Layne is an active freelance writer. She enjoys staying up to date on trends, media, and emerging topics.
50 Signs and Symbols From Around the World
Do you have a good luck charm? Are you looking for a good luck charm? Symbols and signs of good luck come in many shapes and forms and exist all over the world and across many different cultures. Some of these can be found in nature (plants, animals, insects, etc. that hold symbolic meaning) and others take the form of objects, numbers, patterns, minerals, dreams, natural events, colors, etc.
Whether you are looking for a talisman or a charm to protect you from evil, to cure an illness, to make your wishes come true, or to bring you wealth, discover the 50 most interesting good luck symbols and signs from around the world.
Good Luck Symbols in Nature (and Plants)
In Norse folklore, oak trees are known to bring good luck. The Vikings believed that the god of thunder and lightning, Thor, thought of oak trees as sacred since the trees attract lightning to strike. Since the fruit of the oak tree, the acorn, could survive a lightning strike (and Thor's wrath), Vikings would protect their homes by placing an acorn on the windowsill.
In many folk traditions, eggs represent fertility and rebirth, new life, and potential. Egg-shaped objects and eggs in particular are used to cleanse the body or in ritual to enhance fertility. Eggs can be used to predict the future, encourage a productive year in agricultural, protect family and property, and to ward off evil. In some culture, they are seen as a symbol of wealth. In the 1200s in England, people gave the gift of an egg to their lord.
Is finding a double egg yolk good luck?
According to superstition, if someone finds a double egg yolk in their egg, they will become pregnant with twins.
3. Four-Leaf Clover
The four-leaf clover (shamrock) is associated with St. Patrick's Day and Irish tradition. In nature, the four-leaf clover is uncommon compared to the three-leaf variety, so finding a four-leaf clover is considered extremely rare and lucky. It is also said that Eve carried a four-leaf clover from the Garden of Eden—a symbol of the Holy Trinity. Four-leaf clovers represent faith, hope, and love.
What are your chances of finding a four-leaf clover?
White clover is known for occasionally mutating into having four leafs. Apparently, your chances of finding one would be 1 four-leaf clover in over 10,000 clovers. Some do belief four-leaf clovers are bad luck.
4. Lucky Bamboo
Is lucky bamboo really lucky? Lucky bamboo is a member of the dracaena family and is not actually bamboo. It is a common gift that is representative of good fortune and is fairly easy to grow. The stalks are said to bring luck in the form of happiness, long life, and wealth. Four stocks are considered unlucky. Two stalks are said to represent love.
Is it bad luck if a lucky bamboo plant dies?
Yes—if it dies within the first year it is considered to bring 29 years of bad luck. This is all up to you though—you can choose to believe something else (your life your choice).
Rainbows are absolutely stunning and double rainbows are simply magical. Rainbows have been mentioned in many ancient cultures and appear in religious texts such as the Old Testament. Rainbows often symbolize spiritual awakening, knowledge, and truth. After a heavy rain or storm, rainbows represent beginnings and regeneration. The LGBTQ+ community uses the rainbow flag as a symbol of pride. Rainbows are simply considered a blessing across many cultures. They often represent change.
What does a double rainbow mean?
Double rainbows represent good fortune. In some cultures, the first arc of the rainbow represents the material world and the second art the spiritual realm. Rainbows are thought to be a positive omen—representing change, new beginnings, and spiritual awakening. In some religions the rainbow represents ascension and inner awakening.
Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
Leprechauns are solitary faerie folk in Aos Sí Irish folklore and said to keep their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Whether or not the pot of gold is there or to be found is really up to you.
Lucky Animal Totems
Here are some lucky animal totems from around the world.
Alligators represent conservation of life and wellness of the body. Alligators are thought to bring good luck to gamblers, which is why in some cultures the teeth and feet are considered especially lucky. Alligators are a strong species and a top predator; they are patient and strike when the time is right. They are also likened to dragons, which are known for the armor and prowess, making them a symbol of luck and protection.
