From Dolls to Pigs: Don’t Forget Your Lucky Charm When You Next Go Travelling

If you don’t like stepping on the cracks in pavements or won’t walk under a ladder no matter how much you get paid, you may like to take a look at these strange lucky charms from around the world.

They’ve been compiled by and some of them might well have you scratching your head. From the heart of China to Japan and Brazil, there doesn’t seem to a country without its own quirky talisman to ward off evil and protect the wearers from disaster.

Here’s a quick sample of the more obscure lucky charms in the list to whet your appetite:

The Daruma Doll

If you like your horror movies then the daruma doll from Japan might be just up your street. They’re small figures that are bought with blank eyes. If you want to achieve a goal then you paint a symbol for it in one eye. Once you achieve your aim, you then fill in the other eye to complete the charm circle.

The Figa Charm

Not all charms are talismanic objects. Head to Brazil or Peru and you might see the locals curling up their hands with the thumb poking past the index and middle fingers. This is supposed to be a lucky gesture and helps to frighten off evil spirits. You can also find it carved into the odd charm in many South American markets.

The Gris-Gris

Africa has it’s fair share of superstition. The gris-gris is a small soft bag made of cloth which has words from the Koran painted on it. Wearing this around your neck is supposed to get rid of evil spirits and bring you good luck.



You might not think of good luck when you see a pig but many cultures do. In Germany it’s a sign of wealth and prosperity while further north it’s all about fertility. That’s why you’re likely to see plenty of pig toys and ornaments if you travel to Berlin this winter. Pigs aren’t the only lucky charm around the world. In India, it’s elephants and Italians get all their luck from dolphins.

Jin Chan

If you want to create luck and prosperity, the Jin Chan or three legged money toad is a favourite of China. It really needs to have a coin in its mouth though – without that you can end up having all the money sucked out of your home in next to no time.

If you want to see charms from around the rest of the world, check out the infographic here.

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