Many cultures have symbols, signs, and charms that signify different ideas and concepts of luck. The meaning behind these vary but is often symbolized in numbers, plants, animals, and charms, with their history often rooted in mythology or folklore. Some signs or combinations of designs are more subtle or discreet and may not be considered by some to be ‘true lucky signs.’However, for each person, the symbols pose a special, unique meaning.
A lot of people find lucky symbols in places least expected. For example, people can discover unexpected lucky signs in movies such as Just My Luck, The Lucky One in pop culture. It Could Happen To You, websites such as a Bonus.ca article about fast payout casinos, including a Lucky Clover slot, musical numbers such as Lucky Man, Love, and Luck, and Lucky Star, and games that incorporate these lucky elements, amongst other things.
So just what are some of the luckiest symbols from both ancient and pop culture one could have as a tattoo?
Lucky Symbols Based on Animals
Across some cultures, particular animals have auspicious meanings.
For sailors, seeing an albatross at sea is considered a fortunate sign. The origins of this come from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner poem. In the story, an albatross follows the titular mariner’s ship on his journey out to sea, but the journey becomes cursed when he shoots it with a crossbow.
Fish are considered lucky in many cultures, including Ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Hebrew, Indian, Japanese, and Tunisian. In the Eastern cultures, fish and the element of water represent good fortune, prosperity, and represent an abundance of feng shui – harmonization. Fish tattoos not only bring luck to a person, but they also look colorful and attractive.
Ladybugs are generally thought of as lucky signs by farmers and a lot of European cultures. Ladybugs are a natural way or form of pest control, as they feast on aphids, which are tiny little insects that enjoy eating crops. With ladybugs around to eat any intruders, farmers consider them symbols of luck and a way to guarantee a successful harvest.
A creature of Japanese folklore, the Maneki-Neko, or beckoning cat, is usually depicted as a white, black, red, or gold cat calico Japanese bobtail figurine displayed in the shop windows of many stores around Japan. The figure is suggested to bring good fortune, wealth, and favorable successes in life.
Pigs are often thought to be lucky in Chinese and German cultures. In the Chinese Zodiac, the pig represents overall good fortune, wealth, general prosperity, honesty, and luck, which symbolize all people who fall under that sign.
Rabbits, or rabbit feet, are considered lucky and often carried on the person as a charm. It’s said that this amulet is a lucky talisman because it reminds its owner to be courageous in adverse situations.
Tortoiseshell cats are thought to be a sign of fortune and good luck. Many cultures believe that a tortie is a sign of good things to come.
Rooted in Thai legend, the white elephant is considered to be optimistic, prosperous, and royal. It is believed that Buddha’s mother dreamt of a white elephant before giving birth to him, translated into elephants symbolizing plentiful harvests.
Lucky Symbols Based on Objects and Numbers
Across some cultures, objects and numbers have lucky meanings.
Bamboo is a Chinese symbol of flexibility, strength, and health. The strength of the bamboo teaches one to stand upright and adapt to the harshest circumstances. The bamboo also symbolizes eternity, balance, and inner peace.
Dreamcatchers are a Native American sign, usually depicted as a protective talisman protecting people from nightmares and bad dreams. The charms are usually hung up in bedrooms to ward off nightmares and encourage good dreams.
Probably the most iconic symbol associated with luck, the four-leaf clover, or Irish shamrock, is a clover known to stand for luck, love, faith, and hope. It’s said that Ireland is home to more four-leaf clovers than any other place in the world, which inspired the phrase, “the luck of the Irish.”
Horseshoes are considered very lucky and were often hung in homes in the Old West to protect the home and attract good fortune for the family residing there. According to the legend, the horseshoe ends need to be pointing down towards the floor so that good luck can flow out and surround the home. For equestrians and horse lovers, the horseshoe is the perfect symbol to have tattooed on your body.
In Chinese tradition, jade is a symbol of good fortune and is thought to have protective energy. The gem is often used for decorative feng shui purposes around and inside houses.
The number seven contains interesting properties which many people feel an affinity for. The number is considered perfect and represents completion. For example, there are seven days in the week and seven colors in the rainbow, seven seas, and seven wonders of the old or ancient world. Seven holds many unique connotations, making it a trendy lucky number.
In Chinese, the number eight has long been regarded as the luckiest number. In Mandarin, the number eight is pronounced ‘ba,’ similar to ‘fa,’ the word for fortune. The number is associated with success, high social status, and prosperity.
Have you ever wished upon a star? Shooting stars are popular symbols of luck associated with positivity and good grace, which is why they are so popular as a tattoo – mainly when inked around wrists and ankles.
As you can see, many ancient symbols of luck would make for poignant tattoos on a person’s body. A little bit of luck goes a long way.