Do You Feel Lucky?
I’m always a glass half full kinda gal, which leads me into the discussion of luck as we soldier into March. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, luck is defined as the force that causes things, especially good things, to happen to you by chance and not as a result of your own efforts or abilities. The word “luck” itself is Middle Dutch in origin, according to Mental Floss. The word comes from ‘luc,’ a shortening of ‘gheluc,’ meaning, “happiness, good fortune.”
People have historically collected good luck charms. A horseshoe is considered lucky if it is hung with the open part at the top so you can catch the bountiful goodness falling from above. A four leaf clover is hard to find, thus considered lucky to have been found. And let’s not forget the infamous foot of a rabbit, usually dyed an unnatural color (mine was blue – I’m sorry, I was 10, it was all the rage back in the day!) which is thought to bring good fortune and fertility; also rabbits were thought to have some kind of mystical connection with omnipotent beings, so they might be able to convey a prayer or wish to the powers above.
Even though green is widely synonymous with luck in most of the world, in Chinese culture, the color red has the connotation of being extremely lucky signifying good fortune, happiness, and success. Red is a prominent color in the decorations and clothing during festivals and little money packets given out during Chinese New Year are traditionally red, symbolizing good wishes and luck to the recipient for the entire year.
Some people even have rituals or superstitions, like wearing the same dirty socks over and over if your team is on a win streak, or even to avoid walking under a ladder or stepping on a crack in case it brings bad luck. Another piece of rabbit lore is that you will have good luck all month if the very first words you utter on the first day of each month are, “rabbit, rabbit.” This also trends on Reddit sometimes at the beginning of the month. And, as every teen vividly remembers the horrible pinching fate of those who didn’t wear green on St. Patrick’s day in elementary school – there was always one unlucky kiddo who forgot.
There are lucky foods as well. On Fat Tuesday, the one who finds the tiny figurine of the baby Jesus in the king cake is deemed lucky and gets to be “king for the day”; many times, it also means this person is responsible for buying the king cake the following year. Good Housekeeping has an article that names fish as a lucky food; some believe that due to the fact that fish swim in a group it symbolizes prosperity. The Chinese have several foods which are deemed lucky; among those are citrus fruits, spring rolls, noodles, sweet rice balls, dumplings, and various candies. And don’t forget being the lucky one to find the wishbone on Thanksgiving! Or is it only the winner of the wishbone pull deemed the fortunate one? Eating sauerkraut for good luck on New Year’s Day is a time honored German tradition in my family- we have done this for as long as I can remember. Or, if you are Irish, corned beef and cabbage for New Years.
The Irish are said to be luckier than most, although some of this legend is traced back to the gold rush in the west in the early 1900s where a disproportionate percent of Irishmen seemed to strike it rich in the silver and gold mines. This led to the popular saying, “the luck of the Irish.” Irish legend also places four leaf clovers, horseshoes, leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows in their lore.
But is luck real?
Scott Barry Kaufman’s article in Scientific America, The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realizedis fascinating. There is actual research that proves that the most successful people in life are not always the most talented, that sometimes people just need a sprinkle of LUCK! In this study it is found that those who create their own opportunities have a better chance of success than those who are more talented. I believe you create your own luck, and your own fortune and I personally prefer to look on the bright side of situations. A little positivity never hurt anyone.
And, if all else fails, remember, Shamrock Shakes are already on sale at the Golden Arches and Lucky Charms Cereal now turns the milk GREEN, instead of the grayish-purplish color – I’ve tried it and it really does!!!. And if that’s not Lucky, I don’t know what else is!
Here are some clever books which might bring you a touch of luck in the Teen Section:
· Love And Luck by Jenna Welch
· The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Davis
· Just My Luck by Jennifer Honeybourn
· Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
· Just My Rotten Luck by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
**By the way, don’t forget to pop into your favorite M/RCPL location and pick up a Leprechaun Cubeecraft to cut out and assemble…. available all of March! Grab the Oompa-Loompa too!