The belief that peacock feathers are unlucky can be attributed to a Mediterranean superstition, where the eye-like marks at the end of peacock feathers are known as the “evil eye.” It is thought that the “evil eye” marks represent the ever-vigilant eye of the female demon Lilith.
It is thought that the peacock feather superstition is linked to instances of bad luck, including the unexpected deaths of infants. Peacock feathers hung from the ceilings of the afflicted’s dwellings were the only link between these calamities, as discovered by the populace. Since Lilith is frequently blamed for misfortune and the strange deaths of newborns, people began to believe that the eye-like marking on the end of the feathers was a window through which Lilith peered into people’s houses.
In ancient Rome and Greece, peacocks were frequently served during formal meals. Before cooking, the feathers were removed, then reapplied with a honey mixture that worked as an adhesive prior to dishing. This gave the roasted chicken an appearance befitting a nobleman. A lavish meal for European rulers included placing roasted birds inside one another, with the smaller birds on the inside. The peacock was typically the outermost bird since it was the most aesthetically beautiful.
In Eastern Europe, peacock feathers are considered unlucky since they were worn by the Mongol warriors that conquered the region in the 13th century. Due to the numerous eyes on peacock feathers, they are also believed to be able to see everything. For this reason, they are considered unlucky and are not permitted inside homes.
Popular belief regarding peacock feathers and ill luck in the theatre surrounds the usage of peacock feathers in costumes, sets, or props, since numerous terrible incidents have purportedly occurred during performances where they were present.
However, in India and China, the peacock is revered. It is thought that the spiritual healing energy contained in the beautiful plume of feathers brings about harmony and equilibrium. The peacock is also a sign of immortality, and its feathers, which are naturally replaced each year, represent rejuvenation.
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