Bats are natural pollinators and keep insect populations down. In Chinese culture, the bat represents happiness and joy. Five bats together are considered to represent the "Five Blessings" (long life, wealth, health, love of virtue, and a peaceful death). The word for bat "fu" is a homophone (homophones are common in Mandarin) which also means good fortune; so two bats means double luck. They are known to symbolize death and rebirth.
What does a bat flying in your house mean?
A bat flying in your house might seem scary to some, but it actually is a symbol of protection and safety. Sometimes it indicates that you might be ready for change.
Many bird species are considered lucky. The raven, for instance, was respected by sailors, especially the Vikings as these birds indicated that land was near. Some cultures, however, see Ravens as a bad omen. In the folklore of the indigenous peoples of North American, hummingbirds are considered healers. In Central America, they represent love. Storks are also lucky, and in German folklore, storks are thought to bring babies to homes in baskets with their beaks.
Is it good luck to see an owl?
Owls represent wisdom, knowledge, and intuition. Some believe that owls warn that change will come soon or that an owl comes to collect spirits to help them transition to the afterlife (for this reason they can be seen as bad luck or harbingers of death). In Greek mythology, however, Athena was represented by or accompanied by a little owl (Athene noctua), which represented knowledge and wisdom. It's all in how you look at it.
Dolphins are particularly lucky across many cultures. Ancient sailors at sea believed that dolphins swimming near their ship indicated that land was near. Similarly, watermen and women see them as a sign of good luck as they are known to chase sharks away and may help drowning victims. They are known as protectors. They are revered in Russian, Slavic, Arabian, and Chinese mythology.
Elephants are the largest land animal and carry with them deep knowledge, sensitivity, and majesty. In feng shui, elephants are representative of good luck, wisdom, protection, and fertility (depending on positioning and representation). In Southeast Asia, white elephants represent good fortunate and change. In Hinduism, the god Ganesh has the head of an elephant, and is seen as powerful and authoritative. Elephants are commonly used and depicted in art and are tokens of good luck across many cultures.
Frogs are symbolic of abundance, wealth, friendship, and fertility. The Romans used frogs as a mascot for bringing luck into the home. Symbolically, frogs are tied to rebirth, resurrection, and fertility. In feng shui, money frogs are placed in the home to attract wealth (placed in the "wealth position"). In some cultures, frogs are water spirits and represents emotional transformation. The original people of Australia believe that frogs brought the thunder and rain. In Ancient Egypt, Hekt was the frog goddess and protected newborn babies.
Ancient Celts believed that pigs represented abundance and they were associated with Phaea and Ceridwen (fertility moon goddesses). In the Chinese zodiac, the pig represents honesty and determination, and children born under this zodiac are considered fortunate. In many cultures, pigs were used as honorable sacrifices to the gods and goddesses as they were often linked to fertility, abundance, and prosperity in agriculture (a fattened pig is an indication of good crops and rain). Some cultures, however, view pigs as the opposite.
"Schwein gehabt" in German means "got pig" literally or "got lucky there" and is a common expression of good fortunate—pigs represent wealth and prosperity. Marzipan pigs are gifted for this reason.
Tortoises are terrestrial reptiles and are symbolic in many cultures. They represent creation, steadfastness, Earth, immortality, and wisdom. Tortoises were common in the art of ancient Egypt and the Nile turtle was incorporated in pre-dynastic times in amulets to represent health and prosperity. In China, tortoise shells were used for divination and represent longevity. The tortoise is also prominent in North American lore—the tortoise or World Turtle carried the Earth on its back.
The tiger is considered one of four celestial animals in Chinese philosophy. Tigers are known for their ability to protect, lead, and are strong animals with great courage. Tigers are often depicted in art and are incorporated into jewelry—the white tiger is considered to have feminine qualities and carry the feminine energy. Tigers are the third animal in the Chinese zodiac and represent bravery—their confidence is often used for symbolism in business as they make great leaders.
Turtles are aquatic reptiles and are seen as lucky throughout many regions and cultures. In Hawaiian mythology, green turtles (honu) are considered "aumakua"—a personal family god or an ancestor that appears to protect the family. They are mystical creatures with long lifespans, representing wisdom, longevity, and harmony with the environment around them. Turtles are often used in art, as jewelry, in prints, and designs all across the world. They have also become the poster child of healthy ecosystems. They represent strength, endurance, and bring blessings and good fortune.
