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Lucky charms and rituals from around the world

pig with a clover in its mouth

When it comes to playing the lottery, none of us would say no to a bit of good luck. Keep reading to see the lucky charms and rituals from around the world.

Keep reading to see the lucky charms and rituals from around the world.


When it comes to playing the lottery, none of us would say no to a bit of good luck. And many of us have superstitions that we hope will bring us just that. Using that lucky pen, finding a money spider, crossing our fingers, hanging a horseshoe above the door; we’re not quite sure how they work but they’re worth a shot!

With that in mind, we’ve been looking into some of the superstitions around the world that many believe could make us wealthy. Some of them might sound a bit bonkers, but if they could help us win that £25,000 Age UK Superdraw jackpot then we’ll certainly give them a go!

Lucky animals

We could probably fill a zoo with the number of animals that are regarded lucky around the world, but if you want a pet that is thought to bring wealth then a pig may be your best bet. Most likely originating from farming where pigs were profitable animals to keep, pigs continue to be a symbol of good fortune and money. Why else would we choose to keep our loose change in a piggybank!

If pigs haven’t brought you much luck so far then you could consider adding a goldfish, tortoise or an elephant to your household; all of which have been associated with wealth and fortune around the world. Our advice would be to purchase a statue, picture or pattern rather than clear out the garage to home your new pet elephant.   

Lucky colours

Not many countries agree on which colours are lucky, and it’s tricky to find one that is lucky in one country but isn’t associated with death in another. There are a few colours that multiple nations believe could bring wealth however.

Red is a lucky colour in many cultures, particularly in China and India. As well as bringing prosperity, wealth and luck, it is also associated with love, power and happiness. Many celebs wear red for good luck, including Tiger Woods who always wears a red shirt on the last day of every tournament and Madonna who wears a red string bracelet.  

Yellow is closely linked with money in Thailand, Egypt and many African nations, where it’s associated with gold and royalty. Purple is also linked with royalty and wealth in many Eastern and Western cultures because of its rarity up until the 19th century.

In the UK we tend to associate green with wealth, dating back to the Middle Ages when wealthy bankers and merchants often wore green. It’s possible that our American cousins’ green money and our Irish neighbours’ lucky shamrocks helped cement this colour as lucky in our culture.

Lucky foods

Many cultures associate luck and good fortune with food, and a special New Year’s Eve meal to bring prosperity in the coming year is a popular tradition.

Unimaginatively, food that resembles money in some way is often connected with wealth. For example, lentils are a popular meal to bring money in Italy, Brazil and Chili, because of their resemblance to coins. Leafy greens such as sauerkraut, collards and kale are said to resemble paper money and are eaten in hopes of bringing wealth in many European countries including Germany and Poland.

And if you weren’t sold on the idea of having a pig as a pet, then pork for dinner might be a slightly less cuddly option. The Irish, German and Chinese all connect pork with money, and the Italians often go for the ultimate wealth-bringing meal of pork sausages, lentils and leafy greens on New Year’s Eve.

Lucky plants

The right plant may bring wealth and prosperity to your home, and particularly in Feng-Shui there are many plants that you can introduce for some good luck. Plants with rounded leaves are thought to symbolise wealth and fortune, and as such Rubber plants and Jade plants are both connected with money.  

A Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) and Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana) are both plants that can bring luck in numbers. The greater the number of stalks, the greater the blessings your Lucky Bamboo is thought to attract. And three or five braided plants on your Money Tree is thought to bring good luck, but never four.

Of course, in Ireland a four-leaf clover is considered very lucky because it’s so rare to find.

Lucky items

Many of us have lucky charms and trinkets that we keep close to bring us luck, such as lucky pens and socks, but there are some items that are more widely regarded as lucky.

A horseshoe is a common symbol of luck in the UK and many other cultures. It’s thought that if you display it with the ends pointing up then it will gather up lots of wealth and prosperity for you. It’s traditional to hang the horseshoe above your door to bring luck to your household, but many people wear mini versions as lucky charms on chains instead, including Cameron Diaz who apparently believes her lucky horseshoe necklace has anti-aging powers.

It’s a well-known saying that ‘money attracts money’ and many cultures believe in carrying lucky coins to attract prosperity. In the UK it’s considered lucky to find a penny in the street – ‘see a penny pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck’ – and a survey of Scots found that those who did find luck after picking up a penny won £370 on average.    


Signs of wealth to come

As well as using superstitions to create our own luck, we can also keep an eye out for signs of wealth to come.

Itchy palms are often associated with money, but it’s the right hand that means that some might be coming your way. If your left palm is itching, then it may mean that you’re about to lose some money.

Spiders have been connected with money in superstitions for centuries and most of us have gone to flick a spider away only to have a friend tell you it’s a money spider that will bring you luck. A spider crawling into your purse or pocket is also thought to predict money to come.

In several countries, a bird pooing on you is meant to be a sign that you’ll be getting some money, but we have a suspicion that this might just be to make you feel better.  

Bad luck – what to avoid

So, you’ve stocked your cupboards with lentils, changed your colour scheme to red and you’re trying to convince your other half that the pig noises they can hear coming from under the stairs are “just your stomach rumbling”, but your luck still hasn’t changed. It might be time to consider whether you’re committing any superstition faux-pas.  

Putting your purse on the floor is regarded as bad luck in many cultures, but most famously in China where they have the proverb ‘A purse on the floor is money out the door’. Keeping your purse or handbag off the floor might not only improve your luck but also deter opportunist thieves looking to snatch it whilst it’s out of your sight.

In Russia, Turkey and Japan it’s considered bad luck to whistle indoors, as you may be whistling your money away. And in Korea people believe that by shaking your legs you will shake all your luck and wealth away. If you’re prone to fidgety legs, then this might be another reason to sit still.

If you’ve found your lucky charm then why not put it to the test on the Age UK Weekly Lottery and be in with a chance of become one of 1,000 cash prize winners, all whilst helping Age UK's charitable work.

Play the Age UK Lottery today!

Every Friday you'll be in with a chance of becoming one of our 1,000 guaranteed winners!

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Last updated: Jul 29 2022

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