Curious about money superstitions from around the world? I share my own from my 100% Hungarian grandmother, plus lots of others from different countries + cultures.
My grandmother, who happens to be 100% Hungarian (second generation in the U.S.), has this money myth. Whenever she gifts a wallet or a purse, she puts a penny inside of it.
When I was little I asked her about this one day. “Mom-mom, why do you have to put a penny in our new wallets?” (really thinking to myself why not a $1 or a $5? Haha!).
She responded, “Because if you don't the person you're giving the wallet to could have bad luck in money.”
Fascinating. Could this be why I was always so broke as a teenager? I kept that question to myself.
Now as an adult, I'm kind of even more fascinated by these myths around money and luck. Seeing how St. Patty's Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be really fun to research what money-luck myths exist in other cultures (and to maybe track down if my grandmother's money myth is Hungarian, or something picked up from the back of a Lucky Charms box).
How to Score Money Luck in Japan
The white snake is a symbol of Benten, the Japanese goddess of wealth, and many people pray to them for luck in business (hmmm…perhaps I should give this a go the next time I'm at the Houston Zoo). You can either hope for a white snake to magically appear in your purse (seems like that would be about the worst luck in the world), or you could just purchase a white snakeskin purse for the same effect. Your choice.
How to Score Money Luck in Trinidad and Tobago
There's actually an entry in the Oxford dictionary for this money myth. If you find a money spider on you or in your home, you will have wealth and prosperity (yes, the brown spider variety). However, if a grasshopper comes into your home, then you're out of luck with money (though here's a loophole: if he's brown, you're okay).
How to Score Money Luck in China
It is said you can increase your prosperity by correctly placing/bringing into your life any of the following wealth symbols: a money ship, red envelopes with money, Chinese coins, money trees (they do exist, despite what my mother has told me), etc.
How to Score Money Luck in Czech Republic
If you live in the Czech Republic and you don't find a fish scale under your plate or tablecloth at Christmas dinner, you should be very upset as you will not be wealthy in the year to come. Carrying a fish scale in a wallet all year will ensure that money will not run out. Also, the person who does not give a gift on Christmas Eve will face poverty (I wonder if the fish scales count…).
How to Score Money Luck in Thailand
In Thailand during the Chinese New Year, you'll want to attach lucky money to a money tree at a temple. Otherwise you may not have luck in wealth or prosperity. (Funny enough, someone decided to create his own luck around this myth by stealing the money one year).
In my small amount of research — which was really conducted for fun — I did not find a money-luck myth about putting a coin in a wallet specific to Hungary. However, I did find that it's a pretty common money myth that likely came from several different areas of the world (Western Europe seems to be the most dominant).
Does your family have money-luck myths passed down through the generations? Any idea where they originated? I'd love to hear more.