Do you have a lucky charm? Horseshoes have long been associated with good luck- but why?
The superstitious symbol has had a solid presence in popular culture for years. Lucky Charms has purple marshmallow candies in the shape of horseshoes and are our favorite leprechauns cereal called ‘Lucky Charms’. Their popularity as lucky emblems date back centuries ago when they were used to ward off evil spirits.
Many people believe that a horseshoe with the opening on the upside catches luck, and when it’s opening turns down, the luck spills out. Some people also believe that a horse must have worn the horseshoe, saying that the more miles it’s traveled, the more luck it can hold.
So why were they considered lucky? The answer is truly unknown, but it may have something to do with the fact that horseshoes were made of iron, the strongest metal known to man. Also, horseshoes tend to have a lucky amount of nails driven into them…you guessed it, SEVEN! Nowadays, the number is commonly eight.
Another explanation why horseshoes are lucky is because people believed that they held power. When a horse is moving over cobblestones, sparks can fly from its horseshoes, so people believed that the horseshoes were objects of power.
Folktales tell a strange story of how the horseshoe became lucky. Pokie Parmidge wrote a short vignette saying it is because the Devil saw a horse galloping over cobblestones throwing sparks. The Devil grew envious and had a blacksmith nail horseshoes to his own hooves. However, the horseshoes hurt his appendages. The blacksmith wouldn’t remove them until the devil promised not to enter a house where a horseshoe hung over the door. The smith refused to remove the shoes until the devil promised not to enter a doorway where a horseshoe hangs.
Today, many people hang horseshoes for decoration and special events, like weddings! So if you decide to showcase a horseshoe that you find, make sure that the opening is face up like a cup so that all the luck stays in it!
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear green and hang up your lucky horseshoes!