Superstitions are still with us from many cultures in our ancient past. Some of us believe in them, while others think they’re absurd. There are bad luck superstitions, like never sleeping on the 13th floor of a hotel, or walking under a ladder. However, there are people who knock on wood or cross their fingers for good luck. Some people wear symbols as a charm or amulet to bring good luck, or ward off evil. According to Whats Your-sign.com, “If our minds tell us this good luck symbol will save us from stepping into a muddy hole: the power is in the belief, not the symbol.”
Here are some more well-known good luck symbols and their meaning:
Dream Catcher: I didn’t think I had any good luck symbols in our home, then I found a dream catcher in our guest room. It was given to me and handcrafted by my daughter, Tina. It has sentimental value to me. Tina, knowing my mother raised peafowl on the farm, instead of attaching any kind of feathers, to something like a spider webs stretched over a loop, she attached peacock feathers. Dream catchers come from Native Americans who believed they could ward off evil by catching unrestful dreams.
Hex Signs: In addition to my dream catcher, I found another meaningful symbol in our home---a hex sign. It is round and in colorful paints are two doves entwined under a heart, given to us one year for Christmas, from my daughter, Kim.
It seems the Pennsylvania Dutch placed colorful “hex signs” on their barns to bring good luck and keep evil spirits away. In a booklet, called, “Hex, No!,” Alfred Shoemaker says it best of all, “I must say with absolute honesty that I have never found a single shred of evidence to substantiate any other conclusion but this: ‘hex signs’ are used but for one purpose, and to put it in the Pennsylvania Dutchman’s own words, ‘Chust for nice.’
“Horse Shoe: As a kid on the farm, I remembered Pop had a horse shoe hanging above the kitchen door.. The horse shoe ends must always be pointed upwards to keep good luck in. There is a legend, about St. Dunstan, a blacksmith, who later became an Archbishop, nailed a horse shoe on the devil’s hoof. It became so painful the devil begged for mercy, whereupon the blacksmith received the guarantee the devil wouldn’t go near any house that had a horse shoe on the door.
Lucky Pig: My sister, Gladys, when living on a farm, collected pigs, setting them on tables and floor through out her downstairs. She didn’t consider them “lucky pigs,” but it was her hobby.
Although I have yet to see anyone in America that carries a “lucky pig” charm, they were found in Germany. The expression “pig in clover,” meaning financially secure, came from the agricultural community. During the Middle Ages, pigs were a good source of income for the farmers, due to pigs being able to exist on farm produce and being able to eat the meat of a pig. Pig charms came in many forms as gifts, such as the Marzipan pigs and piggy banks due to their association with good fortune.
Wishbone: Whenever my mother cooked a chicken or a duck, we children fought to get the wishbone. We then found a partner and both of us would take an end of the wishbone and try to break it. Whoever got the longest piece made their wish.
The idea came from ancient Etruscans, who believed the hen and cock to be soothsayers. Something like an Ouija board was practiced for answers to their problems. After the divination, it was believed there was still power in the bone to make a wish, and that’s how the name “wishbone” came about. The Romans adopted this wishbone superstition, bringing it to England, and eventually to America.
Rabbit’s Foot: My cousin, from the city, came to the farm during hunting season, to hunt on Pop’s land. The rabbit’s foot, he had dangling from his key chain, always fascinated me.
Carrying a rabbit’s foot for good luck is an old tradition. The belief comes from totemism, that humans came from certain sacred animals. Some ancient peoples used parts of the sacred animal, such as the rabbit’s foot as totems, to ensure their good luck.
Penny: “Find a penny, pick it up, and all that day you’ll have good luck.” I still remember this verse, Mom said, when she found a penny. I still pick up pennies if I find them, but perhaps it’s the “shift and make do” era I came from. Actually all forms of coins had superstitions to them, but he most common is the penny.
Why lucky penny? It is believed in ancient times, coins were made of metal and that it was a gift from the gods and protected one from evil.
Rainbow: My favorite memory of Pop is sitting on the front porch glider, watching the rain. Afterwards, Pop would get up, lean over the railing, and call, “Carole, come see the rainbow!”
Rainbows are a part of many myths and cultures. In Christianity, it is seen as a covenant from God, after the flood. There is a legend about digging at the end of a rainbow, and finding a pot of gold, a symbol of good luck.
Keys: I never thought of keys as being a good luck symbol. When three are worn together, they unlock the doors of love, health, and wealth. Ancient Greeks considered one key as a symbol for knowledge. Crossing silver and gold keys means “keys to the kingdom of heaven.” If someone gives you a key, you’ll be lucky in love. The wearing of keys protects pregnant mothers. And the list goes on.
As soon as I finish typing this article, I’m going to “cross my fingers” for good luck that my readers enjoyed this article.