Good Luck Traditions From Around Europe
By Chloe Bennet
Every culture and country has its good luck traditions. Some are well known such as wishing upon a shooting star, others are less well known such as eating a fish with silver scales. Whether you believe in good luck or not these traditions are deep-rooted within our cultures and they’re important to learn about. Plus, it can never hurt to try. Sometimes a simple change in attitude is all it takes to bring good luck your way.
New Year’s Luck
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are often the source of many good luck traditions as it is the beginning of something new.
- Spain & Portugal
In Spain and Portugal, it is traditional when the clock strikes midnight party-goers usher in the new year by eating a dozen grapes in order to guarantee happiness in the coming year.
Portugal has another tradition of eating a special cake called Bolo-Rei, the “King Cake,” between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This cake symbolises a crown, it is covered with crystallised and dried fruit and has a large hole in the middle.
Hogmanay in Scotland is a big celebration, part of which is the practise of first-footing. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend’s home to give them symbolic gifts such as food or whisky, intended to bring luck to the householder.
“Ireland is a land of many superstitions and New Year’s Eve is no different. It is believed that the direction of the wind determines the luck of the year, if it is from the West the year will be filled with good fortune,” says Joshua Meyer, regular contributor to Studydemic and Bestbritishessays. However, if the wind blows from the east the British are said to prevail. They also have a tradition of banging on the doors and walls of the house with Christmas bread in order to chase away bad luck and invite the good spirits in.
In Norway people traditionally celebrate New Year by eating rice pudding. Many people will hide an almond within the pudding and the person who finds it is promised prosperity for the new year. It is also said that the earlier you’re awake on New Year’s Day, the earlier your luck will wake up. So, let’s hope you don’t have a hangover that day!
Got some old plates you want rid of? Denmark is the place to go. On New Year’s Eve the Danish traditionally smash old plates on their friends’ doorsteps in order to show how much you value them as a friend. It’s a sign of popularity if nothing else. Just before midnight you should also stand on a chair and jump off them at midnight, leaping into January is said to banish bad spirits and bring good luck.
Italians have many traditions for New Year’s Eve including throwing pots, pans and clothes out of the window to symbolise letting go of the past and embracing the future, wearing red underwear to attract good luck and lighting a Christmas log on New Year’s Day to turn away evil spirits and invite the Virgin Mary to warm baby Jesus.
European Traditions to Bring You Luck All Year Round
Outside of New Year there are plenty more traditions which can bring you luck at any time of year.
The odds of finding a four-leaf clover is supposedly 1 in 10,000 which is why finding one is considered to be so lucky. The good luck charm originates in Ireland and Britain, the four sides symbolise faith, hope luck and love anyone who finds one will have one lucky day. “It is also believed that in the Christian faith Eve took a four-leaf clover with her after being banished from the Garden of Eden, so a four-leaf clover is a little piece of Paradise,” adds Chris Roseman, writer at Academized and Studentwritingservices.
A pysanka is an Easter egg from Ukraine which has been decorated with intricate designs using a wax-resist method. The ongoing tradition has been handed down through generations. The beautiful eggs represent health, fertility, love and wealth – if you are blessed with all of these then you are a very lucky person.
In Britain giving the bride a horseshoe on her wedding day is seen as a gift of good luck as well as a potent fertility charm. It is said that the horseshoe should stay upright in order to catch all the good luck on the day. However, there are arguments about which way up the horseshoe should be hung once you take it home.
- Spilling Water
While you might think that spilling water is a bad thing, it’s not in Serbia, at least not if you spill it behind someone. The tradition of spilling water behind someone is said to bring them good luck, it is often done before a trip or a test to wish them luck. The water represents fluidity and motion which is meant to be lucky.
Good Luck and Prosperity
It’s about time we all had some good luck and it could be great fun trying some of these fascinating traditions. Hopefully they’ll bring good luck and prosperity too!
Chloe Bennet is a content writer and proof-reader at Assignment Writing Service and Geography Writing with years of experience. Chloe has a degree in Creative Writing and enjoys writing about fashion, yoga and meditation. Also, Chloe tutors at OXEssays.