Protect your phone from the evil eye: New Hamsa emoji announced

The hamsa is commonly used in accessories, jewelry and art throughout the Middle East.

Collection de Khamsa (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Collection de Khamsa
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A new hamsa emoji was announced as part of the new 14.0 Unicode update, expected to be released either in late 2021 or early 2022.

Hamsa, literally "five" in Arabic to represent the five fingers, is a palm-shaped symbol important in many Middle Eastern cultures and religions.

Also called The Hand of Fatima in Muslim culture or the Hand of Miriam in Jewish culture, the hamsa is commonly used in accessories, jewelry and art throughout the Middle East.

The hamsa is believed to provide defense against the evil eye, which also has an emoji of its own. The evil eye is sometimes depicted within the hamsa at the center of the palm. Evidence of Jews using the hamsa can be dated back to medieval Spain

Several celebrities have been seen wearing jewelry associated with the hamsa in recent years. In 2014, a photo of Jay-Z wearing a hamsa chain around his neck to an NBA game.

LeBron James (left) talks with Jay Z (right) during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. (credit: REUTERS)LeBron James (left) talks with Jay Z (right) during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. (credit: REUTERS)

Britney Spears, who has recently been freed from her father's conservatorship, posted a photo to Instagram showing her Star of David hamsa necklace in 2020.

New emojis are decided upon by the Unicode Technical Committee, whose nine members meet quarterly to decide which smiley faces will be added to the next emoji update.

The nine members include representatives from Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Netflix, SAP SE and the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of Oman.