Popular Good Luck Carms
Cat's Eye Mineral
Good Harvest, Protection
Here are some lucky insects from around the world.
For thousands of years, crickets have been a sign of good luck for the household—hearing one in your home is a good omen. In many cultures, crickets are regarded highly because of their ability to alert people when danger is near (they stop chirping); they also tell of impending rain. In Europe, it's considered bad luck to kill a cricket.
Similarly, some indigenous tribes of North America believed that the cricket's chirp should not be imitated out of respect. For instance, the Cheyenne believed crickets could foretell the movements of buffalo herds. In dreams, crickets represent introspection.
Dragonflies represent change as they take to the wind. They also hover over water and are thought to connect the waking world and the dream world. If you see a dragonfly in your dream, it is symbolic of renewal, self-realization, change, and transformation.
In some legends of the indigenous people of North America, the dragonfly is symbolic of renewal after hardship and rejuvenation. In Japanese culture, the dragonfly can represent courage and strength. If a dragonfly lands on you, you will have good luck. If one enters your home, it is a reminder to focus on your deepest desires and to be open to change and growth.
What does it mean when you see a ladybug? Many believe a ladybug (sometimes referred to as a ladybird) embodies "Lady Luck" or good fortune and prosperity. To see one in your house is a good omen as they were believed to help farmers in the Middle Ages since they feed on pests like aphids that destroy crops. It is believed that killing a ladybug can curse you with bad luck and that having one around you can cure you of illness.
What do the ladybug's spots symbolize?
In some cultures, ladybugs are common for welcoming a baby (bedding patterns, etc.) and are thought to bring blessings. In Italian, the bugs nickname "commaruccia" means "little midwives." If a ladybug lands on a woman's hand, the number of dots indicate how many children she will have.
Ancient Celts believed that rabbits communicated with the gods since they spent much of their time dwelling underground. This is how the rabbit's foot charm came to be a symbol of good luck and good health. Rabbits also reproduce quite rapidly, so they represent fertility—pregnancy in women and virility in men.
What foot is lucky on a rabbit?
It is thought that the left rear foot is the luckiest. Rabbit's feet help to remind the user to be strong and brave in difficult situations. (Consider obtaining your rabbit's foot in a humane manner.)
Scarabs (beetles) date back to ancient Egypt and represent transformation, immortality, and resurrection. Kephri—the god of the rising sun—was frequently depicted as a scarab beetle. It was said that Kephri rolled the sun to the horizon as a dung beetle does, every day. Scarabs are used in funerary arts and are considered a good luck charm—an amulet/jewelry placed on the heart of the deceased to assist them as they journey to the afterlife.
Superstitions Related to Coins
Jar of Pennies in the Kitchen
Brings good luck
Leap Year Coins
Brings good fortune
Carry a Coin Minted in Your Birth Year
Brings good luck
Receiving Pennies as Change on a Monday
Good luck for the week
Carry a Coin in Your Clothes
Good luck wherever you go
Here are some lucky objects from around the world.
"See a penny pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck. Leave it there, and you'll despair." Many of us have heard of a lucky penny. Some of us, too, have tossed coins into fountains to grant a wish. Some believe finding a penny on the ground that is face up is good luck; if face down, it should be left on the ground. Here's a list of the five luckiest coins to date:
The Five Luckiest Coins
- Leap Year Mercury Dime (United States)
- Silver Sixpence (Britain)
- Five-Yen (Japan)
- Feng Shui Coins (China)
- Silver Dollar (United States)
Dreamcatchers are made of a wooden hoop (usually bent willow) and natural fibers (wrapped in leather), beads, feathers, and Earth elements. It is thought that dreamcatchers originated from the Ojibwa Chippewa tribe and were passed down through marriage and trade. The word for dreamcatcher means "spider," a symbol of protection and comfort. Legend goes that a spider woman was a spiritual protector for the tribe. As the tribe became more and more dispersed, it was challenging for the spider woman to protected children and families so mothers began to create dreamcatchers to protect their families. They are a talisman that was traditionally used to protect people as they sleep.
