April 19, 2011

What is luck?!

What is luck....

'baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more...'

(Ok, not the words, but good luck getting that out of your head all day!)

Luck is something that most of us might talk about on a day to day basis without giving it much thought. You might wish someone 'good luck' as they start a challenging task. You probably call someone 'lucky' as they narrowly escape an accident or find a quarter on the ground. Or you might press your own luck and buy a lottery ticket.

Some of the many, many lucky symbols (source)
The term 'luck' is something that we are surrounded by everyday. But I want to know what it really means to you.

So, what do you think 'luck' is?
(answer, but come back, there is more below! :))


 (OR you can jump here for a sec and take the poll)

The reason luck has really been on my mind lately is because of these danged ongoing hockey playoffs. We talk a lot about luck during this time of the year. The hubs will say "wish me luck" or even better "sell your soul to the devil so we can win", which is another way of him saying 'bring us luck', haha.

The people who own the restaurant down the street told us that they do a prayer and a special rosary bead ritual before every game to help the guys. I am dead serious, and so were they!

Yes, I realize this is more a religious ritual than superstitious ritual, but nonetheless, it is done to help bring luck and success to the team.

But by no means is this post about the difference or relation between religion and luck.

Not getting into that :)

Anyways, I did wanted to share a few lucky symbols and hand gestures people around the world do to help bring them good fortune.

I could go on and on about the different symbols of luck throughout the world. From Elephants in India to Pigs in Germany, there really were just too many to name.

But I did find some interesting hand gestures that people do in different countries to help bring good luck to them and others.

And no, none of them listed flipping the bird as good luck! ha.

In English speaking countries, as most of you know, the common hand gesture for luck is the two crossed fingers, usually the index and middle finger.

It is even the symbol of the national UK Lottery. Seems appropriate! 
You are going to need all the luck you can get with those odds! (source)

I always found it odd that it was both a symbol of luck and one of telling a lie or breaking a promise. You have seen it in countless cheesy movies. The villain promises to keep a secret all the while crossing his fingers behind his back.

**But here in Germany, as well as other countries in Europe (i.e. Slovakia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Poland) they do something a little different. They daumen drücken, or press their thumbs.

This is done by bending your thumb into a closed fist.

Hey, whatever will help, right?! (source)

Some Germans swear to only do one hand like this, and some do both. I really kind of like this one. When I am stressing at a game, it kind of relieves some of the pressure by pressing on the thumb!

**I came across another hand sign that's done for good luck and to ward off the evil eye. This one comes from the Italian culture.

You extend your pinkie and index finger while keeping the others folded back. Supposedly it is to ward off an evil spirit that someone has cast on you.

No, sorry University of Texas fans, they aren't supporting the Longhorns, they are doing for their luck and health.

Go UT!? No, go away evil eye! (source)

**While this next hand sign has a variety of meanings, even sexual connotations, in some parts of the modern day world, it can still be a sign of luck.

It is refereed to as The Fig, and it is formed when the hand makes a fist with the thumb between the index and middle fingers. Or, as I like to refer to it as, the "I Got Your Nose" hand sign.

Yeah, see, after saying that you know exactly what I am talking about!

Come on, everyone had a lame Uncle who would do this trick (source)

In ancient Greece and Rome it was used as a positive gesture to ward off the evil eye and promote luck and fertility. From what I have read, the symbol is still depicted in carved images in Portugal and Brazil for good luck talismans.

**And my favorite. While not exactly a hand gesture, the figurine is making a lucky gesture that is often misunderstood in the Western world.

The Maneki Neko

Well hello there! (source)

Love this cute little 'waving' kitty. Often seen in windows of Japanese restaurants, Maneki Neko is believed to bring good luck to the owner.

BUT this feline isn't waving, it is beckoning. Which is why it's name is literally "Beckoning Cat". The Japanese beckon people by holding up the hand, palm outwards, and curling the fingers repeatedly up and down. It is their version of our 'come hither' one finger curl in we do.

So the cat isn't waving to customers as they come in, but rather beckoning customers in. Hence bringing guest, money and good fortune and luck to the owner.

And he is just so darn cute while doing so!

So, while I find a way - and enough hands - to do all of the symbols at once for the game tonight, you tell me what you do to bring good luck!

