Why is the four-leaf clover a universal symbol for good luck? Learn the history and more facts about the unusual green plant associated with St. Patrick's Day.

By BH&G Holiday Editors
Updated February 12, 2020
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Today, four-leaf clovers are a St. Patrick's Day tradition, but they appear in centuries-old legends as symbols of good luck. 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. Children in the Middle Ages believed if they carried a four-leaf clover, they would be able to see fairies, and the first literary reference to suggest their good fortune was made in 1620 by Sir John Melton.

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Fast Facts About Four-Leaf Clovers

  • There are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every "lucky" four-leaf clover.
  • There are no clover plants that naturally produce four leaves, which is why four-leaf clovers are so rare.
  • 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."
  • If you're lucky enough to find a four-leaf clover, look for more! If a clover plant produces a four-leaf clover, it's more likely to produce another four-leaf lucky charm than plants that only produce three-leaf clovers.
  • The fourth leaf can be smaller or a different shade of green than the other three leaves
  • Shamrocks and four-leaf clovers are not the same thing; the word 'shamrock' refers only to a clover with three leaves.

Easy Four-Leaf Clover Crafts

Don't stress about searching for your lucky four-leaf clover. Create your own! We've collected our favorite St. Patrick's Day craft ideas that involve these lucky leaves. Make accessories for the big parade, or go all-out by making something green to wear for St. Patrick's Day. These craft ideas are so easy, you'll want to make them all! Grab the kids and the craft supplies (preferably in green), and start making these fun creations.

Simple Shamrock Desserts

These dreamy green treats are better than a pot of gold. We're sharing our best shamrock desserts, including recipes for festive Shamrock cookies and adorable surprise-inside shamrock cupcakes (this one is so tasty!). Satisfy your sweet tooth with these festive St. Patrick's Day desserts that celebrate the symbol of St. Patrick's Day—no clover hunt required!

Comments (4)

Anonymous
December 17, 2019
I think every leaf on a 4 leaf clover must be exactly the same in size and Design before it will morph to good luck charms the clover I found changed from bright to dark
Anonymous
December 17, 2019
I think every leaf on a 4 leaf clover must be exactly the same in size and Design before it will morph to good luck charms the clover I found changed from bright to dark
Anonymous
March 13, 2019
I have always been very lucky in finding 4 leaf clovers. It is said that I take after my Grandmother, both of us can be walking along and spy one in the clover patch. I lost my Grandmother several years ago just before her 100th birthday. Each time I find a 4 leaf clover, I think of her. I save them all. Grandmother would be proud. I consider them lucky, and if someone questions this I tell them, 'who knows what would have happened to me, had I not collected them all my life.'
Anonymous
March 13, 2019
You admit that 4 leaf clovers and Shamrocks are different, but you confuse the 2 in your article anyway! The shamrock was used by St Patrick to explain the Trinity. A 4 leaf clover has nothing to do with St Paddy's day, even though it may be considered good luck if one finds one on ANY day of the year.