This Irish symbol is possibly the most well-known good luck charm in the world, which is somewhat odd considering the whole "luck of the Irish" thing is a bit of an oxymoron (historians say it originates from the fact that the world just seems luckier when you're inebriated).
Where the Hell Did This Come From?
The simplest reason the four-leaf clover is considered lucky is because they're so rare, with only around one in 10,000 clovers sporting four leaflets. At least they were rare, as these days there are numerous places to buy your very own four-leaf clover online. Although, if you're the type of person who thinks paying $25 for an clover on the Internet is a good idea, the problems in your life likely have little to do with luck.
"Just a few more clovers and I'll be back on top!"
The use of clover as a lucky charm dates back to pre-Christian times when Druidism was the religion of the day in Ireland. Druids, basically the hippies of the day, were sun/nature worshipers and clover tends to spread in sunny areas, possibly explaining why druids felt a connection with the plant. The four leaves also have a fairly obvious cross-like appearance, which was a revered symbol even before Christianity.
Clover is also edible and, in fact, quite nutritious. So much so that some people think it even helps fight cancer. The Irish probably considered finding a patch fortunate, if only because it was a change from all the goddamn potatoes. Oh, and the four-leaf clovers are totally the best marshmallow shape in Lucky Charms.
Now with a chocolate version, for those who don't have the time to wait to develop diabetes.
Millions of people each year buy rabbit's feet keychains and such hoping they'll bring them good luck and prosperity. While not particularly lucky for countless bunnies left dragging bloody stumps around, they're still getting a better deal than the kangaroos whose scrotums wind up as souvenirs in Australia.
Where the Hell Did This Come From?
Ever wonder how rabbits wound up among the Easter decorations? Back in the days when fertility was everything, people envied rabbits' extraordinary gift for breeding. Since there were no Discovery Channel documentaries to prove that they earned their copious offspring with a steady diet of non-stop boning, folks just assumed that rabbits were really lucky.
So rabbits became sacred, and were associated with things like childbirth. When Christianity was rolling up all the pagan symbols into their holiday iconography, they decided to stick rabbits on the holiday celebrating rebirth, since there was no stopping the adorable little bastards at just one birth.
But why is the back foot specifically lucky? Well hares, which are often confused with rabbits, are one of the very few four-legged animals whose back feet hit the ground before their front feet while running. The strange tracks hares left were enough to convince people the back foot must have magical qualities.
And in that, you can see the real root cause of all of the beliefs: The bar for convincing people something was magical back then was just set really goddanmed low.
Nathan Birch also writes the magically delicious webcomic Zoology.
For more weird shit that you thought was fake, check out The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True) and 6 MORE Creepy Urban Legends (That Happen to be True).
And did you know it's good luck to check out our Top Picks section? Because it totally is!