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  1. Good Luck, break a leg and so on. I will keep my fingers, toes and ovaries crossed for a win! I don't have anything I do, wear or usually say for luck. I know of many who do. I think that is great for them. :)

  2. This was a great post. Luck is just that, luck.

  3. I have rarely had much luck in life, other than meeting my lady friend.

    (man I hope she reads that)

    The Simple Dude

  4. Great post! I didn't know that about the other signs of luck, particularly the thumb thing in Germany!

  5. @Bernie - haha, ovaries crossed. Hey, whatever works, right?! :)
    @Oilfeild - well said! I think it is all how you look at it. Thanks for the compliment!
    @Simple Dude - haha, want me to pass that on to her, lol. That was pretty sweet :)
    @Meg - Thanks! Glad you liked it. I know last time you said you were pretty superstitious. Maybe the thumb pressing will help ya too, haha

  6. Dear Tex,

    I'm gonna need you to sell your soul so my boys can beat the Red Wings and make it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history...

    What...? It worked for hubs' team, no?


    <3 TheYotesDiva

  7. I make luck by forcing all my facebook friends to "make something happen". I'm a benevolent dictator, really ;)

    Good LUCK to the hubby and all his sweaty man-friends!

  8. Great post! I can well identify with warding off "Malocchio"...(evil eye in Italian) and I'll admit to tweaking my actions in order to promote any good luck that's available. Have thrown a fair amount of salt over my shoulder in the past, lol.

    Have always wondered why some people are so much damn luckier than others; must be the alignment of the planets over their heads.

    Wishing all the best for the hubs and his team, will walk around my office, 3 times, in a circle, with one hand behind my back and the other holding a rabbit's foot while sending positive thoughts your way!


  9. How about the good old 4 leaf clover? I remember spending hours as a kid searching for one of those thinking that if I could just find one I'd be 'lucky'. Never did...maybe that explains a lot?

    'Good luck' with all those hand signals (while also trying to a hold a beer... now you'll need some luck to do all that at once!). Maybe you could just fashion some kind of scarf with all the signs on?! I shal be keeping fingers crossed (good old UK luck!) for the win!

  10. Honestly, had never considered if I believed in luck or not. I'm more of a break a leg person I guess.

    And if it comes down to it, I believe more in serendipity than I do in luck.

    Like, how serendipitous that I should feel generous and be open to the idea of sending you more teacakes, should you prove unable to order any cheaply online.

  11. I laugh in the face of luck. I married an Irish man, they're supposed to be known for their luck right? Luck of the Irish or whatev. Well, let me just say he is the most UNLUCKY man on the planet. If a bird poops miles away, it will land on his shoulder (maybe that's good luck?) if someones car is not going to start, it will be his, if someone is going to be picked for jury duty, it will be him. Lady Luck is not a friend of ours :)

  12. I have always been told "you make your own luck"...and if this is true, I am terrible at it. I'm really inclined to believe I have a curse of bad luck because I'd rather not believe it's my fault!

    This was a great post - it's so interesting what other people believe brings good luck around the world. :)

  13. I'm surprised about reading that that hand sign in Italy is supposed to ward off bad spirits.... because I heard that that exact sign in Italy means something very different, namely that your significant other is "putting the horns on you" which means they're cheating on you... Or am I confusing something here?

  14. I never knew that about the waving kitties- I just took a picture of one at a japanese restaurant a few weeks ago too, for the bloggy... but now I know why!
    Fun post Lindsey!

  15. When I saw you title on my reader I started singing, "don't hurt me..." and then I clicked on the post and about died laughing. Somehow I segued into, "para bailar la bamba, para bailar la bamba se necessito..." My boyfriend loves me right now. To me "luck" is a bad word. I grew up as a dancer and before a performance it is extremely bad luck to say, "good luck" so instead we say, "break a leg".

  16. I didn't know there was going to be a test today...

  17. I always rub the Buddha cat whenever I go eat sushi...there's always a shrine...

  18. I believe in luck. Oh, and in bad luck too, as bad karma. I mean, what else could explain my shitty days? ;)

  19. I'm sending Texan married to Canadian expat luck your way (I think since there are only two of us in the world -- Texan women married to Canadian men, neither of us living in the country of our birth...) that is some good luck right?

