Four-leaf clovers, horseshoes and rabbits feet are all considered good-luck charms. These items have long histories that help explain exactly why they are lucky. Will carrying one of these items prevent a fall, make you rich or help you find the spouse of your dreams? Who knows? But there's no denying that these items have long been considered fonts of good fortune.
The four-leaf clover has long been treasured in the Irish culture. That's because that extra leaf brings with it a strong blessing. In traditional three-leaf clovers, each leaf represents a portion of the Holy Trinity: the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. The extra leaf represents God's grace, something associated with good luck in the Irish culture. The legend of the lucky four-leaf clover is quite old. Some stories even refer to Eve carrying a four-leaf clover from the Garden of Eden as way to bring some good luck with her as she made her way into the world.
A horseshoe is considered good luck, but only if it's hung the right way. The proper way is to hang the horseshoe with its ends pointing up toward the sky. This way, the good luck floating by will naturally fall into the horseshoe. However, hanging the horseshoe upside down is said to have the opposite effect; any good luck contained in it will fall out of the horseshoe. Horseshoes have been considered lucky largely because they are made by blacksmiths. According to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, blacksmiths have long been thought to have magical powers because they work with elemental fire and iron, a metal many believe to have special powers.
The belief that a rabbit's foot is lucky stretches back as far as 600 B.C. Back then, some people believed that rabbits themselves were sacred, vessels for the spirits of men and women who had died. The European Celts revered rabbits, too, for their amazing ability to reproduce quickly. The rabbits inspired reverence for spending so much time in their underground burrows, too. The Celts took this as a sign that rabbits' bodies were inhabited by numina, underground spirits.
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