by Morgan Collins
St. Patrick’s Day is on its way bringing corned beef and leprechauns. Many who feel lucky will go kneeling on the grass in search of the special four leaf clover that will heighten your luck for the day. A question presented by many is how the four leaf clover came to be and why it is such a renowned symbol of luck.
The chance of anyone finding a four leaf clover is monumentally low. There are approximately 10,000 three leaf clovers for every one lucky clover. There are also no clover plants that naturally produce four leaves. In Irish culture, it is said that the four different leaves stand for hope, faith, love, and luck. This is why finding that fourth petal for luck is so important. It has also been noted that Ireland has a bigger population of four leaf clovers making it easier to find one. This is where the phrase “the luck of the Irish” comes from and why clovers are so popular in that country.
In the days of early Ireland, they believed that clovers with only three leaves were bad omens bringing evil spirits towards them. However, they found that when carrying a four leaf clover, they could see the evil spirits coming and escape in time. Afterwards, the four leaf clover was used as a Celtic charm to ward off bad luck. People would put clovers in food, braid them into girls’ hair, and even lay them at their children’s bedside. In this era, children also liked to carry around the lucky plant in hopes they would be able to see magic and fairies. Soon after, literary works began to arise proclaiming the luck of the four leaf clover. The first was by an English merchant named Sir John Melton in 1620. He wrote, “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.” Over time the stories and writings built up leading the four leaf clover to be a public symbol for the March holiday.
Now that you know the rarity of a four leaf clover don’t give up hope. If by chance you are lucky enough to find the special plant, keep looking. If a clover plant produces one clover with four leaves, it is likely to produce even more four leaf clovers so you can increase your luck. So get out and search for your lucky clover and maybe you could receive the luck of the Irish.