Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mekka-lekka-hi, Mekka-hiney-ho

This magic phrase was popularized by the children’s television series Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1986): “One of Pee-wee’s visiting pals to pop into the Playhouse was in the form of a genie—a disembodied, turban-topped talking head named Jambi. Always a jokester, Jambi swiveled his head and worked his magic much to Pee-wee’s rapture; he granted wishes if Pee-wee chanted along with him (‘mecca-lecka-hi, mecca-hiney-ho’)” (Stephen Cox, Dreaming of Jeannie, 2000).

Here are some examples of Mekka-lekka-hi, Mekka-hiney-ho in literature:
“It might as well have been Abracadabra, hocus pocus, or meka-leka-hi, meka-hiney-ho. It was a magical incantation in the language of the gods.” —Carlos Eire, Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy (2003)

“A massive frozen glass door stood in my way, which I opened with ease, by repeating the chant ‘Mecca lecka hai, mecca heiney ho,’ and using the handle.” — (2004)

“We’d let those kids know that they’re loved and valuable, and deserving of healing. ‘Mekka Lekka Hi, Mekka Lekka Hiney Ho. Fear be gone when we say ‘go.’” —Naomi Judd, Naomi’s Breakthrough Guide (2004)


Anonymous said...

As a UK citizen I'd never heard this expression before but a friend on Facebook posted it so I Googled it and up came your fine site - glad to be following!

Eccentric Scholar said...

Welcome, Ade! Glad to share my passion for magic words!

steven laughs said...

I heard it on PeeWee's show, never gave it much thought, then watching the news, seen a mob of rioting Muslims in either Africa, or the middle East, chanting it in unison as they marched.

I looked it up, and read in multiple areas that it's a Muslim chant, saying something to the effect of 'lets face Mecca, get high on Hookah, and start a circle jerk'.

Lol I'm just saying what I read.

TheTruthHurts said...

It actually comes from a Jewish prayer based on Biblical Hebrew centered around the blessing and cursing of the children of Abraham from Genesis 12:3. This is at least the second time that a Biblical Jewish phrase has entered the public consciousness from a TV program. The other is when Leonard Nimoy used one hand of the two hand blessing used by the Jewish High Priest on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).