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Do You Believe in Luck?

Updated on January 24, 2013

What Is Luck?

Do you believe in fate, fortune and good luck? Or do you believe in coincidence and things happening through accident whether good or bad.

When something good happens it is said to be lucky. It could be winning the lottery or wishing for something to come true. No matter how big or how small, we all experience this 'good luck' at some point in our lives. We just have to be aware of it.

Superstitions, Old Wives Tales, Rituals, Omens, Proverbs and Prophecy

If you are superstitious you may carry out rituals or routines known from folklore or as 'old wives tales'. These rituals or beliefs are passed down from generations to encourage good behaviour or to bring good luck. Old wives tales are usually myths but are so well known and many people believe there is some truth to them. However, some ideas do not have scientific links. Going outside with wet hair is said to lead to a cold. It seems plausible but we know that a cold is a virus which is passed on, and not developed from actually being cold.

There are many superstitions that people believe in today. These are all linked to doing things to avoid or bring on good luck - something good which will happen to us. So, if we happen to see a Magpie before lunchtime we will have bad luck for the rest of the day. Or if we walk under a ladder bad luck will strike, and a broken mirror brings seven years bad luck. The list of superstitions is endless, but most of us don't even know where they originate from, let alone why they would cause so much damage.

Different cultures have different beliefs which may be traditional or have religious links. They may bring people together or bring joy. A good example would be letting off Chinese Lanterns as a sign of good fortune in China. It is part of a celebration carried out at New Year.

If you believe hard enough in something then maybe it could happen, but is there a link between science and fate? Something may be considered lucky, but what if you weren't aware that it is? Will it still bring good luck? It is said that the number thirteen is unlucky, and every Friday the thirteenth brings bad luck. But if you were out driving that day and crashed your car thinking about what day it is, would it be down to panic and anxiety of it actually happening, or fate?

I could have a really good day today. Nice things could happen, or I may just avoid dropping things on the floor or tripping over the pavement. Is it down to luck that I didn't break my arm, or smash my best plate? I may not even know that the sidewalk was uneven.

Perhaps luck is down to what you want to believe, and it really is just a coincidence. But we still wish our friends good luck before an exam, or cross our fingers before tossing a pancake. Whether we believe in it or not, it still would be rude not to tell you best friend to 'break a leg' before an important event now, wouldn't it?

Magpie Rhyme











Examples and Reasons for Superstitions

Throughout history rituals and superstitions have been followed, although it is unclear where some originate from. Some come from more than one idea, but here are some thoughts:

Finding a Four Leafed clover is lucky

In Irish tradition, the shamrock of a three leafed clover represents the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The forth leaf represents God's Grace

Breaking a mirror will bring you seven years bad luck

Mirrors were first created by the Romans. Along with the Greeks, Chinese, Indian and African cultures, the Romans believed a broken mirror currupted the soul

A bride on her wedding day must wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue

  • Something old represents good friends. An old garter given to the bride by a happily married woman brings luck.
  • Something new is a symbol for a prosperous marriage
  • Something borrowed is an item lent by a member of the family. If it is returned, good luck comes
  • Something blue originates from ancient Isreal and represents fidelity

Never place a new pair of shoes on the table

This could bring family arguments or death in the family. Shoes were affixed by hobnails, and placing new shoes on a table could risk scratching it

A peacock plume is unlucky

Having a peacock plume in your house brings in the 'evil eye' associated with demons. The feather has eye markings similar to this

An itchy palm means good fortune

A right itchy palm means money will come your way, but if you scratch it, it will prevent it coming. An itchy left palm however means the opposite

Cold hands, warm heart

As an old English proverb, a reserved exterior of a person will disguise kindness

Deaths come in three's

The 'Law of Three's' come from the Holy trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit)

If a bird flies into your room, a death would occur

There are many superstitions surrounding birds. Birds were associated with the spirits with mystical powers. If one entered the house, a death would come days later. If a bird tapped on the window of a house with a sick person, this was also a bad omen

A pregnant woman must not attend a funeral

In Jewish tradition, the evil eye (ayin hara) will harm you if you are happy. Pregnant women were warned to keep away from cemeteries

Friday the 13th is an unlucky day

Christ was said to be crucified on a Friday and there were 13 guests at the Last Supper. The 13th guest was Judas, the traitor

Knock on wood

In England it was once believed sanctuary could be found in church, even for a robber or murderer. Knocking on the wooden door of the chruch allowed them to enter


Do you believe in folklore and superstition?

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    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      As today is Friday the 13th I am glad I have done my research before stepping out of the house!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Superstition can be quite irrational in some people, but when looking at the origins in some superstitions, I found it very interesting. Some had more than one meaning from very unrelated places, but most had religious connotations. Some meanings were unexplained, but it is a fascinating subject.

    • waes-hael profile image

      waes-hael 6 years ago from The Netherlands

      Interesting. I believe in both fate and destiny. Fate cannot be changed, destiny can be created.

      It's also true to say that people who seem to be lucky are usually the ones who dream BIG and take action. Superstition can often be an excuse for those whom resist change.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Ah yes, there is a black cat that comes into my house (pictured). I love cats, but things aren't going my way at the moment.... ;)

    • Zabbella profile image

      Zabbella 6 years ago from NJ-USA

      Good Hub. Yes we do say "Good Luck" and sometimes we even say "Knock on wood" I don't walk under a ladder because I think it is just common sense.

      As for a black friend has a black cat and she really crosses my path a lot! (hmmm could be why I'm not lucky?)

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      We all tend to use the phrase 'good luck' without really thinking about it. Some people believe in fate or superstition, but I too am skeptical.

    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 6 years ago from Sacramento

      I don't really believe in random luck. I think you reap what you sow and if you're "lucky" it's because you happened to be doing the right thing at the right time.

      "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca

    • itsmonkeyboy profile image

      itsmonkeyboy 6 years ago from London, UK

      I'm not a great believer in luck myself, and i'm really keen on science to explain most 'random' situations. You've written a nice hub on chance and luck and covered areas informatively. Your hubs are as impressive as always.