Friday, July 26, 2013

The Mythology of Four-Leaf Clovers

I found a four-leaf clover today, gave it to my mom, and immediately got asked if I could find another. I’d found it within a half-minute of casually looking at a small clover patch, I used to look for them methodically as a kid, and there was even a whole patch of white clovers with mostly four leaves in our yard at one point (I haven’t been able to find it in a while, so it may have died off)... so I figured this wouldn’t be too hard. Of course, the second one was way harder to find, taking several minutes.

So, why are four-leaf clovers lucky?

Clovers can have up to 56 leaves, so apparently it isn’t that more is better. There are even some variety of clover (mostly cultivated) that exclusively have four leaves.

In Christianity, three-leaf clovers and shamrocks have been used to represent the three aspects of God; father, son, and holy ghost. Some say the fourth leaf causes the clover to represent the cross, while other say it represents the grace of God. It may also represent the second coming of Christ.

Medieval myth claimed carrying a four-leaf clover could allow you to see fairies! Druids on the other hand, believed it could allow you to see evil spirits and protect you from them.

Some say Abraham Lincoln carried a four-leaf clover, almost everyday except the day he was shot. I’m not sure about the validity of this claim, but it does make you wonder.

Some variations on the myth:
* It’s bad luck to pick a three leafed clover.
* It’s bad luck to pick any odd numbered leaf clover, but all even number leaved clovers are good luck.
* Five leaf clovers are bad luck, or according to some people even luckier. (These are also called rose clovers.)
* It’s very bad luck to pick any clover with five or more leaves!

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