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Lucky St. Patty’s?

I was never really one to have lucky charms. I definitely collected a lot of random stuff when I was a kid – I can’t even tell you how many sticker albums I had, or quite explain the sheer volume of keychains I managed to amass considering I spent my childhood unemployed. I have vague recollections of bringing some sort of trinket to exams with me, but that was more for the social aspect (everyone was doing it) than for the luck aspect. Yup, not so much a lucky charms kind of gal. The cereal was, of course, a different story. I vacuumed that stuff up out of the carpet with my mouth, none of it went to waste. The only reason I stopped eating it was because I got old and my teeth got sensitive. Let me tell you, if those marshmallow rainbows didn’t send stabs of pain through my skull I would have at least 3 boxes in my cupboard right now.

But I digress. There are so many different “lucky charms” out there, most of them bordering on completely bizarre. For instance, the rabbit foot, which I have never understood; a horseshoe, which for absolutely no reason at all makes more sense to me; or a wishbone, a.k.a. the clavicles of a bird – who decided that was lucky?

Creative Commons Image Courtesy of Neil T

There is also the four-leaf clover, which makes a bit more sense to me as a symbol of good luck. Like finding a walrus in the middle of the forest, it’s an anomaly, a rarity; that makes it special and by extension makes you special since few people will ever actually find such a rare thing. I guess that’s luck? Overcoming improbable odds unintentionally?

As far as I can tell, St. Patrick’s Day (while I’m sure some take it more seriously) is mainly about getting greened-up, drinking alcohol, and decorating yourself with as many stereotypically Irish things you can find. This usually includes plenty of four-leaf clovers. There are so many symbols considered both lucky and quintessentially Irish. But I’ve seen Leprechaun. Finding one would be absolutely unlucky. I know all about potatoes, and would not feel lucky to have them make up the bulk of my diet. How did all these Irish symbols become associated with luck?

I looked up “The Luck of the Irish” and the debate is open – some claim that it actually refers to having bad luck; some say the total opposite! What do you think? What is “The Luck of the Irish?” Is it good, or not so good?

Have a Happy (and responsible) St. Patrick’s Day!

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