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Four-Leaf Clover Meaning

What is the meaning of four-leaf clover?

The four-leaf clover became a symbol of luck with the four leaves meaning faith, hope, love and luck. St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, used the shamrock to explain the Holy trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with the fourth leaf meaning the Grace of God.

The earliest mention of "fower-leafed or purple grasse" is from 1640 and says that it was kept in gardens because it was "good for the purples in children or others". A description from 1869 says that four-leaf clovers were "gathered at night-time during the full moon by sourcesesses, who mixed it with vervain and other ingredients, while young girls in search of a token of perfect happiness made quest of the plant by day". 

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The Druids of Ireland believed that when they carried a Shamrock (3 leaf clover), they could see evil spirits. Four-leaf clovers were celtic charms used to ward off bad luck. Children in the Middle Ages believed if they carried a four leaf clover, they could see fairies.

The first literary reference to four-leaf clovers and their good luck was in 1620 by Sir John Melton. He wrote, "If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing."

There have been many cultures that believe in the magical power of four-leaf clovers. In ancient Egypt it was customary to give a four-leaf clover to bless the union of a new couple, as a symbol of eternal love.

Legend describes the four-leaf clover was a plant that grew in abundance in paradise where Adam and Eve lived. After being banished from Eden, Eve took a small clover with four petals, to help her reveal before her eyes, invisible demons, evil beings that otherwise she was not able to see. This clover gave her protection and a blessing when facing the terrors of the world. Later, after the coming of Christ, it was given the symbolism of the Holy Cross as a symbol of nature, blessing with love and prosperity.

Is it bad luck to keep a four-leaf clover?

It's not bad luck to keep a four-leaf clover. There are many plants that are said to bring bad luck if picked and kept. A lot of this can be linked to the poisonous nature of some plants however, there's no records of clover being said to bring bad luck. A lesser known fact about four-leaf clovers is that they aren't the luckiest symbol after all. Irish legend indicates that those who find a five-leaf clover will actually have more luck and financial success than those who just find a four-leaf clover. Some claim that six leaves brings fame and seven leaves brings longevity.

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How rare is a four-leaf clover?

it is believed that one in every 10,000 clovers are four leaved. If you're in a field full of clover, you can find that many clover in a 3x4ft area. So it is possible to find a four-leaf clover. It's said that Ireland is home to more four-leaf clovers than anywhere else, creating the phrase "Luck of the Irish". With luck and patience, look for them in meadows and gardens.

Is a four-leaf clover a myth?

Four-leafed clovers are not a myth. Like blond hair and blue eyes, the four-leafed clover is a recessive trait in the white clover plant. For a stem to have four leaves, it must have inherited the recessive trait from both of its 'parents'. The recessive trait that produces four leaves can also result in more than four leaves. The clover with the most leaves ever recorded was found by Shigeo Obara of Japan. In 2009 he found a white clover with a massive 56 leaves! If you're lucky enough to find a four-leaf clover, look for more. They can often be found together because of the recessive trait growing locally in the area.