People use lucky charms for all sorts of reasons. From a little help winning the Jackpot on the slots to winning the Super Bowl. Here are ten of the world’s most popular lucky charms and a little bit of the history behind them…
Ten Lucky Charms and the History Behind Them
10 – Ladybird Landing on You
There is an old children’s song in Serbia “Fly, fly, ladybug, bring me the happiness” meaning “Let, let, bubamaro, donesi mi sreću”. In Serbian “sreća” meaning “good chances” as in a lottery or “happiness”, but this is about emotions not so much luck. But it seems things often change over time and as with a lot of these lucky charms the origins get lost over time.
9 – The Beckoning Cat
The Beckoning Cat is called Maneki-neko in Japan and first appeared during the later part of the Edo period in Japan. Its origins say that it was a cat that brought visitors to shops rather than good luck, the cat would “welcome” them in and in return, the shop would earn more money. Good luck I suppose in a round about way.
8 – Lucky Number 8
Now this one is down to location rather than the number 7. The word for “eight” (八 Pinyin: bā) sounds very similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth” in Chinese and while the story behind the origins are lost, the chances are good that it was grown and lost in translation rather than history as different versions of the Chinese language merged over time.
7 – Lucky Number 7
How lucky the number 7 is depends on your religion rather than your location. In the Christian religion, the number 7 is often found in the Bible and is associated with God telling people it is good. But in Budisum it is considered to be a number of death! Why not ask a friend what they think of the number and then tell them what religion they are!
6 – Pulling the Wishbone
Some people see it as a wish making tool, others as the bringer of luck. Whatever you use it for, it got its “good luck” from modern science because it was discovered to the fusion of the two clavicles which in birds is designed to strengthen the thoracic skeleton so the bird can withstand the rigours of flight. When discovered in the early 1800’s it was seen as a piece of evolutionary good luck.
5 – Four-leaf Clovers
It’s all to do with the Bible right or maybe the Irish! Well…no. The stories of a four leaf clover being lucky goes back to the days of Druids who would use them to make a spell to ward off evil spirits. It just also happens to be quite a common plant all over Ireland!
4 – Horseshoe on the Wall
This goes all the way back to the Wild West when people used to travel everywhere by horses. Often, these journeys would be long and when the shoes on your horse broke the horse would be in trouble unless you got to a Blacksmith pretty darn quick. And yes, they used to show their skill craft with a Horseshoe being upright to catch the luck inside of it to wish their own businesses well.
3 – Tortoiseshell cats
People all over the world see Tortoiseshell cats as lucky. Why? Because it is a scientific fact that on average Tortoiseshell cats live longer than any other colour! This is thought to be down to mixed genes giving them betting immunity from diseases as well as their colour helping them blend into piles of leaves and other undergrowth helping them to avoid predators!
2 – Picking Up a Penny
It is not so much picking the penny up from the side street, it is apparently only lucky if the said penny is heads up! But the origins of this are not from the side streets or floor, they are from a wedding shoe! While the saying for good luck at weddings these days goes like this: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” There is a longer part of that which goes like this: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a penny in your shoe.” Hence the penny being lucky.
1 – Carrying a Rabbit Foot
The origins of this “good” luck charm seem to come from African Hoodoo! By holding onto a rabbit’s foot in one hand the holder would have the courage and luck that a rabbit seems to have. Often in the wilds of Africa, they would witness animals like cheetahs and lions try and hunt a rabbit, only for the rabbit to get away! While we might know it is down to the fast moving and turning ability of the rabbit, at the time it might well have looked like good old fashioned luck.