Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

New Year’s card, 1920

Posted on by royvickery |

Card featuring four-leaved clover,  from the Netherlands, sent to an address in Rotterdam, 1920 (postmark otherwise illegible).

Comments on the unseasonable presence of fly agaric, Amanita muscaria, would be appreciated.

Thanks to Gail-Nina Anderson who has drawn to our attention to the Pitt Rivers Museum’s ‘Small Blessings’ amulet project: ‘During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the pig was a popular lucky charm in France, England* and Ireland, as well as in Germany and Austria, where it was – and still is – known as Glücksschwein, ‘good luck pig’ … [associated with] happiness, financial prosperity and good luck’. See

*note by Roy Vickery:  ‘I cannot recall any of my grandparents, great aunts or great uncles, who  lived in rural west Dorset, and were mostly born in the 1880s, ever considering pigs to be lucky.  Perhaps the association of pigs with luck was primarily an urban idea?’

Thanks also to Helen Firminger who has drawn attention to the website More than Beer and Schnitzel, ‘almost everything you want to know about Geman culture and language’, where we are told that in Germany, fly agaric, known as Fliegenpilz (‘fly mushroom’) is ‘a symbol of good luck, possibly because of its eye catching color.  The same goes for the red ladybug [English ‘ladybird’] with its black spots.

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