Luck is from a Dutch word, gheluc shortened to luc, means happiness or good fortune. It’s something that happens to us beyond our control (like income tax). And yet, most of us, if not all of us at one time or another, perform some little ritual to attract good fortune or protect us from the evil-eye of bad luck or misfortune. As any hockey player!
Pinch of Salt: Who hasn’t thrown a pinch of spilled salt over the left shoulder? Me? No, that must be dandruff! As everyone knows, spilling salt is bad luck, so you have to blame someone, so it might as well be that evil spirit lurking behind your left shoulder! A little salt in the eye and they’re off to spoil someone else’s day. One legend says that every grain of salt you spill is a tear you’ll shed later! Who’s keeping score I ask? I heard the legend of spilled salt years ago in no less a place than the Tower of London while looking at the British Crown Jewels. Prominent in the collection is the Exeter Salt an elaborate salt cellar shaped like a castle. It’s a priceless 18 inch high jewel encrusted salt container made in 1630. It cost £700 at the time (nearly £750,000 in today’s terms). The Exeter Salt is set with over 70 gemstones including emeralds, rubies, amethysts, sapphires and turquoises. You don’t shake this over your fries folks, you scoop it out of the front gate of the castle. Why this elaborate? Because refined salt was a rare and expensive commodity, only for the rich, so if you spilled salt in the 17th century, it was expensive and bad luck indeed. Mind you, if you owned such a salt shaker, you already had good luck by the bucketful!
Four leaf clover: It’s easy to understand why people believe finding one will bring luck. They’re difficult to find. Today many people wear amulets depicting the four-leaf clover symbol. I think that if you find one – great – but you’ve used up all your good luck in the finding of it, so forget about chasing that leprechaun to the gold pot at the end of the rainbow. Go buy a lottery ticket instead – at least you’ll contribute to a bigger pot that I might win!
Horseshoe: The luck comes from finding a horseshoe, which is rare indeed since we have so few horses around any more. It’s is a symbol of protection and longevity if you hang one open side up over your hearth or door. This position ensures that any good luck floating by will be captured. If you hang it upside down, you risk losing all the good luck to passers-by. Also be sure you use strong nails otherwise the shoe may come loose and fall on someone – which may or may not be bad luck depending on whether you like the victim or not and whether or not they are litigious (like to sue).
Rubbing Smiling Buddha’s belly is known to bring great positivity, abundance and good luck. Originating in China as Budai, the Laughing Buddha statue depicts a Chinese deity from pre-Buddhist folklore. But, hey why not? You’d be happy too if everyone rubbed your tummy for good luck.
Rabbits foot: This macabre ritual lies in believing that if you had the left hind foot of a rabbit, you had crippled a witch or the devil – if only it was so easy! I doubt there’s any evidence that carrying a dead animal part is lucky. It certainly wasn’t lucky for the furry little donor!
But do what you must. Use a lucky penny, or keep your fingers crossed, (except when you’re trying to type), avoid black cats, and when you pass the next graveyard, whistle a happy tune to let the residents know you don’t scare easily. And if any poltergeists, evil spirits, or campaigning politicians should pursue you, don’t throw salt, throw pepper! That’s nothing to sneeze at! Here’s looking atchoo kid!