Why Four-Leaf Clovers Are A Symbol Of Luck & How To Harness Them (2024)

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March 15, 2024

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It's not a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but a four-leaf clover is considered a very lucky find—not in small part because they're so rare. Searching for a four-leaf clover can be fun (and maybe a little frustrating). Just remember that clovers don't need to have four petals to be lucky. Regular, old clovers are also thought to bring you good luck.

Why are four-leaf clovers considered lucky?

The tradition of viewing four-leaf clovers as lucky symbols dates back to the Celtic people in Ireland—and the symbol has really stuck.

Druids (Celtic priests) viewed clovers as signs of good health, body, and spirit. The three-leaf shape of clovers caused them to become symbolic of the connection between land, people, and their sacred responsibility to take care of it, according to Nikki Van Der Car, author of the upcoming book,Forest Magic: Rituals and Spells for Green Witchcraft, which comes out March 19.

If you've ever tried to find a four-leaf clover, you know the search can often be fruitless and a little disappointing. Fortunately, you don't need to find a rare four-leaf clover to experience any of the plant's supposed luck, Van Der Car says.

"Any clover is lucky. It doesn't have to be a four-leaf one," Van Der Car says.

Four-leaf clovers also carry folkloric significance. Someone who finds a four-leaf clover is believed to be more likely to encounter fairies, according to Van De Car.

Additional to luck, clovers are also revered for their resilience and wild, untamable nature, she says. They grow pretty much anywhere, from forest floors to city lawns.

"If you've ever tried to get them out of a lawn, they won't be gotten out," Van De Car says. "They will not be ruled and in that way they're sort of the wildness of the forest."

How do I find a four-leaf clover?

You'll need a lot of time and dedication, but there are worse ways to spend a morning than sitting in the grass searching through clovers.

If you search through around 5,000 clovers, then you're likely to find one four-leaf clover. At least that's what an analysis of millions of clover patches in Europe found.

Those odds may seem small, but if you check clover patches whenever you see them and carefully comb through them, then you're bound to look through 5,000 clovers at some point. (One woman reportedly has plucked over 1,500 four-leaf clovers in her life, finding one every single day for 258 days in a row.)

There's value in the act of searching for a four-leaf clover, especially if you're prepared to handle the possibility of failing to find one.

"If nothing else, it forces you to kind of slow down and sit for a moment," Van De Car says. "There's something meditative about picking through a clover patch."

To find a clover, you have to look really closely. Searching for a four-leaf clover requires you to spend some time up close and personal with nature, sitting in the dirt.

Van De Car has yet to find a four-leaf clover (not for lack of trying). When she was young, she used to worry that it meant she wasn't magical enough. As she's gotten older, she's viewed it differently. She advises to release the expectation of finding out and, instead, appreciate the act of searching.

"I don't need to assign that meaning to it. A four-leaf clover is out there and brushing by me and maybe I didn't register it, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't there," Van De Car said. "Particularly in March, when the weather is just getting warm enough where we can sit outside, it can just be nice to sit in the grass for a little bit."

What can I do with a four-leaf clover?

Tuck it into your shoe: You can tuck a clover into your shoe to "walk around on luck all day," Van De Car says.

Scatter clovers over windowsill: Legend has it that you can scatter clovers along your windowsill to invite a connection with the "mystical unknown," or fairies, Van De Car says.

Place it underneath your pillow: Sleeping with a four-leaf clover underneath your pillow is believed to bring you happiness and luck, she says.

The takeaway

Four-leaf clovers are rare and believed to be a sign of good luck. But fortunately, you don't have to inspect every clover in a patch to find one with four leaves. Clovers, in general, are considered to be symbols of good luck—even with three leaves.

Why Four-Leaf Clovers Are A Symbol Of Luck & How To Harness Them (2024)

FAQs

Why Four-Leaf Clovers Are A Symbol Of Luck & How To Harness Them? ›

Many Celtic traditions were blended with the new religion over the years, and the importance of the clover was one of them. The four-leaf-clover meaning became intertwined with Christianity, so the first three leaves came to represent faith, hope and love, and the fourth leaf, God's grace or luck.

Why are four-leaf clovers considered lucky? ›

The Druids (Celtic priests), in the early days of Ireland, believed that when they carried a three-leaf clover or shamrock, they could see evil spirits coming and have a chance to escape in time. Four-leaf clovers were Celtic charms, presumed to offer magical protection and ward off bad luck.

Is it bad to pick a four-leaf clover? ›

Why are four-leaf clovers lucky? Four-leaf clovers are considered lucky for their rarity. In the Middle Ages, it was believed by some Celtic groups that wielding a four-leaf clover would help you see fairies, as well as ward off evil spirits and grant the holder good luck.

