TUESDAY TRIVIA: Why Are Horseshoes Considered Lucky?

Horseshoes are associated with good luck; however, there is debate about how to use them to attract it.

Why are horseshoes considered lucky?

The lucky horseshoe is part of Irish folklore; however, there are two stories about why they are considered lucky.

One story in ancient folklore says small-framed “fairy folk” existed during the Stone Age across what is now Northern Europe and the British Isles. The little people were accused of causing many misfortunes among the settlers, from casting spells to prevent cows from giving milk and chickens from laying eggs to causing infertility in couples. It was believed that the they feared the metal weapons of their enemies and were afraid of iron. So, to ward off these little people, settlers hung iron horseshoes over their front doors.

The second story is that in the 10th Century, Saint Dunstan (a blacksmith at the time) was visited by the devil. The hoofed devil asked for a horseshoe, so Dunstan used iron nails to secure a red hot horseshoe tightly on one of his hooves, and the devil howled in great pain. The devil begged for Dunstan to remove the hot shoe, and Dunstan agreed under one condition—the devil must respect the horseshoe and never enter any place where one was hung above the door. Because of this, people believed that the horseshoe could keep evil spirits and bad luck out of their homes and bring in (or keep in) good fortune.

As for how to use horseshoes to attract good luck or fortune, some believe that a horseshoe with the two ends pointing up collects good luck and keeps it from falling out, while others say the two ends should point downward so that luck pours onto those who walk through the door.