Note: Out of respect for the indigenous peoples of North America, consider purchasing one that is handmade rather than buying an imitation/mass-produced version in a commercial store. You will be supporting their economy rather than purchasing an appropriated talisman.
Lakota Dream Catcher Legend
Why are horseshoes lucky? Blacksmiths were considered lucky—they work with fire and iron; iron was considered a magical element because it could withstand the heat of fire. Horseshoes also require 7 nails, which further reinstates the lucky number 7. Hanging a horseshoe over the door of a home is also thought to prevent the devil from entering according to lore (the 10th-century legend of Saint Dunstan from which he drove the devil away.)
Which way should you hang a horseshoe?
Some people believe in hanging a horseshoe with the heels up so that the good luck doesn't run out; others hang the horseshoe with the heels down so that the good luck trickles down to the people walking below it.
24. Pot of Gold
A pot of gold is supposed to represent hopes and dreams and happiness. It's very similar to winning the lottery both in material wealth or spiritual wealth. Fairies (leprechauns) were thought to have great wealth and would bury their treasure at the end of the rainbow in Irish lore.
25. Red Lanterns
Red lanterns have been used in Chinese culture for thousands of years. They are representative of good luck. Red is the most common color of lantern as red indicates joy, fortune, and energy. They are often used in instances of celebration. January 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar is the Lantern Festival and celebrates the return of spring. You will find lanterns in New Years celebrations, weddings, and birth ceremonies.
Charms and Symbols and Their Meanings
Protection; Tree of Life; Faith
Here are some lucky symbols from around the world.
Ankhs represent eternal life. They date back to ancient Egypt and were the luck charms of Pharaohs. Gods were depicted as holding ankhs to peoples' lips as an offering of the breath of life that was required to transition smoothly into the afterlife. Ankhs symbolize physical and eternal life, immortality, death, and reincarnation. It is the key to eternal life after death.
An axe represents creation and destruction—thunder, rain, and life. In Hinduism, a twin-bladed axe represents the thunderbolt. Many archaeologists have uncovered talismans in the shape of axes. Some of them were likely worn around the neck. They have been found in pre-Columbian America, the Mediterranean, and Africa.
Circles are symbolic of good fortune. They represent completeness, wholeness, and union. Circles appear in jewelry as rings, as wreaths on the door (in Christianity, representing the continuous circle of life), and are commonly used in architecture. In Chinese culture, the circle represents unity. The expression "coming full circle" means completeness. In Pagan rituals, circles hold great significance in ceremony, hence the magic circle. Full moons also hold such significance.
What does three interlocking circles mean?
In Christianity, three interlocking circles represent eternal life and the Holy Trinity—the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
In ancient Egypt, the crescent moon smybolized Isis, mother of the gods. Eventually, the crescent became a symbol of paradise. The star and crescent symbol dates back to Sumerian civilization and represents the sun god and moon goddess. It was adopted by the Ottoman Dynasty and there it became associated with Islam. It's important to note, however, that the Qur’an does not mention the symbol. The star and crescent does appear in art, jewelry, and on national flags but it is NOT accepted by all Muslims and one should note sensitivity around its use since it is considered pre-Islamic.
The cross is the symbol of Christianity and represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—representing faith, however, its symbolism occurred way before the Christian Era. The Irish Celtic cross dates back to the Dark Ages and has strong roots in Pagan religion. In Catholicism, it is referred to as the Irish Cross. The circle is said to be representative of knowledge, strength, and compassion. Crosses are thought to protect the wearer from evil.
Why are fingers crossed for good luck?
You can also interpret crosses in another way. Crossing the fingers is a superstition that evolved from European Christian culture. The cross, being considered a symbol of unity, could be represented with the crossing of the fingers to manifest luck.
