Symbols of Luck: Shamrock

Symbols of Luck: Shamrock

The luck of the Irish is something we hear a lot about. And when we think of Irish luck symbols, the first one that springs to mind is likely the shamrock.

Where it’s from

The shamrock, also known as the ‘clover’ is a type of plant that can be found in fields across the planet.

Whilst it is technically a weed, it’s such a pretty one, that very few of us picture it when we think of the word ‘weed’.

If you just go for a walk, almost anywhere in Europe, Asia, or America, you will almost certainly come across a shamrock at some point.

Ireland has a generally rather wet climate, which means that soil becomes perfect for growing clovers. For that reason, shamrocks have become associated with the country.

Why they’re lucky

You might be wondering at this point. If clovers are so common, and so easy to find, how have they become a symbol of good luck?

Well, as some of you might be aware, Ireland is a very Christian country. With only 10% of the entire country being atheists.

Within Christianity, there is what’s known as the ‘Holy Trinity’. This is made up of the father, the son, and the holy spirit.

Whilst this is an article about good luck symbols, not religion, to understand the shamrock, you need to understand the importance of the holy trinity in Christianity.

Each leaf on the clover represents one part of the holy trinity.

St Patrick’s Day

The most common time where you’ll see this symbol is on St Patrick’s day. Corporate America has taken full advantage if this symbol.

On March 17th, you can’t leave your house without seeing this sign plastered everywhere. You see it on t-shirts, banners, bumper stickers, poorly drawn on people’s chests.

You can also see it on a whole variety of foods, including, cookies, cakes, bread, and candy.

Recently, you can even get a ‘Shamrock Shake’. This isn’t a milkshake made from clovers, that would be yucky. It’s made from mint.

Slots

Whilst there aren’t any table based games that use the shamrock, you might occasionally find them on slot machines.

One type of slot machine that might use the Shamrock is a ‘Luck o’the Irish’ themed machine. These are machines that are decorated with pots of gold, and leprechauns.

These are not the kind of machines where you can use your skills and your intellect to walk away as a millionaire, they’re the kinds of machines that you might spend 10 minutes having a bit of fun on whilst you’re waiting for your friends to arrive.

How to get one

If you want to get your hands on a shamrock, it’s incredibly easy to do.

If you’re after a real one, all you need to do is go on a walk into a field, preferably during the summer time, and within minutes, you should be able to see a collection of clovers.

If you want something that looks like a shamrock, you can either get it from Amazon, or wait until St Patrick’s day and go to any shop. And by any shop, I do mean (more or less) any shop. It could be a food shop, a clothes shop, an art shop or pretty much any kind of shop you can think of.

History of Ireland and the Shamrock

During the Celtic times, Ireland followed the Celtic religion, this was a polytheistic religion. It wasn’t actually until the fourth century that Ireland became a Christian nation.

The reason why the shamrock has come to represent the Holy Trinity is due to our man, St Patrick. He would hold up the clover and ask ‘Is this one leaf or three’?

And the answer was that it was both one leaf, and three. The same was the case with God.

He is the father, and the son, and the holy spirit, but at the same time, still one being.

Why James Bond might not see it

As mentioned earlier, you might see the shamrock on some novelty slot machines, however, it’s very rare to walk into somewhere you could win significant amounts of money, and see the shamrock decorating the walls.

There are a few theories as to why this is the case.

The Shamrock is a Christian symbol. And playing games to win money is not a very Christian thing to do.
Such places like to present themselves as sophisticated and upmarket. Therefore they would not want to be associated with something that fratboys draw on each other after a few too many beers.
Traditionally, the luck it was supposed to bring is good health, not a lot of money.

Conclusion

The Shamrock is a traditionally religious symbol, that has become an incredibly popular symbol of good luck.

Author: Nicole Phillips