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Maljo or Mal Yeaux and Jharay or Jaray | Yuh is ah Trini!

By Published June 29, 2024

Originally posted on the blog Sokah2Soca ( as part of the "Yuh is ah Trini" cultural episodes. We bring it to our Islandvybe family for its entertainment value but more so to remind us of our cultural heritage. We hope you like this post.

This has gone on too long, and the child isn't improving. Leah's parents are at their wits' end. Baby Girl has been sick for one week; she is not eating much and vomits whenever she manages to take a mouthful or two. What is wrong? The doctors don't know what is taking place, and the problem still exists. Hello people, we can fix this! The message is clear: "Jharay de Chile has received the 'evil eye' because of her sheer cuteness!" So, who would do such a thing to a young child? Maljo is the ailment, and the remedy involves purging it with jaray ceremony. Next, inflict punishment on the person who has the evil eye!
Well, listen up... Anyone, even your next-door neighbor, can cast Mal Yeaux (pronounced Maljo in Trinbago), also known as 'the evil eye' or 'evil eye'! Ask any Trinidadian. Maljo can be blamed for any type of pain or discomfort. Maljo is thought to only affect babies in the traditional sense. If you assume that, then you are completely wrong. 
Think back to a time when you were a child growing up in Trinidad. Think really hard, because I will refer to something you have seen, forgotten, or never really thought about. Can you recall seeing blue bottles lining your neighbor's fence? They strategically placed some of the blue bottles, such as the milk of magnesia bottles, in the four corners of the lot or, as I have observed, lined the lot's boundaries. Now, why would someone go to all this trouble? Do you think it was a way to decorate, be unique, or just another way to use bottles? No, no, no, these bottles were placed there to ward off evil spirits and people who carried malicious spirits looking for an unsuspecting host—yes, the adults believed they too could become victims of Maljo! For reasons beyond my understanding, people believed that blue bottles could repel evil spirits, a feat they could also personally achieve by donning Jumbie beads. Of course, you remember Jumbie Beads; can you recall? Children played with these red and black beads from a pod, laced into bracelets to ward off evil.
OK, so what happens if you fail to take the necessary precautions and, for some reason, get the "bad eye," "mal yeaux hex," and your spirit becomes very troubled, leaving you restless and very ill? As a child growing up in Trinidad, I saw a ceremony performed to get rid of this 'spirit sickness'. The village's most skilled and experienced residents conducted a formal ceremony to resolve this issue. Typically, it was part of an East Indian ritual. The ritual known as "Jharay" served as a means to rid oneself of evil, involving deep cleaning and exorcising demons.
Now how is "Jharay done?" I had to consult with a few individuals to put this together. Each person said something different, but some commonalities stood out. The number five (5) figured prominently. We used materials and sayings in groups of five. The healing prayer suppresses the evil eye spell, compels it to depart from the individual, and incorporates it into a packet of ingredients, which either burns to eliminate the evil or returns it to its source. This ceremony, as I can recall, was mostly to purge evil from children. Trinidadians, on the other hand, use the Jharay to eradicate evil and sickness. However, we will remove the 'evil eye' that causes a child's soul to suffer!
As previously stated, an elderly East Indian woman, priest, or someone who has performed the jharay ceremony over the years (often an older, experienced nana or nani) usually does it. I read about the ceremony's use of peacock feathers. However, I can't remember seeing any feathers displayed or worn in my neighborhood. The ceremony utilizes five cocoyea leaves, which come from the branches of coconut trees. We separate the green leaf from the stalk, which serves a purpose in the ritual. The same stalk serves as the basis for making cocoyea brooms. Almost every traditional Trinidadian home uses these brooms not only to sweep the house or yard but also to ward off evil spirits, a practice common to all residents of Trinidad, not just East Indians. Once you obtain the cocoyea stalks, you'll need the following additional ingredients: Add five bird peppers (pronounced bud peppers), five cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt, and, in some cases, black pepper seeds—everything in multiples of five. Wrap the smaller ingredients in paper or cloth and pass them over the child five times in a circular motion. The same is done with cocoyea sticks. Saying the prayer during the jharay is crucial to the ceremony. The ceremony also involves five repetitions of the prayer. Traditionally, people say the prayer in Hindi, but in reality, they say it in English. The priest, or priestess, simply tells the evil spirit to return to the sender. Following this, the priest or priestess burns the ingredients used in the jharay ritual. We perform this part of the ceremony—the burning—as a last attempt to break the evil spell, but we must proceed with caution at this stage. It's important to avoid looking at the burning ingredients. In the Bible, during Lot's wife's flight from Sodom, she defied the angels' guidance and turned into a pillar of salt. Similarly, when the cocoyea sticks and other ingredients for the jharay are ready and ignited, it's crucial to avoid looking in that direction, as it could attract an evil spirit to your soul.
This concludes the Mal Yeaux and Jharay story. However, I cannot confirm the existence of Mal Yeaux (Maljo) or the effectiveness of the ritual of purging the evil eye (Jharay). In order for the Jharay to work, one has to believe Mal Yeaux (Maljo) is real. All I can say is that I witnessed the completion of the Jharay and heard the announcement that the child possessed Mal Yeaux (Maljo). This belief exists not only in Trinidad, but on various islands and countries throughout the Americas and India. South America's Spanish lands have similar beliefs; we are not alone. Just keep in mind that if modern medicine fails to identify the cause of your illness, it might be the result of a hex from someone with a "bad eye" or Mal Yeaux. Remember the cure, Jharay (Jaray)! 
After discovering what's wrong with Leah, her parents are still confused and can't decide what to do. They live in New York City rather than the Caribbean, where ingredients are readily available. I am leaving the comment section open for anyone to provide advice! 
We conclude the post with two songs for your enjoyment.

However, for those intrigued by the process of removing the evil eye, we added another video that would be of interest to those interested in the actual process.

Please be advised that the music is presented here for your listening pleasure and for promotional purposes only ("Fair Use" Musical Content Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976). No copyright infringement is intended!  We encourage you to promote the artists and their music; please don't share the music and rob the artists of needed income!
♫Please press the music player button below to listen now (small triangle in circle).
Music Video - Jaray the Remix featuring Aw Lyrical x Ki x Adrian Dutchin
Read 289 times Last modified on Thursday, 04 July 2024 11:43
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