What are the Origins of the Superstition of the Four-Leaf Clover?
The four-leaf clover is well known for being a symbol of luck. The question though is, what is the origin of the superstition of this clover as a good-luck symbol? Let’s outline the clover a bit more and then delve into the past to explain how its associated symbols came to be.
Symbolism and the Four-Leaf Clover
The Four-Leaf Clover Definition
The special green clover comes from a plant called White Clover. While some people insist it does exist, it certainly does. They may have doubts because there are photos online of fake ones, and people even try to sell fakes. The real ones are also called Trifolium repens. An easy way to characterize the plants and tell they are real is they have three leaves of the same size and the fourth leaf is a bit smaller than the rest.
There are a few superstitions for the four-leaf clover. For example, it is viewed by many people as a symbol of luck or good fortune. Also, if someone comes across one of the plants, it is seen to mean that person will soon meet his or her soul mate.
So, just how did these superstitions get in place?
The Link to Adam and Eve
Legend of the Four-Leaf Clover
The superstitions associated with the plant have existed for many centuries. The ideas can be traced back to the Garden of Eve. The legend holds that Eve carried a four-leaf clover in the Garden. As per the legend, she left the garden with the item, and so it contains a bit of utopia.
In addition, the clover with four leaves was highly prized by early cultures. The Druids, for example, thought it has a magical plant. They believed it brought love to all who came across it and holding the item kept bad luck a long distance away. That was their thinking in Ireland, where they also thought that holding a shamrock or three-leaf clover would keep evil spirits away.
Then, in the Middle Ages, kids thought that if they held four-leaf clovers they could see spirits. They thought, in particular, they would see fairies. And so, the plant was one that people sought out and smiled at when they found them! After all, it was only if you held it that you were fortunate enough to see the mystical beings, according to the folklore.
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Occurrence of the Four Leaves and Superstitions
Part of what has strengthened the superstitions, likely, is that they are not overly common. In fact, the four-leaf clover is so rare that the odds of finding it are only 1 in 10,000! So it certainly is a form of luck when one is found, when looking at those small odds. Talk about unique!
With that being said, it IS easier to find than a five-leaf clover. For a five-leaf version, there is only about 1 in 1,000,000 chance that you will find one. Well then it’s no wonder then that this writer has not been able to find one. Of course, the version with three leaves is more common than five or four. The three-leaf plant is also called a shamrock; it is quite commonly used as a symbol on St. Patrick’s Day.
Luck and Clover
The superstition of the four-leaf clover dates back centuries, right back to Adam and Eve. It’s not easy to find one either, so it certainly would be lucky to hold it. As for finding one’s soul mate by holding the plant, there may be some more research needed on that point, though you’d have to find enough of the green items to even hold the research study! Regardless, the superstitions are interesting and do provide hope for good fortune.
©2014 Christy Birmingham
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