With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, luck is in the air and you can keep it there with a few international lucky charms. While the kids scan the yard for four-leaf clovers, peruse this list for a new token to add to your home or wallet for good luck.
Beginning with the most seasonally appropriate, Celtic priests in Ireland once believed clovers could protect them from evil spirits by warning the priests when evil was approaching. The four leaves symbolize faith, luck, hope and love and, in working together, the clovers are believed to ward off jinxes and have become an icon of good luck.
Something to add to the kid’s bedroom, the dream catcher is a protection device originating from the Chippewa tribe. Chippewa, also known as the Ojibway people, would weave sinew threads in a web design around a round, bent branch or in a teardrop formation. The dream catchers would eventually become more aesthetically pleasing with thin leather wrapped around the edges and the addition of beads — all to catch nightmares from making their way into children’s dreams.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the cornicello — meaning little horn — protects those wearing it from the evil eye. Once carved from coral, the cornicello resembles an elegant animal horn and can be found in nearly any Italian neighborhood store in the country. Wear one as a necklace for good luck and protection or keep it in you wallet as a charm for positivity.
One easy good luck charm you can pick up anywhere is an acorn. From English folklore, the acorn was once believed to help witches communicate where was safe to travel in the forest, but today, the acorn is more commonly believed to possess magical powers by exuding health, healing powers and protection from illness.
You may see worry dolls in flea markets and shops around the country, but they actually originated in Guatemala. The small dolls — typically wrapped in colorful string — fit in the palm of your hand and are used to absorb anxiety, troubles and worry. Simply hold onto the doll before bed and whatever worries you have will go into the doll and leave you a good nights’ sleep.
From the Middle East and Israel comes another excuse for jewelry with a Hamsa necklace or bracelet. The Hamsa Hand, or Khamsa, is found in both Muslim and Jewish traditions as a token of good luck and protects wearers from negative energy. The intricately designed hand can be worn upside down or reverse and releases positivity on the wearer.
One charm that takes some doing is a scale from a carp. This Polish, Slovakian and generally Eastern European belief is the scales from the carp fish, eaten for Christmas dinner, provide good luck for the year to follow — it’s the collecting them that can be difficult. According to historic tradition, families leave the carp swimming in their bathtub until the big feast and collect the scales as keepsakes for good fortune.
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