Have you ever thought about how an inanimate object or animals can hold something like luck? Here are the historical stories behind some of the most popular good luck charms:
Horseshoes. The practice of hanging up horseshoes came from Saint Dunstan, a historical blacksmith who was commanded by the Devil to put horseshoes on his horse. Instead Dunstan, not wanting to obey the Devil, nailed the horseshoe to the Devil’s foot instead. The Devil was in so much pain, but Dunstan did nothing to remove the horseshoe, thus relieving the Devil’s pain. The Devil then declared that he would never enter a home or building with a horseshoe hanging over the front door. Therefore, you see some people hanging horseshoes over their doors.
Four-leaf clovers. There are various reasons why these unique plants are deemed as fortunate. For one, their rarity makes them more valuable (almost one in 10,000!). These are an old Irish symbol of luck that led the Celts to believe that they could see fairies and avoid any mischief that those fairies brought. The mischievous acts of these fairies were thought to be a source of bad luck. Also, the four leaves were believed to represent faith, love, hope, and luck. Other beliefs claim that the four leaves represented fame, wealth, health, and faithful love.
Elephants are quite admirable creatures. They are highly intelligent with a great memory, capable of showing compassion and expressing grief, and are great at using tools. Why do they carry a reputation of good fortune? Elephants are known to represent strength, power, wisdom, and stability. Many cultures, especially Asian, practice placing small elephant statues or pictures next to the front door of their homes to bring good luck into the house. Also, many Asian business owners place elephant statues near the office entrance to provide stability and wisdom for the company and to attract success. Lastly, some people place two small elephant statues in the entrance hall of their home to bring longevity, success, and knowledge throughout the household.
Lucky dice became popularized during World War II where fighter pilots would go on missions with narrow odds of returning home. To increase their chances of a safe mission and return, they would bring lucky charms along with them on their flight, such as cards and dice. From this era, fuzzy dice were marketed in the late 1950s by hanging them on rearview mirrors and became a fuzzy fad. Dice also became a symbol of luck due to the amount of dice rolled in a game of chance. Maybe one may win by rolling a lucky 7…!
The number 7 has always held special meanings throughout history. It has always been associated with luck, perfection, completion, and knowledge. There are several good occurrences when this number uniquely shows up: seven days in a week; seven colors in a rainbow; and seven being the winning roll when playing with dice.
Ladybug. These adorable insects have been looked upon as lucky over the years by many different cultures. Some cultures claim that if a ladybug lands on your hand without you brushing it off, it will bring good fortune in your life. Other cultures say that if a ladybug is spotted by both a man and woman at the same time, they will fall in love! Belgians believed if a ladybug crawled across a single woman’s hand, she would get married soon. Farmers also saw ladybugs as a sign of fortune when they were spotted crawling over their crops, because that meant a plentiful harvest was on its way. It is also believed that the deeper their color is, and the more spots they have, the more luck they will bring!
Whether you believe in lucky charms or not, it’s always enjoyable and enlightening to plow the ground and explore the seeds that brought forth these beliefs. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!