Lucky Irish Clover



St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and I can already smell the corn-beef and cabbage–a St.Patrick’s Day must in our house. My hubby is half Irish, though with his fair skin and orange beard, he looks more like a giant leprechaun (he really hates it when I call him that *g*). I have always found it interesting that the four-leaf clover is a symbol synonymous for this Irish holiday.Β  While the four-leaf clover is certainly a universal symbol for good luck, the true Irish clover, aka, the Shamrock, is a THREE-leaf clover. St. Patrick himself chose the shamrock specifically because of the three leaves, using the clover as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. I came across a Celtic gift site that had a some great facts on both shamrocks and four-leaf clovers.

The Shamrock: a 3-Leaf Clover, is Ireland’s most recognized National Symbol.

  • In the 5th century when St. Patrick came to convert the Irish information on Christianity could only be spread across the realm from one storyteller, or seanchaΓ­, pronounced shan-a-key to the other.Shamrock
  • In mind of this St. Patrick used to the Shamrock to explain the concept of the holy trinity – that God was composed of three entities – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – yet each entity was part of the other just like the shamrock has three leaves but a single stem.
  • As St. Patrick continued to use the Shamrock in his conversion of the irish it grew, through story telling to be seen as a holy plant, just as he was seen as a holy man.
  • It is for this reason that the Shamrock is worn on the St. Patrick’s day and all other special occasions to celebrate his work and to bring ‘a bit o’luck’ to the Irish and all their children wherever they may be.
  • Before the arrival of the Christians to Ireland the plant was sacred to the Irish Druids because the three leaves formed a triad.
  • The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamrΓ³g or seamair Γ³g, meaning “little clover”.
  • The tradition of wearing Shamrock on Saint Patrick’s Day can be traced back to the early 1700s.
  • For good luck, it’s usually included in the bouquet of an Irish bride, and also in the boutonniere of the groom.
  • In the 19th century it became a symbol of rebellion and began to be strongly associated with Irish identity. Apparently anyone wearing it risked death by hanging. People even ate the shamrock in times of famine.

4-Leaf Clover and Luck:

  • Druids held the 4 leaf clover in high esteem and considered them a sign of luck. In 1620, Sir John Melton wrote: “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.FourLeafClover
  • According to Irish folklore, finding a stem of clover with 4 leaves will bring you good luck, but finding a clover stem with more than 4 leaves will not bring you even more luck.
  • The mystique of the four leaf clover continues today, since finding a real four leaf clover is still a rare occurrence and omen of good luck.
  • One leaf is for HOPE… The second for FAITH…The third for LOVE… And the fourth for LUCK!

As I kid, I spent a ton of time searching those clover patches in the grass for the elusive four-leaf clover. Being a person who believes you can’t have too much good luck, those lucky 3-leaf clovers can come in real handy!

So how about the rest of y’all? Ever found a four-leaf clover in those three-leaf clover patches? Any special St. Patrick’s Day traditions in your house?

Good Luck

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30 thoughts on “Lucky Irish Clover”

  1. Hi Stacey, I’ve never found a four-leaf clover, but I remember looking at the clover that grew in my folks’ yard. I have some Irish blood, but we don’t have any real traditions. Thanks for the bit of Irish history πŸ™‚

  2. Fun blog, Stacey. I never knew the story behind the shamrocks and 4-leaf clovers.
    I’ve found lots of 4-leaf clovers in my lifetime. Don’t know if they brought me luck, but it was fun.

  3. Stacey, this is so neat. Since I’m going to a St. Paddy’s Day party this weekend, this knowledge comes in handy. My family loves to look for 4 leaf clovers. I don’t know if they’ve ever brought us luck but it’s fun to think that they might.

  4. Stacey,

    As a child I did hunt for the 4 leaf clovers all the time. I remember thinking if I could find one then I would have luck.

    Once I found one I kept it in my writing book where I wrote stories as a child.

    Thanks Stacey for making us all think about the clover

    Walk in harmony,

  5. Hi Stacey, like you as a kid i would set in a clover patch and look for four leaf clovers, not sure I ever found one. I knew a lady that could set down and find them all the time, not sure how she did it. I really enjoyed your post! Haven’t thought much about the clover in years, brings back memories!

  6. good information stacey!
    i work in a city that’s about half irish and half german and almost all catholic
    this will be handy info to share with my patients.
    to me, st patty’s day is just about wearing green (i’ve got german lines–but no irish)
    though…also working in the highest beer drinking per capita city in the country (at least that’s what they told me when i moved here), st patty’s day is a big deal

  7. I remember looking for 4-leaf clovers, Stacey. I found a few. Those were simple times weren’t they? I think we’ve lost something when we switched childhood activities from looking for 4-leaf clovers to Play Station.

  8. hi Stacey, great blog. We totally love St. Patty’s. A late family friend was both Irish and born on March 17, so the parties were fabulous: green mashed potatoes, green wine, dare I saw it? Green hair LOL (not mine.) While we don’t get nearly as elaborate around the homestead, we still manage to have fun.

