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Different cultures have decided lots of seemingly random objects are lucky. Why?
Ancient Celtics associated rabbits with good luck because they live underground. In ancient Celtic folklore, that means they live closer to the gods of the underworld and could communicate with them.
In the United States, this idea might have gotten mixed in with aspects of an African American folklore, called hoodoo, to create the belief that rabbits' feet are lucky. In hoodoo folklore, rabbit's feet are good luck because of how fertile rabbits are, which means they have a lot of babies.
Hoodoo lore also explains how to get the luckiest rabbit foot — it should be the left one, the rabbit should be killed in a cemetery, and the foot should be cut off on a Friday, to name a few. According to folklorist Bill Ellis, killing the rabbit on top of the grave of a mean person was thought to make it luckier, too.
Don't go stalking rabbits in cemeteries, though. A fake rabbit's foot still symbolizes plenty of luck.
Many ancient peoples believed metals were gifts from the gods. Metals could be used as protection, and suddenly having that security probably felt lucky. It's likely this is where the idea that finding a penny — which used to be made of copper — came from originally.
Some people believe only a heads-up penny is good luck. If they come across a tails-up penny on the sidewalk, they flip it over so it's lucky for whoever finds it next.
The stories behind lucky horseshoes have to do with driving evil spirits away.
Early Western European folklore said iron had magical properties that could drive away mischievous fairies and other creatures. Meanwhile, an old Irish story tells the tale of a blacksmith who, when asked to make shoes for the devil, nailed it painfully deep into his hoofs. The devil swore he'd never go near a horseshoe again. Both of these stories help explain why having horseshoes around or on your front door is considered good luck.
The number 7
This number is significant in many major religions, which helped create the belief that it's a lucky number. According to the Old Testament, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. In the Quran, there are seven heavens, and in Hinduism there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds. In Buddhism, a newborn Buddha takes seven footsteps.
Seven is also an easy number for our brains to remember. Most people can easily retain seven pieces of information at once — any more, and we start to forget. This is part of the reason why phone numbers are usually seven numbers long.
The odds of finding a four-leaf clover are somewhere between 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 10,000. Being that rare makes finding a four-leaf clover lucky in and of itself.
The belief that these clovers are lucky comes from Ireland. The Celts believed carrying a four-leaf clover warded off evil fairies and bad luck, while Christians sometimes say that the first three leaves represent faith, hope and love, and that the fourth is God's grace, or luck.