Lemon and green chili peppers strings caught my eye today as I walked around Old Delhi. They were a common fixture on doorways. Turns out these strings are akin to the blue bead in Lebanon and surrounding countries. They are believed to chase away the evil eye-specifically in this case, that of Alakshmi, sister of Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of fortune. Alakshmi likes sour and hot foods..The lemon and chilies on the string are her first victim. Her hunger satisfied, she leaves before even entering the place and before casting her malevolent spell.
To keep Alakshmi away during Hindu festivals, sour dishes are replaced with a sweet one, which she does not like. As the saying goes, "I am not superstitious, but why take chances." I will be having nice sweet dishes more frequently and hanging up my lemon and chili peppers string. And may only benevolence come my way... and yours.