31. The Hand
The symbolic meaning of the hand is an expression of blessing. Aristotle believed the hand was the tool of tools, offering strength and protection. It can also be representative of good hospitality. The Hamsa hand is one of the most popular good luck symbols in the world. It is thought to protect the user from negative energy and jealousy. It is a palm-shaped amulet found in the Middle East and North Africa on jewelry and designs. It is the open right hand and is thought to defend against the evil eye. This amulet is a protective sign in all faiths and is thought to bring happiness, luck, health, and fortune.
Is the left hand the Devil's hand?
In many religions, the right hand is favored as the hand of God (Christianity). The left hand is considered the hand of judgement. Left-handed individuals were formerly seen as sinister, since the word left literally translate as such. Many left-handed individuals were accused of witchcraft in the Middle Ages.
Nowadays, rational people know that left-handedness simply comes down to biology. Unfairly, left-handed people still face discrimination in the form of everyday activities as most commercial items and spaces are designed for right-handed individuals.
Feng Shui Money Frog Placement
In many cultures the heart represents love. Greeks believed the heart was the center for reason, thought, and emotion. In Roman Catholicism, it is believed that the "Sacred Heart" represents God's love. The upside down triangle is also thought to have contributed to symbolism of the heart. Seeing hearts in nature—in the clouds and in patterns—might be a positive omen to open your heart to possibility. In the Qur'an, the heart is extensively used in narration and carries huge importance.
Horned necklaces are considered symbols of good luck. In Italian culture, horns make a lucky charm called a cornicello. The cornicello is symbolic of the creatures that were considered sacred in ancient Europe (faunus, from Ancient Rome; cernunnos, from the Celts; selene, from Greece). It protects against the evil eye, encourages fertility, and prosperity, and is said to aid in connection to one's heritage.
Keys have been considered good luck charms for centuries and are symbolic of unlocking the heart. Three keys symbolize wealth, health, and love. Dreams of keys might indicate being open to new opportunities and ideas. A superstition for Jewish midwives is to place a key in the hand of a woman who is actively giving birth to ensure a safe delivery. In Eastern European culture, keys were also thought to prevent bad dreams and bring only good dreams. In Japan, three keys tied together offer health, wealth, and love to the wearer.
Egyptians placed ladders in the tombs to help the souls of the dead ascend to the heavens. The ladder was worn as a protective talisman by the living and the dead. Egyptian mythology reflects that Osiris had difficulty reaching heaven, so he was given a ladder by Ra. 5,000 years ago Egyptians regarded the triangle as sacred, therefore, to walk under a ladder leaning against a wall would bring bad luck as it violates the sacred form.
What does walking under a ladder mean?
Walking under a ladder is thought to bring someone bad luck, but this is just a superstition. This superstition dates back to Medieval times and the ladder was associated with death—you can do your research. Some people engage in a spitting ritual to remove the bad luck acquired from walking under a ladder.
Triangles have always held mystical significance and they have been used in charms and amulets. They represent the cycles of life—birth, maturity, and death and help form a junction between humans and gods. The Egyptians used triangles to create the pyramids and as such they symbolize good luck due to their strength (any weight placed on them is evenly distributed). A triangle pointed up is symbolic of a strong foundation. Sometimes triangles are used to represent feminine and masculine traits—the triangle pointed up (masculine), the triangle pointed down (feminine). Triangles are a great sign of strength.
The wheel is especially symbolic of cyclic existence and it also symbolizes perfection in the Buddha's teaching. The Dharma Wheel, Dharmachakra, or Wheel of Dharma is sacred to the teachings of Buddhism and other religions. It represents the path to attaining enlightenment and nirvana. Many are depicted with 8 spokes and are gold in color; each component of the wheel holds deep meaning. The wheel is also found in depictions of Vishnu in Hinduism.
Lucky icons from around the world.
38. Chimney Sweeps
Chimney sweeps represent happiness, wealth, and luck. Old English legend has it that King George was riding his horse in a royal procession when a dog darted out from the crowd, startling his horse and almost throwing him. A poor chimney sweep caught the horses' halter just in time and soothed the horse, essentially saving the king from being thrown.
