Four-leaf clover: the famous symbol of luck
Do you believe in the magical powers of the four-leaf clover? Do you believe that it can bring luck and, if kept in your wallet, it can even help you earn a buck? Its leaves are believed to represent hope, love, faith and luck.
Beliefs aside, we must ask ourselves why there is all this mystical aura about a green and delicate little plant, of approximately 3 centimeters from end to end, that from time to time someone finds in the middle of the bush.
Four-leaf clover and luck
First reason: rarity
Most likely, the “luck” attributed to the possession of this amulet stems from the “luck” that is to find it in nature. After all, how many times have you seen a four-leaf clover in its natural habitat? You may have already found three-leaf clovers in gardens, parks and forests. But what about the four-leaf? Have you ever met it?
Yes, the four-leaf clover is very rare. And whoever finds it can be considered a real lucky, since the most common is to see the normal three-leaf clover. The occurrence of four is rare and results from a genetic mutation.
Plants of the botanical genus Trifolium usually have leaves with three leaflets. So what we call leaves are actually leaflets, subdivisions of the plant’s leaf. The correct thing would be to call the lucky clover “clover with a leaf of four leaflets”.
But there would still be confusion, since the word clover comes from the Latin Trifolium, which means “three leaves”. The famous four-leaf clover is the Trifolium which, after passing through a genetic anomaly, would paradoxically cease to be “tri”.
The chances of you find one of these anomalies so special in nature are low. For every 10,000 three-leaf clovers, there is only one of four. We can call it luck.
Second reason: symbolism of number four
Another explanation that seems quite convincing to us is the mystique surrounding the number four. According to the Dictionary of Symbols, the number four has several meanings:
- It was used by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras (570-495 BC) to refer to the name of God. For him, that number was perfect;
- In numerology, it’s associated with stability, security and solidity. It also appears linked to attributes such as rationality and organization;
- The cross has four points. For Christians, therefore, the four have this additional meaning;
- In the Bible, the four are connected with totality, universality. In the book of Revelation, this number appears in some passages, such as the one that refers to the four horsemen who bring the four plagues;
- In addition to all this, number four appears in the seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), in the elements of nature (water, fire, air and earth), in the phases of life (childhood, youth, maturity and old age) and the phases of the moon.
Possible origin of superstition: a Celtic belief
Four-leaf clover is seen as an amulet in the four corners of the world. Although it’s still a mystery how, when and where superstition arose and later spread.
It’s said that the first to use the four-leaf clover as an amulet were the Druids, priests who had great influence over Celtic society, which occupied part of western Europe from the second millennium before Christ.
According to the Celts, these shamrocks would be the source of magical powers for their possessors, such as the ability to see demons and acquire the strength of the forest.