  20. Oh, I am the worst, was too exhausted last night to respond...what!? I was at the game... :)
    @A Belle - well I will wish and wish for good luck for them tonight! I don't have much soul left to sell, lol. Haha.
    @dweej - I like luck dictators! haha, too funny lady :) Thanks for the good luck wishes for the hubs and his sweaty man friends, lol.
    @Patty - I know what you mean, my mom is one of the luckiest persons I know! But I think she makes her own luck. Or maybe you are right, the stars must be aligned right, haha. THanks Patty! You are the best. Some of it must have worked last night!
    @Missy - man, weren't those the best to find!? Haha, I need about 3 extra hands for all of that, lol. That would be a good idea!
    @Mollie - good way to put it! I am a big believer in making your own luck. Haha, you are too funny! I know I can find some back at home, and I am afraid if you send some, I might not be here to get them. But have I told you how awesome you are lately?! :)
    @An Irish - haha, he got none of that, huh?! Too funny! I would stay away from him (especially if outside, I don't want any bird poop splatter, lol).
    @Jessi - haha, yeah, I guess at times that saying is a cop out. Maybe that is a better way to look at it. Thank you!
    @Sabrina - really?!? I will have to double check that! I had never seen it before, but I found a couple of sources online saying it was to ward off evil. Thanks for the heads up!

  21. And once more:)
    @Meri - Thanks Meri! I didn't know about them either. I really do love them, they are too cute :)
    @Jordan - were we meant to be friends, ummm I think soo!! Too funny! Hey, great minds things alike. I never used break a leg, but was never a dancer or on stage. Hey, whatever works, right!?
    @Not - sorry, you can come back tomorrow for the re-take ;)
    @Marcy - haha, the kitty is the best! Maybe he is bringing you luck
    @Katherina - TOTALLY believe in Karma too! I am sorry you have been having shitty days!
    @April - well thanks!
    @TexPat - ummmm, only 2 of in the world for sure. Only 2 of us cool enough! haha. Thanks for the well wishes!!

  22. I am loving this one this morning-and apparently slow on the up keep! Maybe your post of good luck brought good luck...redundant love ya know!

    Waiving kitties always seem so peaceful and bring out the smile-who knew. I believe in luck but I also think that whatever is meant to be will be and some of the smaller things may be the lucky bits tossed in the mix. Does that even make sense?? There's zero coffee in the pot yet.

  23. Hawaiians have all kinds of superstitions and luck type omens. Doesn't hurt, I say.

  24. I don't believe in luck at all but it definitely infiltrates my daily life. I have tons of little things I do for good luck or superstitions I have about bad luck.

    Maybe I do believe in it...

    Luck is kind of like a fairytale to me.

  25. Love all the fun facts!

    I've passed along the Kreativ Blogger Award to you! Check out my blog for details :)

  26. @Morgan - hey, what ever works. I will take the double shot of luck. And yes, made sense. You are better than me. If I am without coffee and trying to type, well, let's just say it isn't pretty :)
    @Tanya - exactly!! Doesn't hurt :)
    @Hannah - Might sound like you do a bit. Hey, I don't think it hurts at all :)
    @Traveling Wife - well thanks and thanks! Jumping over to check it out right now!!

  27. Hey if you don't have all this luck you are (replace the l with an F). Crude, I know. I like the cat luck!!! Go Capitals!

  28. I loved this post! I'm Irish so I believe in luck for sure...but then again, I also believe in making your own luck. Love the "got your nose" gesture...ha! Oh, and I have about a dozen maneki nekos in my home and office. LOVE them.

  29. I started singing that song when I saw the post title then started laughing that you had done the same thing there haha.

  30. A little too late I am! I have been such a snail in catching up with blogs :( The good part is that I need a new Frackin' Friday word and I am looking forward to the next FF post!

    During the cricket world cup there are huge ceremonies of 50-100 priests lining up and praying for the teams, it's quite the sight!! But yes I do always cross my fingers for luck. Now I know a few more ways to bring in luck :P How about the Laughing Buddha?

  31. Very interesting post, I might copy/paste it into my blog hehehe.
    I think that you have to make your own luck by working hard, resorting to luck it looks like a cheap way of getting things done.

  32. @Copyboy - seriously, maybe there is a good reason they are only one letter apart from each other. I'll cheer for the Caps!
    @Katie - well thanks! I think it is a good mixture of both. Too cute you have all of them around!
    @Lesley - YES!! You and another blogger said the same thing. I said great minds think alike, haha
    @Apfel - Oh, one will be coming at you tomorrow :) That is awesome about the priests during the cricket world cup! I like the laughing Buddha too. So cute!
    @Patti - haha, well as long as you cite me :) What a great way to put it! You can't rely on luck to do anything for you. But you can use it wisely if it comes your way!

  33. This is a great post! I don't really do anything for luck, I just hope I get the good kind!
    Best of luck to you!

  34. "I came across another hand sign that's done for good luck and to ward off the evil eye. This one comes from the Italian culture."

    That's where Ronnie James Dio got it from.
    (And is now used by headbangers the world over.)

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