What’s Your Lucky Number?

Nearly everyone has a lucky number. It may well be seven but all the numbers associated with luck – and bad – have many different origins. Despite this, very many people will choose seven as the number they associate most with good fortune and choose 13 as their most unlucky digit.

The Significance of the New Year in Folklore

New Year’s festivity dates back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon, connecting religion and mythology. In ancient Babylon, the new moon following the vernal equinox, when, in late, March an equal amount of sunlight and darkness are present, marked the New Year. The vernal equinox represented the rebirth of the natural world.

Lost Mines and the Secret of Getting Rich Quick

old! The very word fuels the imagination. And when that furnace is stoked, folklore is not far behind. Legends of lost mines are at the heart of traditions inspired by gold, greed and dreams of sudden wealth. Tales of mines won and lost are international, but they are especially common in the West of the […]

Tanuki: Mischief, Magic and Change in the Japanese Countryside

The Japanese raccoon dog or tanuki, a shape-shifting, hedonistic and jovial trickster, has always lived in the borderlands between human settlement and the wilderness

Protection from Evil, Bad Traffic or Bears: Omamori in Japanese Culture

Although their origins lie in Japanese folk traditions, omamori are still a popular sight throughout Japan. The word itself, 御守り, doesn’t have a direct translation into English, but they are protection charms – usually for sale within both Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines – which are said to contain spirits.

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