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What is a hamsa hand?

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Quick Answer

The hamsa hand is an ancient symbol of protection popular throughout the Middle East and Africa. It resembles an open palm, with three long fingers and two shorter ones to represent the thumb and little finger. Some depictions have an open eye depicted in the center of the palm.

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Full Answer

The hamsa is popularly considered a ward against the evil eye or other curses. The name is believed to be a reference to the five fingers, and it is derived from the Hebrew or Arabic word for it. The hamsa is also sometimes called the hand of Miriam in Jewish tradition, the hand of Fatima in Islam or the hand of Mary in Christianity. Although it is popular in all three faiths, the symbol predates them, and it is also used by people of various other religions.

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