What’s the Deal with Albanian Teddy Bears?

When researching an upcoming trip to Eastern Europe, I ran across an interesting thread in Lonely Planet’s travel forum, Thorn Tree, called “Albanian teddy bears.” It reads:

“Anyone know why Albanians hang teddy bears from the rooves [sic] of their houses? It seems to be all over the place!”

There were only two responses to the message, none of which had the answer. Both, however, shared conflicting personal experiences. “I was in Albania in May and didn’t see any teddy bears,” one response read. Another replied, “I was there also in May and June and teddies were all over the place and in every town or village i went to, although more in towns.”

So what’s the deal? I figured I’d throw the question out to Gadling readers since they’re so freakishly good at pinpointing the location of even the remotest destinations in our Where on Earth? feature. Surely someone out there knows the answer to one of life’s great mysteries: The Albanian Teddy Bear. And don’t call me Surely.

Update: That was quick! In the comments, Gadling reader AT found this nugget of information: “These things are called “dordolec” (pronounced “dordolets”) and are apparently to ward off the evil eye. There have been quite a number of anthropological studies of the evil eye, but none of those I have seen mention this custom, and I was curious to know whether it, like religion, had been suppressed by the Hoxha regime, and if there is anything similar in neighbouring countries.” A subsequnt Google search for “dordolec + evil eye” confirms this theory. Thanks, AT!