Sign of the horns

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A demonstration of the sign of the horns. Mano cornuta by-RaBoe001.jpg
A demonstration of the sign of the horns.

The sign of the horns is a hand gesture with a variety of meanings and uses in various cultures. It is formed by extending the index and little fingers while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb.

Hand extremity at the end of an arm or forelimb

A hand is a prehensile, multi-fingered appendage located at the end of the forearm or forelimb of primates such as humans, chimpanzees, monkeys, and lemurs. A few other vertebrates such as the koala are often described as having "hands" instead of paws on their front limbs. The raccoon is usually described as having "hands" though opposable thumbs are lacking.

Gesture form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication

A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication in which visible bodily actions communicate particular messages, either in place of, or in conjunction with, speech. Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body. Gestures differ from physical non-verbal communication that does not communicate specific messages, such as purely expressive displays, proxemics, or displays of joint attention. Gestures allow individuals to communicate a variety of feelings and thoughts, from contempt and hostility to approval and affection, often together with body language in addition to words when they speak. Gesticulation and speech work independently of each other, but join to provide emphasis and meaning.

Index finger finger

The index finger, is the second finger of a human hand. It is located between the first and third digits, between the thumb and the middle finger. It is usually the most dextrous and sensitive finger of the hand, though not the longest – it is shorter than the middle finger, and may be shorter or longer than the ring finger – see digit ratio.

Contents

Spiritual and superstitious meaning

In Hinduism, the hand gesture is known as the "Apana yogic mudra" [1] . In Indian classical dance forms the hand gesture symbolises the Lion [2] . In Buddhism it is seen as an apotropaic gesture very commonly used by Gautama Buddha as "Karana Mudra" which is synonymous with expulsion of demons and removal of obstacles like sickness or negative thoughts. [3]

Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, and flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.

Indian classical dance, or Shastriya Nritya, is an umbrella term for various performance arts rooted in religious Hindu musical theatre styles, whose theory and practice can be traced to the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra.

Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognised by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.

The apotropaic usage of the sign can also be seen in Italy and in other Mediterranean cultures where, when confronted with unfortunate events, or simply when these events are mentioned, the sign of the horns may be given to ward off bad luck. It is also used traditionally to counter or ward off the "evil eye" (malocchio in Italian). In Italy specifically, the gesture is known as the corna. With fingers pointing down, it is a common Mediterranean apotropaic gesture, by which people seek protection in unlucky situations (it is thus a more Mediterranean equivalent of knocking on wood). Thus, for example, the President of the Italian Republic, Giovanni Leone, shocked the country when, while in Naples during an outbreak of cholera, he shook the hands of patients with one hand while with the other behind his back he superstitiously made the corna, presumably to ward off the disease or in reaction to being confronted by such misfortune. This act was well documented by the journalists and photographers who were right behind him, a fact that had escaped President Leone's mind in that moment.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi), and land area of 294,140 km2 (113,570 sq mi), and shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Evil eye Curse believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, causing many cultures to create measures against it

The evil eye is a curse or legend believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when they are unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury, while others believe it to be a kind of supernatural force that casts or reflects a malevolent gaze back-upon those who wish harm upon others. Talismans created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called "evil eyes".

Knocking on wood

Knocking on wood, also touch wood, is an apotropaic tradition of literally touching, tapping, or knocking on wood, or merely stating that one is doing or intending to do so, in order to avoid "tempting fate" after making a favorable prediction or boast, or a declaration concerning one's own death or another unfavorable situation. In some versions of the tradition, only one person, the speaker, is meant to "knock on wood".

In Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean region, the gesture must usually be performed with the fingers tilting downward to signify the warding off of bad luck; in the same region and elsewhere, the gesture may take a different, offensive and insulting meaning if it is performed with fingers upward or if directed aggressively towards someone in a swiveling motion (see section below). In Italy, one can also "touch iron" (tocca ferro) or touch one's nose to ward off bad luck. Males in Italy may also grab their testicles when confronted by bad luck; however, this is considered more vulgar.

