February 14, 2013

Sign of the Horns (or Devil's Horns)

The sign of the horns or the devil's horns is a gesture that metalheads usually do. Especially in concerts we do it by thousands. Why we do that?...

What does it mean? Are we signifying our allegiance to Satan? Are we possesed? Are we superstitious? We do it because others do it? Or is it because it's cool? Is it the actual natural position of our fingers? What does it really mean??? 

First of all we should not confuse this gesture with the ILY (I Love You) gesture of the sign language (For the deaf). In the right version of the sign of the horns the thumb is toward the palm rather than thumb extended, the extended thumb version is actually the "I Love You" sign.
I Love You dude!!

In fact the sign of the horns is a gesture of various meanings in varius cultures. When confronted with unfortunate events, or simply when these are mentioned, the sign of the horns may be given to ward off bad luck. It is a more vulgar equivalent of knocking on wood. One can also touch iron or touch one's nose (Imagine if we did that last one in concerts!!). Males in some countries may grab their testicles (!), which is considered very vulgar. All of these gestures are meant to conjure supernatural protection. However, the sign of horns is used in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay as an insult to imply that a man has an unfaithful wife...

Religious people believe the sign of the horns is a way to show our allegiance to Satan. The reason is that this sign was adopted in the late 1960s by the founder of the Church of Satan Anton LaVey, so this religion's follower's made that sign too.
A random Texan guy.
The sign of the horns has yet another meaning in America: it’s the “Hook ‘em Horns” slogan and hand signal of The University of Texas at Austin (UTA). 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 a very common gesture in Texas (Texas Longhorn sign) and Texans usually do it.
Ronnie James Dio was known for popularizing the sign of the horns in heavy metal. He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in the Italian culture as malocchio). Dio began using the sign soon after joining (1979) the metal band Black Sabbath. 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.
Ronnie James Dio
It has been written that Gene Simmons of Kiss was the first to introduce the sign in rock music. On the other hand, as Dio has stated, this may be true as Gene Simmons has invented many other things, like breathing and shoes...(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxQpGu-ZgtY).

Dio has also stated on 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."
The metal submarine...
It is believed that the first time the sign of the horns appeared in rock music was in the late 60's by John Lennon. He is also appearing in a photo on a cover of a single of Beatles doing the sign in 1966 ("Yellow Submarine-Eleanor Rigby" single).
In the end it is maybe just coincidence that this gesture is a very common gesture of metal fans across the world. Moreover, besides what some may think, it is highly unlikely that you will call Satan this way.

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