Lucky Horseshoe


“My grandparents on my mom’s side have a horseshoe hung up over the front door of their house. The horseshoe is supposed to both bring good luck and keep away bad luck or curses. It always has to be hung with the ends pointing up, so it can act like a cup to catch the good luck, and if it is hung upside down the good luck will spill out.”

“Do you follow the same tradition? Would you hang a horseshoe over your door?”

 “I don’t know if I would. My grandmother gave me a horseshoe keychain as a gift a while back. I don’t really believe in the superstition aspect of it, but it’s a way for me to feel connected to her so it has become a charm in a way for me.”

Context: My informant is a friend of mine who has Irish heritage on his mother’s side, where he first learned of the horseshoe superstition. He says that no one he knows shares the horseshoe superstition, but that it is more prevalent in Ireland and other European countries. While he does not necessarily believe in the superstition, it is clear that the practice on his mother’s side has made it an important part of the connection to his family. 


The horseshoe superstition described by my informant has an interesting combination of both personal sentiment and cultural tradition. Even though my informant does not believe the superstition and may not continue it, the fact that the superstition was embedded in a gift from his grandmother highlights the deeper importance of superstitions and traditions. By gifting my informant with the horseshoe, his grandmother was using superstition as a way to give good fortune to my informant. This suggests that superstitions can be used to soothe worries and help us feel secure and optimistic for our loved ones. Additionally, my informant’s view of the gift shows the ability of cultural traditions and superstitions to be modified to fit the individual. While more broadly the horseshoe may represent attracting good luck and warding off evil, because it was a gift in good heart from his grandmother, the horseshoe transforms into a symbol of love and family connection between my informant and his grandmother.