Testicle Internal organ in the male reproductive system

Testicle or testis is the male reproductive gland or gonad in all animals, including humans. It is homologous to the female ovary. The functions of the testes are to produce both sperm and androgens, primarily testosterone. Testosterone release is controlled by the anterior pituitary luteinizing hormone; whereas sperm production is controlled both by the anterior pituitary follicle-stimulating hormone and gonadal testosterone.

In Peru one says contra (against). In the Dominican Republic the expression is zafa, said against curses known as fukú. All of these gestures are meant to conjure supernatural protection.

Peru Republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Dominican Republic country in the Caribbean

The Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of only two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area at 48,671 square kilometers (18,792 sq mi), and third by population with approximately 10,299,000 people, of whom approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.

The sign of the horns is used during religious rituals in Wicca, to invoke or represent the Horned god. [4]

Offensive gesture

In many Mediterranean and Latin countries, such as France, Brazil, Colombia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Mexico [5] [6] [7] [8] when directed towards someone and swiveled back and forth, the sign implies cuckoldry; the common words for cuckolded in Italian, Greek and Spanish are cornuto, κερατάς (keratas) and cornudo, respectively, literally meaning "horned". [9] During a European Union meeting in February 2002, then-current Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was photographed performing this gesture behind the back of Josep Piqué, the Spanish foreign minister. [10]

Contemporary use by musicians and fans

The 1969 back album cover for Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls on Mercury Records by Chicago-based psychedelic-occult rock band Coven, led by singer Jinx Dawson, pictured Coven band members giving the "sign of the horns". Starting in early 1968, Coven concerts always began and ended with Dawson giving the sign on stage.[ citation needed ]

On the cover of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine album (1969), the cartoon of John Lennon's right hand is making the sign above Paul McCartney's head. Some fans interpreted this as one of the many supposed "Paul is dead" clues. Some may think it is possible that the cartoonist misrepresented the sign for "I love you", which is very similar and more in keeping with the band's public message and image. However, the 1969 cartoon is based on many photos of John Lennon making the hand sign in 1967. One of these photos of Lennon doing the hand sign appears on the cover of a Beatles single release shortly after, making it the first time the hand sign appears on a rock release.

The sign is also used in various Disney movies. It can be seen in the medieval-style opening sequence of the 1971 British-American Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks as a goat-legged figure with a jester's cap leading a procession of outlandish looking figures, flashes the sign.

Beginning in the early 1970s, the horns were known as the "P-Funk sign" to fans of Parliament-Funkadelic. It was used by George Clinton and Bootsy Collins as the password to the Mothership, [11] a central element in Parliament's science-fiction mythology, and fans used it in return to show their enthusiasm for the band. Collins is depicted showing the P-Funk sign on the cover of his 1977 album Ahh... The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!

Frank Zappa can be seen jokingly making the gesture in the 1979 film Baby Snakes in response to the audience, commenting, "That's right, spindle twice."

In 1977, a painting of Gene Simmons (of the band KISS) exhibits the sign on the cover of Love Gun , the band's sixth studio album. Simmons still utilizes the sign, both on and off stage.

Marlon Brando makes the sign whilst singing "Luck Be a Lady" in the 1955 film Guys and Dolls , seeming to indicate it was a sign for snake eyes in the craps game he is playing for the gamblers' souls [12] .

In the 1985 film, The Breakfast Club, Richard "Dick" Vernon is the grumpy vice principal of Shermer High School and the main antagonist of the film. One of his most famous lines is, " Don't mess with the bull young man, you'll get the horns", flashing the sign of the horns while rotating his wrist.

For the 2016 Indian movie Rock On 2 , The "2" in the title is stylized with the sign of the horns, with the two extended fingers representing "2".

