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LUCK OF THE SCOTTISH; Black cats, horseshoes and heather are still so important.

CHARMING: A ladybird, a black cat and a horseshoe are all believed to bring good fortuneSCOTS are the most superstitious people in Britain, it was revealed yesterday.

Seven in 10 believe that traditional good luck symbols such as white heather are still relevant in today's hi-tech world.

And an overwhelming 75 per cent still hang horseshoes in their home to "catch" good fortune.

But psychologists yesterday claimed so-called lucky charms had no bearing on life whatsoever.

A survey by Bacardi showed that 70 per cent of Scots believe in charms like rabbit's feet and shooting stars, compared to 57 per cent in the south and 50 per cent in the north of England.

Despite their fascination with lucky symbols, only 14 per cent of Scots believe in good and bad fortune.

The survey also showed distinct gender differences, with around half of women and only a quarter of men believing in good luck mementos.

Psychologist Geoff Scobie, of Glasgow University, claims most people cling to old superstitions as habit more than belief.

He said: "People tend to use good luck charms as some sort of insurance.

"They don't know why they follow these traditions but they do. For instance, someone might not put up an umbrella in the house 'just in case' anything bad happens.

"There is such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to superstition. If you believe you are going to have a good day you are more likely to look for good things to happen than bad."

The survey reveals that the horseshoe is Scotland's most renowned symbol, compared to the rest of the UK who have more faith in the four-leaf clover.

Scots are also more likely to wear charm bracelets whereas people south of the border prefer the St Christopher.

Britons have been fascinated by symbols like the horseshoe and black cat for centuries.

Horseshoes became associated with great fortune because they were, in the past, worth a great deal of money and were thought too valuable to throw away.

Black cats have been associated with witchcraft down the ages and it is thought that when one crosses your path, it means the witch is on your side.

Britons are not alone in clinging to symbols and charms, which vary greatly from country to country.

New Zealanders carry a stone carving necklace when away from home; the Chinese display white china cats in their places of work; and the Texans carry the penis of raccoons for good fortune.

Another psychologist, David Lewis believes that people will get more superstitious as we approach the Millennium.

He said: "Lucky charms reassure their owners that good fortune will come to them or bad things be avoided.

"At times of uncertainty, there tends to be significant increase in superstitions and the use of charms.

"Many people believe the end of the years will trigger many disasters.

"With so much uncertainty and apprehension in the air, it is inevitable that people with symbols will cling to them more tightly.

Bacardi have kept their famous bat logo for over 140 years because it is considered a sign of good fortune in Catalonia, the homeland of its creator Don Facundo Bacardi.

OUR FAVOURITES FOR GOOD FORTUNE

Lucky charms

1.......Horseshoe

2.......Necklace

3.......Religious icon

4.......Little Stone

5.......Ring

6.......Gemstone

7.......Clothing

8.......Ornament

9.......Key Ring

10....Heather

Lucky symbols

1.....Horseshoe

2.....Black cat

3.....4-leaf clover

4.....Rabbit foot

5.....Shooting star

6.....Ladybird

7.....Penny

8.....Wishbone

9.....Magpie

10...Spider
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Author:McLEAN, GRACE
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 29, 1999
Words:588
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