Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
In the spirit of the holiday, I decided to learn a little more about legends of good luck connected to the Irish and Ireland. In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit thinking that this research would be quick and easy, and lead to simple definitions. I was out of luck there! But, it was fun in spite of the findings (and a good reminder about assumptions).
Shamrocks, four-leaf clovers, and the Luck of the Irish
For instance, many people believe that the saying “Luck of the Irish” refers to an abundance of fortune enjoyed by the peoples of Ireland. In fact, historians cannot agree on where the saying originated, much less what it means. The first of the two most common theories suggests the saying is a somewhat derogatory one, actually meaning bad luck. After 1,000 years of strife and famine in Ireland, I’m not surprised at this conclusion. However, it seems that the second of the most common theories is that the saying is an American one, originating during the gold and silver rushes of 19th century America. It turns out that a number of the most successful and/or famous miners were either Irish or Irish-American, and thus possessing high quantities of good luck.
Are Shamrocks Irish? Yes. How many leaves do they have? If you said, three, congratulations! However, if you said four, your confusion would be understandable. Most reliable sources conclude that four-leaf clovers really have nothing to do with the Irish or Ireland, but agree that it is a symbol of good luck. There are stories suggesting the Druids carried four-leaf clovers, and one version of the story of Adam and Eve suggests that Eve had a four-leaf clover with her when they left the Garden of Eden. Irish or not, the four-leaf clover is not a Shamrock. (If you love plants, there’s a lot of fascinating information regarding clover species and origins available.) Oddly, opinions on this issue are quite strong!
Personally, I don’t have anything that I carry or keep “for luck,” but I love the idea of good luck charms. I definitely check my clover patches for the four-leafed ones! Do you have a lucky charm?
Have a wonderful, and good-luck filled St. Patrick’s Day!