OK, so you slept through New Year’s and didn’t get to kiss anyone at midnight. And you didn’t eat black eyed peas. Or throw open all the doors and windows. Fear not, here are a few ways you can still be lucky in 2008:
- Put up chimes. I list this first because this belief appears in a lot of different cultures. The Chinese believe chimes attract good energy, or chi. Several hundred years ago, Europeans believed bells drove the devil away. Good energy in, evil spirits out. ..either way, it sounds like a no lose situation.
- Plant rosemary by your front door. Another way to keep bad spirits away from your home.
- Get rid of dead flowers in your home. At first glance, this seems silly. Who keeps dead flowers around anyway? But dried flowers are dead. And that bowl of potpourri? Out. Better to have fresh or silk flowers for decoration.
- Find plants that whose leaves are round shaped if you want to attract wealth. Round shapes look like coins, and therefore having a living object upon which “coins” are attached is sure to bring wealth. The Chinese keep so-called coin plants in their homes for this very reason. Ask your local nursery for a cacti called Crassula arborescens. If you have a lot of room, plant the Silver dollar tree, otherwise known as Eucalyptus cinerea.
- When playing games of chance, pick up the token with your left hand. Whenever I ask my ESL students to pick something out of a hat, the Latino students always use their left hand, for luck. This is surprising, since being left handed was thought to a mark of the devil. During the Salem Witch trials, left handed women were look upon with a lot of suspicion. However, in a way it make sense that when you want your hand to “see” a winning token in a basket, you would rely on a little black magic.
- Make your decisions on the best day. Women should make their decisions on a Wednesday or a Friday; men on a Tuesday or Thursday.
- Knock on wood. This superstition goes so far back that the reasons have evolved as they went along. First, oak was considered the wood that Jesus’ cross was made from, and from then on was considered holy. In pagan times, good spirits were thought to reside in wood, so whenever you said something that was positive, you knocked on wood (three times) to wake up the good spirits, and to drive away the bad.
- Never store a wallet or a purse empty. Always put a coin, or money, inside. An empty wallet is bad luck because you are attracting, and symbolizing, your poverty.
- Do not kill spiders. In 16th century Germany, spiders were believed to carry a stone inside them that had remedial powers. Spider webs were also believed to have curative powers, and witchcraft spells sometimes use spider webs. Therefore, killing a spider was considered bad luck.
- Use the number 8. There is a reason why the Beijing Olympics are going to start at 8:00 on August 8, 2008. The Chinese word for “8” sounds almost the same as the word for “wealth”, or “prosperity”. Therefore, the Chinese believe 8 is a very fortuitous number, and pay a lot of money to have an address, license plate, or telephone number with this number.
- Carry an acorn for good luck and prosperity. This is from the English, who carried dried acorns as far back as the Norman conquest for luck and protection.
- Wear new clothes on Easter. Some of us probably remember getting new clothes for Easter. The origins of this are in Christianity, when converts were baptized on Easter, and given new (white) clothes to represent their new life with Christ.
And finally, because the number twelve is considered perfect, I won’t list anymore items.
Good Luck, Bon chance, and buena suerta. Here’s to a lucky 2008.