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Hamsa Hand Symbol – What Does It Really Mean?

Hamsa hand symbol and what it means guide

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The Hamsa Hand symbol isn’t commonly known by its name, but many people recognize it quite easily when they see it. In fact, it’s one of the most well recognized symbols that plays a significant role in many religions and cultures throughout the world.

Although the Hamsa symbol is popularly worn as a protective charm or talisman by people in all corners of the globe, its meaning and symbolism is rather confusing. Let’s take a look at this symbol and what it really means.

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What is the Hamsa Hand Symbol?

What is hamsa hand symbol

The Hamsa symbol can be depicted in many ways, but it’s most commonly portrayed as an open right hand with an eye in its center. There are two forms of the symbol:

  1. A stylized hand with two symmetrical thumbs
  2. An asymmetrical hand with the thumb and pinky finger clearly defined.

Both forms are depicted with the fingers pointing either upwards or downwards.

History of the Hamsa Hand Symbol

The Hamsa symbol is one of the oldest symbols ever to exist and can be traced back to around 1800 years ago. It’s said that the symbol originated in ancient Mesopotamia and Carthage, which we now know as Iraq and Tunisia, respectively. The Mesopotamians wore the symbol as an amulet to ward off the evil eye.

According to some sources, the Phoenicians created the Hamsa symbol and used it as a protective amulet to keep them safe from evil. This belief spread rapidly throughout other cultures and even today it’s seen as a symbol of protection from evil.

The Many Names of the Hamsa

In Hebrew, the word ‘Hamsa’ means ‘five’, whereas in Arabic the symbol is called ‘Khamsah’, also meaning the ‘five fingers of the hand’. The symbol is also known by various other names including the following:

  • Hand of Miriam – The Hamsa is known as the ‘Hand of Miriam’ in Jewish culture, named after Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses.
  • Hamesh – Another Hebrew word for ‘five’, Hamesh stands for the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet ‘Hey’, which is also one of God’s names.
  • The Hand of Mother Mary – This name for the Hamsa stemmed from Christian tradition, where the symbol was named after Jesus Christ’s mother, the Virgin Mary.
  • Hand of Fatima – In Islamic religion, the Hamsa is named after Fatima Al Zahra. She was the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad who was also the founder of Islam.

The Various Depictions of Hamsa and Their Meanings

The Hamsa symbol means different things to different people but the common belief is that it draws good fortune, health and happiness to the wearer while warding off negative vibes and evil.

Even today it’s a common belief in many cultures that if someone with evil thoughts and jealousy stares at you with their ‘evil eye’, it can bring you bad luck. The purpose of wearing the Hamsa symbol is to intercept the negative energy and protect you from harm.

Types of Hamsa hand designs
  • Hamsa Hand Facing Upwards – If the Hamsa hand symbol is depicted facing upwards, it means that you’re protected from your own negative energy as well as that of the others around you.  If it’s drawn with the fingers spread slightly apart, it’s a sign that it repels all evil that might come your way.
  • Hamsa Hand Facing Downwards – When facing downwards, the Hamsa signifies goodness and abundance. It’s a positive sign that you’re attracting good things towards you. The fingers are typically kept close together in this position, inviting all the positive energy and goodness to your life.
  • Hamsa Without the Eye – Not all variations of the Hamsa symbol contain an eye in the center of the palm. Sometimes it’s depicted without the eye and an identical pinky finger and thumb. Both fingers are exactly the same size and shape. Even if the symbol doesn’t have the eye in its center, its meaning doesn’t change. It will still provide you with protection from evil.
  • Hamsa With the Eye –When the eye is present, it means that the symbol wards off others’ evil eyes and not that it’s the evil eye itself, which is a common misconception.  

Hamsa Hand Jewelry Designs

The Hamsa Hand is an extremely popular symbol for various types of jewelry because of its reputation as a protective symbol. It’s most commonly worn as pendants, but it’s also seen on all kinds of jewelry.  Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and unique Hamsa Hand jewelry designs.

Hamsa evil eye necklace

Hamsa Evil Eye Necklace by Crystal Compass. See it here.

If you’re looking for a boho or hippie style piece of Hamsa jewelry, why not go for a necklace like this one? It’s got all the elements of the symbol and is a gorgeous talisman that will keep you safe from the evil eye.

Hamsa hand ring

Sterling Silver Hamsa Ring with Sapphire by Rk Glitter. See it here.

The Hamsa symbol also makes for unique and interesting rings that are bound to catch attention. Some rings have the hand facing sideways, with the fingers along the band since it’s more convenient and easier to stack the ring with other rings this way. Rings with the fingers pointing straight ahead take up a little more space than you might like.

Hamsa hand bracelet

Tiger Eye Hamsa Hand Bracelet by Skywater Studio. See it here.

Bracelets are another excellent way to wear the Hamsa symbol and they serve as a powerful reminder of the positive connotations associated with it. Every time you look down at your hands, you’ll remember that good fortune is coming your way and that you’re protected from the evil eye.

