Do you have a lucky object? It might be some item tinged with nostalgia gifted by a relative. Maybe something with the blessing of a celebrity or famous superstar. It could just be a pair of pants that are worn on Saturday afternoon causing your football team to yet again secure another win. For the more superstitious among us the importance of these objects cannot be understated. If the object is lost or forgotten we might fear the worst for the upcoming event when luck is so badly needed.
Maybe you think it’s all mumbo-jumbo nonsense? Maybe the belief in something is more important that the thing itself?
From the mundane to the ridiculous, here are some lucky charms from around the globe.
Lucky Four-Leaf Clover Charms
Probably one of the most famous symbols of luck. Look hard enough and you might one in a big patch of clover. The idea of clover being lucky seems to have its roots in Irish history. Popping into sight as Spring breaks signifies the rebirth of land after the cold of Winter. So, while clover alone was symbol of good times, the 4 leaf version was considered a truly great icon.
It pops up all over Irish history in art and stories. It’s potential uses include giving the wearer the ability to see fairies going about their business, to fend off evil witches and maybe assist you in finding your future partner in marriage.
Do you know of a big patch of clover near you? If so, maybe you should take a wander down on a nice Spring day. A recent study showed that 1 in just over 5000 clovers should be of the 4-leaf variety! Not such bad odds.
It you are lucky enough to find a 4 leaf clover you could look at preserving the leaf to keep hold of that lucky streak. You can use glycerine on that clover and make sure that you are never without that extra bit of fortitude.
Lucky Horseshoe Charms
Another symbol of good fortune whose story seems to start in Irish folk culture.
A story was once told in which a devil or demon came to visit a lowly blacksmith. A bargain was struck involving the fact that whilst a horseshoe was fitted above the door into the house that the devil would never visit again. Later the fabled protection story was extended to stopping Witches too.
The horseshoe is such an enduring, almost universal symbol of luck. The shape brings with the idea of it holding good fortune within it, it being unable to escape and fall out of the bottom. Iron being a fireproof material also gave the shoe an air of magic in past ages.
Maneki-Neko ( The Waving Cat Things! ) in Japan
You may have seen these cute little sitting creatures in shop windows or peering out the back window of a car. A Japanese creation, looking like something from a Saturday morning kids cartoon. Maneki Neko literally translates to Fortune Cat.
It’s origins seem to come from a story told in the 17th century. A wealthy business man dived under a tree to escape a torrential rainstorm. While he recovered and tried to dry himself he noticed a white cat appearing to get his attention from a nearby temple entrance. Intrigued, he left the cover of the tree to see what the cat wanted. As he got the temple entrance there was a ear-splitting crack behind him and he turned to see his previously employed rain shelter smashed and broken from a direct lightening strike.
The business man supported and donated to the temple for the rest of his life. Upon his death a statue of the cat was built on the temple grounds.
Lucky Number Seven Charms
Why is this number considered to be the luckiest? When asked for their favourite number 7 is leagues ahead of the rest in the UK. Nearly twice as many people pick 7 over the next nearest number. The number seven has a large religious significance in a number of religions and in life generally.
There are 7 colours in the rainbow, seven seas and continents, the earth in the bible took 7 days to create ( including the rest day ) and there are 7 days in the week. In history it was believed there were 7 planets – even now we know this not to the case the legacy of the number is bigger than newly discovered facts.
Acorns as Lucky Symbols
Originally stemming from the power, good health and long life of the mighty oak tree. The idea that a strong creation could come from such small beginnings is a concept that finds itself in stories all over the world. Retaining an acorn is said to infer all the strengths of the oak tree to the person carrying it. Protection against illness, a long life and a resistance to the aches and pains of old age. Also, in Norse culture it was thought that Thor and his lightning gave special power to these trees, often hit due to their size! Acorns, therefore, must hold some of this power.
Not far from Make A Smile headquarters is a living memory of the power in acorns. Out through Suffolk and up-to the coast in the sleepy village of Aldeburgh is a Lifeboat ship that goes out to do its work containing a box of varnished acorns blessing its journey. In 1899 the lifeboat launched into some awful Winter weather. Hit by a succession of waves it was capsized not far from shore. Lifeboat-men tried to escape the waves and the upturned boat by swimming back to shore. Some became trapped under the boat as it got driven by the waves up the beach. Only when the tide had receded did it become clear that 6 had drowned under there. One of the survivors attributed his lucky escape to 3 acorns in his pocket.
Those acorns are current varnished, box and in a safe place in the currently active lifeboat at Aldeburgh.
The Humble Pig
Pigs seem to have associations with luck all over the world.
A symbol of wealth and fertility, maybe due to the fact that pig farmers are never short of something to eat and that pig litters are often sizeable! Pigs were indeed a prized item to have in history so therefore became associated with all the good things that come with excess money.
Heavily intertwined in the culture of Europe there are phrases in German, Norweigan, Swedish and Irish that all involve the concept of a “lucky pig”. Look out for marzipan pigs in Christmas markets sold along side mulled hot drinks.
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