Luck is a success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.
The English noun luck appears comparatively late, during the 1480s, as a loan from Low German, Dutch or Frisian luk, a short form of gelucke (Middle High German gelücke). Compare to old Slavic word lukyj (лукый) – appointed by destiny and old Russian luchaj (лучаи) – destiny, fortune. It likely entered English as a gambling term, and the context of gambling remains detectable in the word’s connotations luck is a way of understanding a personal chance event.
Luck has three aspects:
Luck is good or bad.
Luck is the result of chance.
Luck applies to a sentient being.
An example of luck is winning easily when gambling. Luck is defined as the good or bad things that happen by chance. An example of luck is what happens when good things start happening to someone.
Some people seem to be born naturally luckier than others. You may have a family member who always wins on scratch cards, a colleague who always gets the promotion and praise at work or a friend who has a wild and life-changing experience that only one in a million people encounter. Some people always seem to be in the right place at the right time, always receiving good fortune.
Whether you believe you’re lucky or unlucky is a subjective perception of how you see the world around you and interpret the events that happen to you.
Luck is symbolized by a wide spectrum of numbers, objects, plant and animal life and lucky charms from all around the world, all of which may vary depending on a culture’s folklore.
The horseshoe is considered very lucky and used to be hung in homes to protect it and attract good fortune for the family residing inside. Although the origins are not exactly known, it is believed that the horseshoe became the symbol of luck when the eighth century Chaldeans thought its crescent shape represented various moon goddesses thus protecting against the curse of the evil eye. Others believe that horseshoes became synonymous with luck in 969 AD when St. Dunstan, the patron saint of blacksmiths in the Catholic Church, tricked the devil.
The four-leaf clover is a rare variation of the common three-leaf clover. According to traditional sayings, such clovers bring good luck, though it is not clear when or how this idea began. The earliest mention of “Fower-leafed or purple grasse” is from 1640 and simply says that it was kept in gardens because it was “good for the purples in children or others”.
A key is one of the oldest lucky charms. A key that is given from one lover to another is considered to be a symbol of unlocking the door to the person’s heart. The person giving the key is said to be “lucky in love”.
Elephants are a symbol of love, wealth, health and longevity. In some cultures, elephant figurines are placed near the entrance to the house to ensure longevity and luck to those who pass through. The Ganesha, also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka, is a Hindu God of Luck. With his multiple arms and elephant head, he is widely renowned as the patron of arts and sciences and the keeper of intellect and wisdom.
Pigs are known as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in many cultures, namely Chinese and German but also other Asian and northern European cultures. In Germany, pig trinkets are often gifted around the New Year, and in China, the pig is one of the zodiac animals, representing luck and wealth.
A shooting star is said to possess a certain type of magic, one that grants you good luck and positive energy flow in your life. Legend also says that anyone who is lucky enough to witness a shooting star should make a wish!
With luck literally in its name, lucky bamboo is one of the luckiest plants you can have in feng shui. It’s been a part of Chinese culture for thousands of years and represents good fortune. Depending on how many stalks it has, it is thought to bring prosperity in specific areas (i.e., two stalks represent love, and three represent wealth).
Lucky numbers include the number 7 in Christian-influenced cultures, but the number 8 in Chinese-influenced cultures.
Many polytheistic religions have specific gods or goddesses that are associated with luck, both good and bad, including Fortuna and Felicitas in the Ancient Roman religion (the former related to the words “fortunate” and “unfortunate” in English), Dedun in Nubian religion, the Seven Lucky Gods in Japanese mythology, mythical American serviceman John Frum in Polynesian cargo cults, and the inauspicious Alakshmi in Hinduism.