Toward the years end in Germany all kinds of good luck charms emerge on shelves of candy shops and in department stores all over the country. Favorites are made out of chocolate or marzipan sometimes called persipan.
The most favorite is the Glücksschweinchen (lucky piglet) which is shown in all sizes from wee little, to a two pound size, rosy in color and very lifelike, sometimes with a ribbon or bow around its neck on which dangles a four leaf clover or a horse shoe.
The horse shoe and the four leaf clover can be found there also, made out of chocolate or Marzipan in true color and in different sizes. Chimney sweeps are available nice and black with a top hat and a little ladder. When you see a real chimney sweep in Germany on the street or coming to your house make sure you touch him, because that assures you, that luck will be with you.
To have a good luck charm at the beginning of the New Year dates back to the very early tribes of Germany, who considered the pig a sign of good luck. On a farm or in a house where pigs were raised it was a sign of well-being and insured the family of always having food for the year to come. Pig bones were even buried in the clay walls of houses being built for good luck. In some areas of Germany one believes that when you eat blood tongue on an empty stomach on New Year’s morning that this assures you of health for the whole year.
Many homes in Germany have a horseshoe hanging over the door, which is also considered a good luck charm. If you would find one in the street the belief was that it was lost by a horse of the “Wilde Horde” (wild herd), which were heard riding in the sky on stormy nights and would bring you luck. Many people wear one of gold or silver on a little chain around the neck, or as a charm on a bracelet.
Lady bugs are also good luck charms and are given to the children made out of chocolate with a colorful red foil wrap, complete with black dots and tiny little legs of cardboard.
The green four-leaf clover is one of the most favorite of the good luck bringers. It is available in Chocolate, Marzipan, shaped like bottle with green Schnapps or growing in a flowerpot. People believe if you eat one, do not pick it with your hand, but with your teeth to bring good luck. Other beliefs are if you put one in the shoe of someone you have your eye on, he will always come back to you, or sewn in the hem of the bridal dress it will bless the bride with children. If one puts it in a book, it will make the person reading it very smart. In Christian lore, the four- leaf clover is said to have special strength because of its cross-like shape.
It is amazing how these charms and beliefs followed the settlers of America from the old country, and so many people still believe in them to this day.