Lucky Pennies


L: “So for luck, your godmother [T], from the Massachusetts area, came from somewhat of an Irish background and she had a tradition of throwing pennies. She would throw pennies in everywhere, whether it was your house, whether it was your room, whether it was in a card she closed, whether it was in a car…”

Me: “For a moment I thought you were going to say a fountain.”

L: “She would throw it into a fountain, but she was not limited to fountains. Believe me. You know, drawers, rooms, books. And her tradition, which I believe is an Irish tradition, is that you throw pennies into the area you want so that you are blessed with good luck and good fortune and no lack of money. So basically, it’s a good luck charm. And to this day, you can even verify it with dad that we’ve found pennies in every corner of her townhouse.”


L is my mom. Her close friend, T, who is also my godmother, was of Irish lineage. L learned this tradition from T in her 30s and while T practices this tradition a lot, L did not. When asked why she responded, “Because I had the annoyance of picking them all up.” When asked about interpretations L said T believed placing a penny causes good luck in that area compared to the belief of picking up a penny for good luck on the day it was picked up. T would never pick up a penny she found and considered it bad luck if someone did.


Hearing about this tradition was interesting as I am personally used to the “If you pick a penny up, all the day you’ll have good luck.” This is the opposite with a giving penny tradition. Online there are various traditions about lucky pennies, and many specifically Irish ones too (Some listed here: I can’t find anything exactly like what T did but there are the older traditions of wishing wells and fountain pennies, some where if animals were sold as a market the buyer would give the seller back a penny that would become a lucky penny, and more. Abiding by such a tradition as T’s shows one’s giving nature and some belief in superstitions.