The sign of the horns is a hand gesture with a variety of meanings and uses in various cultures. It is most commonly used in Italy and the Mediterranean either for superstitious purposes or as an offensive gesture. It is formed by extending the index and little fingers while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb.
In Italy and some Mediterranean cultures, 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). With fingers down, it is a common apotropaic gesture, by which superstitious people seek protection in unlucky situations (It is a more Mediterranean equivalent of knocking on wood).
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