Good Luck Charms Around the World
If you’re taking a tuk-tuk in Bangkok and get stuck in the Thai capital’s notorious gridlock, try what the locals use: an amulet of Ganesh, the Hindu god beloved by Thais for his elephant head and known as “the remover of obstacles.”
Every culture has its own superstitions, and its own charms for keeping on the right side of fate. Many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries fear the evil eye, misfortune caused by the envy and covetousness of others. Amulets like the nazar or the hamsa ward off the evil eye, and are often hung near valued possessions or given to loved ones for protection. If, for instance, you’re worried about your valuables in Istanbul, pick up a nazar at the Grand Bazaar.
In feng shui, ba gua mirrors are used to rechannel energy, and Chinese often hang them outdoors to frighten off evil spirits, who catch a glimpse of their ugly mugs and flee.
The charm of these charms is that they are small, pretty, usually inexpensive, and available in markets and shops the world over. They’re an easy way to bring home a bit of local culture. Besides, if your flight gets delayed, it can’t hurt to give that Ganesh amulet another try.
Ideal for warding off covetous gazes in the Grand Bazaar.
Shake a fist (with the thumb tucked in) to say ciao to the malocchio.
Which came first, the chicken Kiev or the egg?
Wear this with even the teeniest bikini to give bad luck a “chili” reception.
A prayer scroll or water from the Ganges can give this amulet its protective power.
In this Middle Eastern state, tell the evil eye to talk to the hand—whether it’s Miriam’s, Fatima’s, or Mary’s.
Paint in one eye on the Daruma doll and make a wish. When it comes true, paint in the other eye and say arigato.
Ganesh Amulet, Thailand
If your tuk-tuk is stuck, this elephant-headed god will remove all obstacles.
Ba Gua Mirror, China
Powerful feng shui: hang outdoors to give malevolent spirits a scare.
Worry Dolls, Guatemala
If you tell these high-country amigas your troubles, they’ll solve them while you sleep.
Keep this “Amish spare tire” pointed up to keep luck from spilling out—or down, to let it flow.
Zuni Fetish, U.S.
The eagle is connected to the sky and creation; the turquoise arrowhead provides protection.