Heavy metal culture

Vocalist Ronnie James Dio making the sign at a Heaven and Hell concert in 2007. The gesture is quite common within heavy metal culture. Dio throwing Horns.jpg
Vocalist Ronnie James Dio making the sign at a Heaven and Hell concert in 2007. The gesture is quite common within heavy metal culture.

Ronnie James Dio was known for popularizing the sign of the horns in heavy metal. [11] [13] He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in Southern Italy as malocchio ). Dio began using the sign soon after joining the metal band Black Sabbath in 1979. The previous singer in the band, Ozzy Osbourne, was rather well known for using the "peace" sign at concerts, raising the index and middle finger in the form of a V. Dio, in an attempt to connect with the fans, wanted to similarly use a hand gesture. However, not wanting to copy Osbourne, he chose to use the sign his grandmother always made. [14] The horns became famous in metal concerts very soon after Black Sabbath's first tour with Dio. The sign would later be appropriated by heavy metal fans under the name "maloik", a corruption of the original malocchio.[ citation needed ]

Terry "Geezer" Butler of Black Sabbath can be seen "raising the horns" in a photograph taken in 1971. The photograph is included in the CD booklet of the Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970–1978 compilation album. This would indicate that there had been some association between the "horns" and heavy metal before Dio's popularization of it.

When asked if he was the one who introduced the hand gesture to metal subculture, Dio said in a 2001 interview with Metal-Rules.com:

I doubt very much if I would be the first one who ever did that. That's like saying I invented the wheel, I'm sure someone did that at some other point. I think you'd have to say that I made it fashionable. I used it so much and all the time and it had become my trademark until the Britney Spears audience decided to do it as well. So it kind of lost its meaning with that. But it was.... I was in Sabbath at the time. It was a symbol that I thought was reflective of what that band was supposed to be all about. It's NOT the devil's sign like we're here with the devil. It's an Italian thing I got from my Grandmother called the "Malocchio". It's to ward off the Evil Eye or to give the Evil Eye, depending on which way you do it. It's just a symbol but it had magical incantations and attitudes to it and I felt it worked very well with Sabbath. So I became very noted for it and then everybody else started to pick up on it and away it went. But I would never say I take credit for being the first to do it. I say because I did it so much that it became the symbol of rock and roll of some kind. [15]

Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS attempted to claim the "devil horns" hand gesture for his own. According to CBS News, "Simmons filed an application on Friday, June 16, 2017 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on the hand gesture he regularly uses during concerts and public appearances - thumb, index and pinky fingers extended, with the middle and ring fingers folded down. According to Simmons, this hand gesture was first used in commerce — by him — on Nov. 14, 1974. He is claiming the hand gesture should be trademarked for "entertainment, namely live performances by a musical artist [and] personal appearances by a musical artist." [16] Simmons abandoned this application on June 21, 2017 [17]

Electronic communication

In text-based electronic communication, the sign of the horns is represented with the \../, \m/ or |m| emoticon and sometimes with /../.

The Unicode character U+1F918 🤘 SIGN OF THE HORNS was introduced in Unicode 8.0 as an emoji, on June 17, 2015. [18] [19]

Sports culture

A fan displays the Hook 'em Horns during a Texas football game versus Arkansas. Hookemhorns.jpg
A fan displays the Hook 'em Horns during a Texas football game versus Arkansas.

Hook 'em Horns is the slogan and hand signal of the University of Texas at Austin. Students and alumni of the university employ a greeting consisting of the phrase "Hook 'em" or "Hook 'em Horns" and also use the phrase as a parting good-bye or as the closing line in a letter or story. The gesture is meant to approximate the shape of the head and horns of the UT mascot, the Texas Longhorn Bevo.

Fans of the University of South Florida Bulls use the same hand sign at their athletic events, except that the hand is turned around and facing the other way. With the middle and ring finger extending towards the person presenting the "Go Bulls" sign.