There are various types of Hamsa Hand bracelets, from simple to elaborate so you can choose one that would suit you best.

Hamsa hand earrings

Hamsa Earrings for Good Luck by JKCE Designs. See them here.

For a cool and trendy look, try on a pair of stylized Hamsa Hand earrings. They come in various designs, from plain to colorful and decorated. This pair features beautiful details and the colors make it easy to match it with almost any outfit in your wardrobe.

Hamsa anklet

Hamsa Anklet by Stone and Link. See it here.

Hamsa anklets are becoming quite popular, with more and more people wearing them. However, some people frown upon the idea of wearing a Hamsa anklet. To them, the idea of wearing a highly revered symbol on your foot is thought of as being disrespectful. Therefore, you might want to take culture and religion into consideration before you decide to wear one or you might risk offending people.

Hamsa nose stud ring

Rose Gold Hamsa Nose Stud Ring by BM 25 Jewelry. See it here.

A Hamsa nose stud ring is sure to attract a lot of looks and questions since it’s a unique piece of jewelry that isn’t very commonly worn. Go for a simple one like this nose stud for a minimalist look or if you want something a fancier, look for stylized pieces with extra colors and gemstones. 

Universal Meanings of the Hamsa Symbol

Aside from the many religious and cultural meanings associated with the Hamsa symbol, there are also several other meanings that are universally recognized:

  • Unity – The Hamsa is symbolic of unity, due to the fact that it’s a commonly revered symbol in all the major religions.
  • Protection – While it most likely stemmed from religious beliefs, the symbol is recognized as a symbol of protection.
  • Femininity – As the Holy hand of a woman, the Hamsa has signified femininity for centuries.  

Hamsa Meaning in Different Cultures and Religions

Hamsa hand meaning religions

The Hamsa is one of the very few symbols that are so highly significant all over the world, especially in all the main religions and many cultures. It has appeared throughout history in Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. Although the symbol is used in many religions and cultures, its meaning differs in each.

  • Buddhism and Hinduism

For Buddhists and Hindus, the Hamsa symbol signifies the chakras, the flow of energy in the body and the five senses as well as their mudras. It’s believed that each finger of the Hamsa Hand represents an element and a chakra.

  • Islam

In Islamic religion and culture, the Hamsa is strongly associated with the Prophet Muhammad as it’s considered the Hand of his daughter. It’s seen as a symbol of bravery, defense and power and is considered as a protective icon.

The meaning of the Hamsa varies for the Shi’te and Sunni sects of Islam. The Sunnis regard it as a symbol of the 5 pillars of Islam (the core beliefs and practices). For the Shi’tes it signifies the Five People of the Cloak (Prophet Muhammad, Fatimah, her husband Ali and their two children: Husayn and Hasan).

  • Christianity

Known as the Hand of the Virgin Mother Mary, the Hamsa symbol signifies blessing and fertility in Christianity. Many Christians are often confused as to whether they should wear the symbol since it’s found in many other religions, but it’s important to note that it’s not a religious symbol.

If you’re a Christian and you’re wondering whether you should or shouldn’t wear the Hamsa symbol, know that the decision is entirely up to you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing the Hamsa symbol if you want to, as long as you’re happy with your decision.

  • Judaism

The Hamsa in Judaism (or the Hand of Miriam) serves as a reminder to honor God using all of your five senses (represented by the five fingers). The hand is supposed to represent the hand of God. 

According to certain sources, the Jews regarded this symbol as a protector from the evil eye in the late 19th and 20th centuries. They believed that it was the depiction of the hand of God, reaching down to help mankind.

Can I Wear the Hamsa Hand Symbol?

Since the Hamsa is a very old symbol that carries a lot of cultural and religious significance, wearing it without knowing what it really means can be quite culturally insensitive. You could end up offending other people who revere this symbol.

If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a religious symbol and you don’t want to offend anyone, you might want to avoid the Hamsa. That being said, you can of course wear the Hamsa symbol even if it’s not a part of your religion or culture.

Because the symbol can’t be claimed by any single religious group or culture, the Hamsa hand has an air of universality about it, offering something to everyone.

Where Can I Buy Hamsa Jewelry?

If you’re looking to buy Hamsa jewelry online, we recommend searching on Etsy and Amazon. Both platforms offer a range of unique and beautiful Hamsa jewelry at a range of affordable prices.

Before you make your purchase, remember to read through the reviews to gauge the quality of the product and the retailer’s service to make sure you’re getting what you want.

Wrapping Up

Before you go ahead and purchase your Hamsa jewelry, it’s important to consider what the symbol means to you.

Wearing any symbol or any piece of jewelry is a way of expressing yourself and what’s important to you, so it’s important to choose what you feel comfortable with.  

The Hamsa symbol is one that offers something to everyone and tends to resonate with most people.