The biological clock is ticking and Prince Charming is a no-show? You spent Valentine’s day with your Mom? No problem! Try one of these classic Brazilian spells (we call them simpatias) and then go shop for your wedding gown.
Buy a small statue of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of single women. Remove Baby Jesus from his arms and tell the saint you won’t return the baby unless you get a boyfriend. You can reinforce your position, keeping Anthony upside down, so he will understand you are not kidding.
If you consider yourself very ugly, choose a leaf of espada de São Jorge (a sword-like plant commonly used in Afro-Brazilian cults). Cut it into three pieces and throw them in boiling water for three hours. After the water cools down, wash your face with it, praying to Saint George and asking him to convert the “dragon” into a beauty.
Buy a new sharp knife and stick it into a banana tree on June 12th at midnight (Saint Anthony’s day is on the 13th). The liquid that will drip from the plant’s wound will form the first letter of the name of your future husband. The mother of a friend did this. She was very upset that K appeared – it is rarely used in Brazilian names. Years later she married a visiting German, Kurt.
Write the names of possible candidates in separate pieces of paper. Leave one piece blank. Fold all of them and put them in a dish full of water on June 12th at midnight . Leave the dish outside. The paper that will be fully open in the morning will show the name of your future husband. In case the blank paper is open, either you will never get married or you still don’t know your future husband. Just believe whatever is more convenient to you.
To check how many years it will take till you get married, pick someone’s wedding ring and tie it to a thread on June 12th at midnight. Put a cup on the table and hold the thread so the ring will be hanging in the middle of the cup. Ask, then, how many years you will still have to wait. The ring will begin to move like a pendulum. Each time it hits the walls of the cup represents one more year of waiting.
For a reconciliation with an estranged boyfriend, tie seven colorful ribbons to Saint Anthony’s statue. Keep the statue upside down in a dark place. Promise him you will free him as soon as you are in good terms again.
Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee that these simpatias will work for you. One of my friends, a journalist in her late thirties, took a black chicken, red ribbons and a bottle of bad champagne to a crossroads inside Vila Formosa, in São Paulo – probably the biggest cemetery in Latin America.
She made her offerings at midnight, as her candomblé spiritual guide suggested. Shortly after, she got pregnant, but never heard about the baby’s father again.
And, by the way, remember the mother of my friend? The one who married a certain Kurt after sticking a knife into a banana tree? She divorced soon after.
Brazilian born, French citizen, married to an American, Regina Scharf is the ultimate globetrotter. She graduated in Biology and Journalism from USP (Universidade de São Paulo) and has worked for Folha de S. Paulo, Gazeta Mercantil and Veja magazine as well as Radio France Internationale. Since 2004 she has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the US. She authored or co-authored several books in Portuguese on environmental issues and was honored by the 2002 Reuters-IUCN Press award for Latin America and by the 2004 Prêmio Ethos. You can read more by her at Deep Brazil – www.deepbrazil.com.