    Yes indeed. I found a four leave closer in a patch of oxalis at our neigborhood park a while back. I even saved it and pasted it into my daily journal.

    I totally agree with Mary. Thanks for a good start to my day! oxoxxo

  9. Stacey, I used to be obsessed with finding a four leaf clover. I never did though. I love St. Patrick’s Day. I have a pair of special that I always dig out and wear. I’ve never gone for the green beer that bars serve on St. Paddy’s Day. It’s a neat tradition though.

    Thanks for sharing so much about the holiday that I didn’t know!

  10. Hi Vickie! Personally, I have no idea if I have any Irish blood–I’m one of those Heinz 57 Americans, little bit of everything, ancestors around since the colonies πŸ˜‰ Maybe that’s why I adopt tradition so easily *g*. I’ve only found a couple four-leaf clovers in all the time I spent searching–way too many hours πŸ™‚

  11. Stacey I have to tell you we always have tons of cornbeef and a little cabbage my tummy don’t like cabbage to well. I usually have to make at least 4 briskets.
    Another tradation is that the leprchaun somes and brings some fairy dust and the kids have to find it and then we wisk it with some milk and have a little desert it is wonderful and there is usually a little note with clues to help them find it. My kids are grown and they still want me to do it, my one daughter has little ones and I have to do it for her. So much fun and so many tradations are fading away.
    You made my day with bring up the clover something we will have to look for if the snow every melts.

  12. Hi Stacey!

    What a fun post. You know, Stacey, as a kid I used to do the same thing as you. I used to look for four leaf clovers in the grass of my yard. I think I found one. πŸ™‚

    Like you, after spending all those hours (what else did I have to do as a kid) — but anyway, after all that time, I decided that I probably make my own luck by simply doing a good as I can and working as well as I can. πŸ™‚

    I loved this post, Stacey.

  13. Thank you, Elizabeth! When I first started noticing Irish symbols, I wondered why those Irish clovers were missing a leaf–surely the Irish should know lucky clovers have four leaves. I was a little miffed to realize three leaves would have worked all along πŸ˜‰

  14. Good info. I remember searching for 4 leaf clovers when I was a kid. I would get so excited when I found one. Why can’t we get that excited as adults over the little pleasures in life?

  15. Love St.Patty’s Day!!! When I was younger I found a few 4 leaf clovers… my fav necklace is a gold 4 leaf clover… I am big on shamrocks!!! πŸ˜‰

  16. Hi Margaret! I hope you have a blast at the party πŸ˜€ I think “good luck” is one of those “believe and you shall receive” sort of things πŸ˜‰

  17. Hi Melinda! Me too! I remember putting the few I found in books to dry and press them…where they likely stayed and turned into lucky green dust πŸ™‚ Thanks for posting!

  18. Thanks, Quilt Lady πŸ™‚ One of the characters in the book I’m writing is an Irish immigrant and his horse’s name is Clover *g* He probably inspired this post πŸ˜‰ I keep telling myself this is my “lucky month”, I’m going to finish the book! πŸ™‚

  19. Hi Tabitha! My hubby is half Irish, half German–grandparents straight off the boats! Talk about a feisty, stubborn lot who love their beer *lol* I think it’s really neat to have such a traceable ancestry. But one day a year we ALL get to be Irish, eh? πŸ˜€

  20. LOL,Linda–I’ve never had green beer either, but did spend endless hours tripping through the clover πŸ˜‰ Bummer you never found a four-leaf clover. All that time we could have just snatched up a bouquet of those three-leaf clovers πŸ˜‰

  21. Brenda, I love that leprechaun tradition!! How fun πŸ™‚ My boys find chocolate clovers sprinkled around the house πŸ˜‰ Only thing better than a four-leaf clover—a CHOCOLATE clover πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing!

  22. We actually did find a few 4 leaf clovers when we were kids. I’d hate to try to look now. If I got down, I’d have a hard time getting back up : )
    We always have Irish soda bread and a corned beef boiled dinner, usually the Sunday near St. Patrick’s Day when the family can get together. We’ll serve Killian’s or Guinness, no green beer, these are too dark. I sometimes fix Irish Coffee Pie for dessert, and we’ll definitely have Irish coffees to finish the night .
    Hope you have a great St. Patty’s Day!

  23. We are half Irish. My dad was from Donegal and we like to get together at a friends Pub and have a good time.. Now he is gone and my mother is in a nursing home, it just doesn’t have the same feeling for me. But there granddaughter keeps up the tradition and celebrates with all her friends and hoist’s one to her granddad…
    Thanks for writing about this and Happy St. Paddy’s Day.

  24. No Irish in my family although on St.Patric’s Day everyone is a little bit Irish here in the melting pot of our country. I have found several 4 leaf clovers and have them pressed in the pages of the book. It is always a surprise if I reread a book and one falls ouut. I feel lucky all over again.

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