Have you ever thought of a pig as bringing good luck? What about a bat , do they seem more to bring good luck or cause bad luck? Depending on your beliefs, the pig, bat, and sheep mean different things to different cultures with traditions that have lasted centuries.
Germans see pigs as good luck symbols and it’s not uncommon to receive a marzipan pig as a gift, especially during the New Year’s Eve holidays. Interestingly, after Christmas dinner, some families living in New York during the 1880s would share a hard candy pig (peppermint flavored) with one another with the hope that good health and wealth would follow them into the next year. However, not everyone saw the pig as good luck. Fisherman from North East England saw swine as bad luck and under no circumstances would they allow a pig onto their boat. This belief was so strong that if a fisherman spotted a pig on his way to work, he would turn back and go back home. People weren’t even allowed to utter the word ‘pig’ while on a vessel. If someone had to mention the animals, they were called ‘gissies.’
The Chinese and the Poles view the bat as a sign of long life and happiness , basically they are seen as a good omen. On the other hand, others see the bat as a bad omen, and believe it is the manifestation of a witch, ghost, the Devil, and one of the most common fears , Dracula. It all depends on the tradition. For some, if a bat flies three times around the house, it is considered a death omen. On the other hand, if a bat comes out early and flies about in a playful manner , it is believed that good weather will come in the future.
Folklore has it that if you meet a flock of sheep while on your travels, you are in for good luck. Some people look to sheep to indicate the coming weather. If they are peace and lying still in a field, then good weather is coming, but when rain is in the forecast, they seem restless and start making noise for no apparent reason. If sheep gnashed their teeth while being round up in the fall season, it was believed that the winter would be hard.
In the world of natural cures, some parts of sheep were used to heal (like the lung of a sheep), which was placed on the feet of an individual battling a bad case of pneumonia. It was believed that this technique removed the disease from the body. If bitten by an adder, people were wrapped in the skin of a freshly killed sheep. A diagnosis of whooping cough in children meant that they were probably subjected to the breath of a sheep if their parents believed in folk cures.
Ward off rheumatism by carrying the knucklebone from a piece of mutton , a preventative charm people placed in their pockets. Protection from bad luck and evil spirits often came from a certain T-shaped bone found in the head of sheep.