Gaining the Luck of the Irish is not as easy as it sounds. The Irish have a lengthy list of good luck charms and bad omens and it’s hard to keep them straight! Here are 17 superstitions to keep in mind on St. Patrick’s Day so you can hopefully find some good luck, and more importantly, avoid the bad!
1. Got an unstoppable itch on your left hand? That may mean a pot of gold is about to come your way. And if the itch is in your right hand, well you won’t be getting any money, but you may be making a new friend.
2. Leprechauns are one friend you don’t want to make. They have a reputation for being deceitful tricksters. However, catch a leprechaun and he’ll probably tell you where his treasure is in exchange for his freedom. Take your eyes off that little guy for even a split second and he will vanish.
3. Cleaning up your March 17 mess? Don’t drop the dishtowel, unless you’re ready for some company. Dropping it almost certainly means an unexpected visitor is on their way, according to the Irish.
4. Listen for a cuckoo on your right and you could be in for a whole year of good luck. Was the Cuckoo on your left? Yikes! Sorry to say, that’s bad luck.
5. Never accept a lock of hair from your lover or you are in for some bad luck.
6. If you honestly just need a haircut (no romantic lock-giving gestures here), by all means, do it under the moonlight so you can squeeze some good luck out of the ordeal.
7. Treat robin redbreasts with the utmost care, for killing one means a lifetime of bad luck.
8. Never ask a man where he is going fishing. Just don’t. Never change a boat’s name and don’t bring a banana on board (not necessarily an Irish superstition, but very good to know nonetheless). Fishermen are an especially superstitious lot and some may go so far as to turn the boat around and drop you and your contraband fruit off on the dock.
9. We all know it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. But fortunately, the Irish have found a way to ward it off. Make a triangle with your thumbs and pointer fingers and spit (in the general direction) of the cat. FYI we don’t condone spitting at cats.
10. If a hen and her chicks want to enter your house, by all means let them in! They bring good luck. If it’s a rooster, set the table, company is on its way.
11. Never gift a knife, it will sever your friendship. In fact, don’t even hand someone a knife (not even to cut your corned beef), it will bring bad luck. Instead if someone asks for a knife, place it on the table near them and let them pick it up.
12. Feeling sick from all that corned beef and cabbage? Well the Irish say tie a bunch of mint sprigs around your wrist to cure an upset stomach.
13. If you come across a horseshoe, nail it to the door. And don’t even think about buying one or using a gifted horseshoe, it must be found spontaneously!
14. Lucky enough to find a four-leaf clover? Congratulations! You’re in for some good luck gambling and racing. Furthermore, witchcraft has no power for you! But keep it to yourself. The luck only lasts so long as you don’t show anyone your clover.
15. A four-leaf clover is hard to come by. But there’s another way to aid your gambling luck. A crooked pin in your coat is said to bring good luck at cards.
16. Want to know who you will marry? Put a snail on a plate of flour, cover it and leave overnight. In the morning the snail’s path will have carved out the initials of your future mate.
17. See some shoes wrapped around telephone wires on March 18th? No, that’s not just a St. Patrick’s Day reveler getting rowdy. The Irish say throwing your shoes on the way home from a party brings good luck.