7 Fun Facts About Four-Leaf Clovers to Get in the St. Patrick's Day Spirit
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.
Today, looking for four-leaf clovers is a St. Patrick's Day tradition, but have you ever wondered why they're considered lucky—or how they came to be associated with the holiday? It turns out, the story behind the clovers dates back to hundreds of years before we began drinking green beer and pinching friends who didn't wear green on the holiday.
Four-leaf clovers commonly 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.
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.
Related: Things To Do on St. Patrick's Day