The Weird World of Lucky Charms

lucky charms

Humans have always held certain objects to be especially lucky. The ancient Egyptians thought cats were, and when their beloved pets died they would enact full mourning rites for the deceased animal, sometimes including mummification. Many of the inhabitants of the Scottish capital Edinburgh meanwhile, think it’s good luck to rub the toe of a large statue commemorating the philosopher and firm rationalist David Hume; a supersticion the man himself would have hated. So many thousands of visitors and residents have performed this strange ritual that the toe in question has actually changed colour!

We all need a little luck on our side when we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a lottery win. Here are just a few of the peculiar lucky items which millions of people around the world might expect to help encourage their lucky numbers to come up:

Lucky underwear

Far from being the sole preserve of young men heading out into town on a mission for sexual conquest, the quirk of wearing underwear in the hopes of the garment bringing good luck is time-honoured and widespread. In Mexico, red underwear is traditionally worn on New Year’s Eve, as it is believed to bring good luck over the next twelve months. For one night of the year at least, seeing red in Mexico generally has a lot more to do with feelings of happiness than anger!


Throughout much of the western world, horseshoes hang on the walls of houses as bringers of good luck. The sailors of old would sometimes nail a horseshoe to the mast of their ship in the hopes that it would protect the vessel from storms (see the picture above!), whilst some believe that when a horseshoe is kept upright it acts as a receptacle for any good luck that just so happens to be passing by – the same people would often warn you that if the horseshoe is turned upside down all of the luck will fall out.


Horseshoes are just one example of the dazzlingly vast array of lucky items, or talismans which human beings keep in their homes or on their persons to bring good luck. You’re likely to encounter a number of strange ones in your lifetime; rabbit feet are common, as are gem stones and childhood toys. The author of this blog once met a woman in a famous take-away chain outlet who was carrying a kangaroo scrotum key fob as a lucky charm. It would seem that luck can be found in the strangest of places!