39. "The Laughing Buddha" or Budai
The "Laughing Buddha" (Hotei) is a semi-historical Chinese monk who is also embraced in Japanese culture and known for a jolly nature and good personality, which is why he is depicted as always laughing. The Laughing Buddha brings wealth, happiness, abundance, and contentment. This symbol is considered auspicious and joyful and makes for a great gift if gifted with thought.
Hopi katsina figures (tithu or katsintithu)—also relevant to the Pueblo and Zuni nations—are figurines formed from cottonwood root and are often used to teach young women about katsinas—immortal spirit beings that bring rain. They are displayed in the home and in sacred spaces and are thought to bring luck to the family in the form of a good harvest, rains, and protection from weather events.
41. Saint Christopher
Catholic people often place a Saint Christopher medal in their car, purses, suitcases, or carry one in their pocket. Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travelers; he is depicted as carrying a child over his shoulder and walks with a staff. The medal is thought to bring blessings to those traveling and protects people from storms, floods, and natural events.
Symbols and Numbers
Lucky symbols and numbers from around the world.
42. The North Star
The North Star is also known as the Nautical Star and offers guidance to sailors at sea and travelers. It's also know as the Star of Bethlehem, which guided the Three Wise Mine. The Old Testament paints the starry sky as representing the children of Abraham, which directed people to the promise land.
43. The Evil Eye
The evil eye is famous in many cultures—it wards off evil and is popularly worn as an amulet, in jewelry, and place as tokens around the house. Carrying the evil eye or wearing it actually protects from the Evil Eye itself—as if a mirror reflecting/repelling the negative energy (jealousy) away from the user. This is a powerful protective amulet and is commonly found in Mediterranean countries.
44. Lucky Number 7
Seven is considered a lucky number in many cultures and religion. In Christianity, 7 represents self-sacrifice and virtue and is often referred to in scripture (the seven lamps of the temple, seven wise and seven foolish virgins, Christ's feeding of five loaves and two fish). Early Christianity taught to believe in God's seven gifts (wisdom, understanding, honor, glory, blessings, strength, and godliness). It is thought too, that the seventh son and the seventh daughter have gifts: to heal and to interpret dreams (respectively).
Objects That Are Good for Making Wishes
Lucky objects that are good for making wishes.
45. Wishing Wells
Wishing wells encourage the common tradition of tossing a coin or a token of good luck into a fountain to make a wish. In many ancient civilizations, offering gifts to a well meant that it would never run dry—this was true of the ocean, too. Ancient cultures often offered tributes to the ocean waters in the form of gifts. In Rome, it is common to offer three coins to the sea.
A wishbone (often from a turkey) is a common token for making a wish. The rule goes that if two people tug on the ends of a wishbone, whoever winds up with the larger piece will have their wish come true.
47. Stray Eyelash
The stray eyelash serves a similar purpose as wishbone. Simply collect the stray eyelash on your finger, make a wish, and blow it away.
48. Shooting Star
"Star light star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may I wish I might, make the wish I wish tonight." Stars are made for wishing! To see a star falling from the sky is a magnificent event. It's simply breathtaking. For the seer, simply make a wish after witnessing a shooting star and send it into the universe.
Lucky gems from around the world.
49. Cat's Eye
Cat's eye or cymophane is a particularly lucky stone. It's thought to remove all obstacles and pave the path towards a smooth live. It protects the user from spirits, negative influences, and the Evil Eye. When it comes to gambling, it protects the user from losing one's fortune in business and finances and protects wealth.
Sapphires have been seen as lucky since ancient times. The Greeks believed that wearing sapphire honored the gods. In some cultures of the ancient Middle East, sapphire was thought to possess supernatural powers. Sapphires are the birthstone of the month of September—bringing extra luck to the people of that birth month. It is also known to protect people's wealth and to ward off envy.
Share Your Favorite Charms and Rituals
Do you have a good luck charm or something relevant to your culture or religion that you find lucky? Share it in the comments below! If you find any information that is in need of correction, please share this as well.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Layne Holmes
Ethiran on July 12, 2020:
My name ethiran good job coiming
Chill on June 28, 2020:
hi, I did not post my real name, but I really liked this article.