What does the four-leaf clover mean spiritually? ›

The four-leaved clover has been a symbol of good luck and fortune for centuries, but how did it come to be? The belief in the luckiness of the four-leaved clover can be traced back to ancient Druids who believed that it had mystical powers and could ward off evil spirits.

Is it bad luck to keep a four-leaf clover? ›

As you scan the plants, you notice one that's a little different. Instead of three leaves, this one has four -- it's a lucky four-leaf clover! A four-leaf clover, according to superstition, is a lucky charm that can ward off evil, help you meet a future love, lend you good fortune and allow you to see fairies.

How do you get good luck from a four-leaf clover? ›

“Children are recorded in folklore as carrying them in the hope that they could see fairies, and more generally, people carried them in a pre-modern world because they believed it would bring them luck and ward off illness,” says Mike Cronin, the academic director of Boston College Ireland.

What does each leaf mean in 🍀? ›

According to pagan legends, each leaf has a meaning. The first would bring fame, the second leaf would bring us wealth, the third love, and the fourth health. But in the Christian and Catholic tradition each leaf corresponds rather to a virtue.

What is the truth about 4 leaf clovers? ›

Fast Facts About Four-Leaf Clovers

The leaves of four-leaf clovers are said to stand for faith, hope, love, and luck. It's often said that Ireland is home to more four-leaf clovers than any other place, giving meaning to the phrase “the luck of the Irish.”

What should you do when you find a four-leaf clover? ›

If you do happen to find one… keep searching that area! A 2017 survey concluded that around 1 in 5,000 clovers is four-leaved, but they do tend to be found in clusters. Statistically, if a clover plant produces one four-leaf clover, it's likely to produce more of them than normal plants would.

What does a 5 leaf clover mean spiritually? ›

According to superstition, a 5-leaf clover brings good luck to whoever finds one–even more luck than a four-leaf clover. Five-leaf clovers are also said to bring financial and spiritual wealth. They may also signify transitions and new adventures.

Is the four-leaf clover in the Bible? ›

Throughout the centuries we have identified it with good luck and the legend of the four-leaf clover dates back to Biblical years. Subsequent to the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden; Eve took a four-leaf clover with her to remember the splendor and majesty of paradise.

What is the meaning of ☘? ›

The Shamrock emoji ☘️ depicts a three-leafed sprig of the shamrock plant. As the shamrock is the national emblem of Ireland, the Shamrock emoji ☘️ is widely used in association with Irish culture, identity, and heritage, especially on St. Patrick's day each year on March 17.

What does the four-leaf clover mean in a relationship? ›

Each of the four leaves is thought to represent a specific energy such as Love, Hope, Faith, and Luck. Generally a four leaf clover is given as a symbol of balance - in relationship and in life, etc.. It may also be religious or symbolic to the giver.

What is the luckiest clover? ›

The four-leafed clover, or “lucky clover”, is an uncommon variation of the three-leafed clover, and widely considered to be a symbol of good luck. Because they are a mutation, they are rare, and not found in the same abundance as the shamrock, and thus, considered lucky.

How rare is it to get a four-leaf clover? ›

According to The Weather Network, a four-leaf clover is rare, and difficult to find. A quick Google search said the odds are 1 in 10,000, but a 2017 study says chances are much better, with a 1 in 5,000 chance. Inside Science also reported 1 in 10,000 odds.

What is the difference between a shamrock and a four-leaf clover? ›

However, there are a few differences between the two. For starters, shamrocks always have three leaves, while clovers can have a fourth leaf. Shamrocks are usually green, but you can find purple, green or white clover. Finally, shamrocks grow in clumps, while four-leaf clovers are rare and grow one at a time.

What are the odds of finding a 4 leaf clover? ›

According to The Weather Network, a four-leaf clover is rare, and difficult to find. A quick Google search said the odds are 1 in 10,000, but a 2017 study says chances are much better, with a 1 in 5,000 chance. Inside Science also reported 1 in 10,000 odds.

What are you supposed to do when you find a four-leaf clover? ›

The most four-leaf clovers found by an individual is over 111,000 in a period of fifteen years. No word on his lottery winnings. And remember—to find a four-leaf clover is lucky, but give it to a friend and your luck is doubled.

Which is lucky 3 or 4 leaf clover? ›

A fourth leaf is where we get the luck from. The four-leafed clover, or “lucky clover”, is an uncommon variation of the three-leafed clover, and widely considered to be a symbol of good luck. Because they are a mutation, they are rare, and not found in the same abundance as the shamrock, and thus, considered lucky.

Why are four-leaf clovers so rare? ›

Whereas human chromosomes come in matched pairs, clovers have four copies of each chromosome per cell. The gene responsible for four-leaf clovers is 'recessive', which means that the plant will only produce four leaves if it has the four-leaf gene on all four chromosomes, which is a rare occurrence.

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