday as part of my key ring and silently makes me think of her.
The origin of cornetto portafortuna (the horn-shaped amulet), as a wish of good luck, goes back to the Stone Age (3.500 ac) when prehistoric men used to hang it on the entrance of their sheds as good omen for fecundity. The shape of the horn is associated to the bull and represents physical and sexual strength. According to Greek mythology Jupiter possessed a magic horn, able to make every dream come true. The sharp shape of the horn make it a defensive object capable of rejecting negative influences and evil eye (malocchio). The horn is considered the substitute of the propitiatory sign of the horns (gesto delle corna). The red colour of the horn is symbolic as well: from ancient times and in many places and cultures the red colour is in fact messenger of good luck and good omen. The horn is even more effective if handmade because during the production process it takes on all the beneficial energies of the artisan.
The horn, sign of life, rejects evil magical influences. According to the propitiatory history from Naples the horn has to be a gift so, to bring luck, it doesn’t have to be bought; in addition it has to be: stiff, empty inside, sine wave-shaped and sharp.
Below: garlic, chillies and amulets: the way Neapolitans reject negative influences
blog comments powered by Disqus