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The Hamsa Symbol

The hamsa hand or five fingered hand symbol has been an important talisman and protective symbol in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries for more than three thousand years. The word Hamsa means the number 5 in Arabic and is designated to mean the outstretched palm of the hand to ward off or deflect evil. Hamsa symbols are common in amulets and jewelry and usually include a centered eye which represents the "all seeing eye of God" to watch out for and deflect evil forces.

Hamsas can be found worn on the neck as amulets, or hung on the inner walls or outer doors of houses. In Islamic tradition, the Hamsa is also known as the "Hand of Fatima" who was the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. Jewish tradition also features this charm which relate to first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah. For this reason, the Hamsa is sometimes referred to as the "Hand of Miriam", the sister of Moses.

Hamsa charms and jewelry are made in a variety of materials ranging from glass and ceramic to precious stones and metals. Since they are considered to be a good luck symbol, they are often given as gifts, especially to girls prior to marriage and to women to ensure fertility. Hamsa pieces are also very popular for people interested in the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mysticism study that is becoming very popular with many people nowadays including Hollywood celebrities. The popular "red string" worn by Kabbalah students often contains a small Hamsa charm to give added protection against the forces of evil.

Hamsa jewelry and charms can be found in most New Age products shops, as well as in jewelry stores and via internet shopping sites.