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History of St. Paddy’s Day Lucky Charms

There is a history and an origin story for many of the lucky charms we associate with St. Patrick’s Day, and it has very little to do with the yummy breakfast cereal of same name.</br></br>So, aside from childhood tales of marshmallow goodness and sugar overloads, what are the real stories behind these tokens and talismans?</br></br><strong>It’s all about the clover.</strong></br></br>The “luck of the Irish” is traditionally represented by the shamrock, or three-leaf clover. Irish lore tells of St. Patrick and how he used to explain the Holy Trinity to his flock, using the clover as a symbol back in the fifth century.</br></br>It wasn’t until much later, in 1620, that a guy named Sir John Melton documented a belief in four-leaf clovers as tokens of luck in the Middle Ages. Now, both three- and four-leaf clovers are considered lucky by the Irish, although most others feel the rarer, four-leaf variety to be the most magically delicious.</br></br><strong>Leprechauns are lucky … if you can catch one.</strong></br></br>Leprechaun legends are super old, dating back to medieval stories told by ancient Celtic tribes. In their most original form, these mythical little men were all about three things: collecting gold, cobbling shoes and pulling pranks.</br></br>As the legends evolved, though, a belief arose that if you caught one it would grant you wishes in return for letting it go; however, chances are slim that it would tell you where to find its gold.</br></br><strong>Rabbit’s feet have Celtic roots.</strong></br></br>It’s no surprise the rabbit foot never made it into our favorite cereal’s lineup of marshmallow charms, although many historians believe it’s of Irish origin and dates as far back as 600 BC.</br></br>The Celts don’t have a monopoly on this one, though, as many cultures over the centuries have imbued dried animal appendages with special meaning. Go figure.</br></br><strong>As for all that other miscellaneous mojo …</strong></br></br>It’s almost as if the Irish have adopted every lucky charm as their own, but there really aren’t too many others that are traced directly back to them. Horseshoes, dragons, stars and other symbols are considered lucky, but have roots beyond the Emerald Isle.</br></br>Even so, a lot of people think luck is what you make of it, so have a happy St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy whatever charms you like – even if they’re only of the breakfast-food variety.
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