A Little Bit of Luck

“Water can both sustain and sink a ship.” -Chinese proverb

Salt over the shoulder. Rabbit’s foot. Water.

The other day, people spilled water on me twice. It’s good luck, my brother reassured me. I hope so. Otherwise, it’s just more laundering for me.

In Chinese, water signifies wealth. I haven’t heard anything similar in America. I wondered what parallels I could discover between good luck charms across Eastern and Western cultures. Here’s a chart of a few of my findings:

Eastern Western Significance
Four-leaf clover Bamboo plant Each clover leaf represents something: 1) faith, 2) hope, 3) love, and 4) luck.
Bamboo is the ideal mix of the thriving water and wood element.
Ladybug Cricket Ladybugs help farmers by eating pests, like aphids. They’re also linked with the Virgin Mary (known as “Our Lady” to devout Catholics).
Crickets lay hundreds of eggs, a symbol of vitality. Their singing is revered and serves as a reminder of happiness.
Rabbit (foot) Tortoise The left hind leg of the rabbit brings luck. The animals are prized for their fertility, and their “magical” running ability of landing on their hind legs first.
Tortoises are symbols of longevity, since they can survive for more than 100 years. They also are linked to health, with their shells being used for numerous remedies.
Foodie Friday: Sesame Bread
Foodie Friday: Chè


  1. In the Czech republic where I’m from…and actually almost all over Western Europe, if bird droppings land on your head it’s incredible good luck. No idea why…lol. Think I like the turtle much better than the rabbit’s foot, better for the rabbit too. :) (love the photo of the sea lion…miss San Francisco)

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      I wish I knew the one about bird droppings before. I could have made a friend feel much better. (Love how friendly sea lions can be. Sometimes they look like they’re waving at me!)

  2. The four-leaf clover and the rabbit foot are two good luck charms in France, too. If you find a four-leaf clover you are supposed to keep it. In the past, elderly in rural villages would wear a rabbit foot around their neck when they went hunting or would carry it in a satchel if they traveled.
    The bird dropping is also supposed to bring good luck, although the few times it happened to me in Paris I felt terribly unlucky and gross.
    Fun post, Jennifer.

  3. My dad always said bird droppings were good luck. He was convinced he’d win the lotto on a day where 4 birds decided to go potty on his car. He didn’t win though but I love that story.

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