Fans of North Dakota State University Bison athletics also use a similar hand gesture, known as "Go Bison!" The pinky and index fingers are usually slightly bent, however, to mimic the shape of a bison's horns.

Fans of North Carolina State University Wolfpack athletics use a similar gesture with the middle and ring fingers moving up and down over the thumb to mimic a wolf's jaw.

Fans of University of California, Irvine Anteaters use a similar sign with the middle and ring fingers out to resemble the head of the mighty anteater.

Fans of University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack athletics use a similar sign with the middle and ring fingers out to resemble the wolf's snout.

Fans of University of Utah athletics, particularly football and gymnastics, use a gesture where the index and pinky finger are straight and parallel to each other, forming a block "U." [20]

Fans of Northwestern State University Demon athletics also use a similar hand gesture, known as "Fork 'em!" The pinky and index fingers are extended but a little more parallel to each other resembling the horns on a demon.

Arizona State University Sun Devil fans make a pitchfork sign by extending the index and middle fingers, as well as the pinky. The thumb holds down the ring finger to complete the gesture.

Fans of the Wichita State University Shockers frequently hold up their middle finger in addition to the pointer and pinky fingers as a reference to the comic sexual act.

Fans of the Grand Canyon University Antelopes use this hand gesture with a slight variation by touching the tips of the ring and middle finger with the thumb to form the shape of an antelope and its horns. Often followed by the phrase "Lopes up".

Fans of the Universidad de Chile soccer team use this gesture to represent their support for the team by forming a U-shaped hand gesture, often followed by the phrase "Grande la U".

See also

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References

  1. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rajinikanth-politics-party-symbol-apana-mudra-detoxification-purification-5007863/
  2. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rajinikanth-politics-party-symbol-apana-mudra-detoxification-purification-5007863/
  3. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rajinikanth-politics-party-symbol-apana-mudra-detoxification-purification-5007863/
  4. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham, p. 42.
  5. "Rude hand gestures of the world".
  6. "International field guide to rude hand gestures". Archived from the original on 2013-12-14.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. "Hand Gestures in Different Cultures".
  8. Lefevre, Romana (2011-10-21). Rude Hand Gestures of the World: A Guide to Offending without Words By Romana Lefevre. ISBN   9781452110172.
  9. "Hand Gestures Part Two — The Cuckold Gesture". Reading-Body-Language.co.uk.
  10. "Top 10 Worst Silvio Berlusconi Gaffes". 8 December 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2017 via content.time.com.
  11. 1 2 Appleford, Steve (September 9, 2004). "Odyssey of the Devil Horns". Los Angeles City Beat. Archived from the original on November 22, 2007. A friend arranges a meeting with Clinton. I hand him a photograph of Dio making the hand signal, and tell him this is the man (or one of them) credited with bringing it to rock. Clinton stares at the picture for a long, silent minute, breathing heavily. Another minute passes. He's never heard of Ronnie James Dio. It's the P-Funk sign, man.
  12. "Marlon Brando-Luck Be a Lady". youtube.com. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  13. "The Devil's Horns: A Rock And Roll Symbol". Ultimate-Guitar.com. September 7, 2005.
  14. Ronnie James Dio interview in the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey . In the interview he also ridicules Gene Simmons for taking credit for originating use of the sign in heavy metal, attributing the claim to Simmons' well-known egotism.
  15. "Dio - Interviewed By EvilG". Metal-Rules.com. March 9, 2001.
  16. "Gene Simmons wants to trademark "devil horns" hand gesture". CBS News. June 15, 2017.
  17. "Gene Simmons Abandons Hand Gesture Trademark Application". Forbes. June 21, 2017.
  18. "Unicode 8.0.0". unicode.org. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  19. ""Burrito," "Sign Of The Horns," and 35 other emoji approved in Unicode 8.0" . Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  20. "MUSS - Student Cheer Section for the U of U Utes - University of Utah Alumni Association | MUSS". Alumni.utah.edu. 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2012-08-13.