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FAZ: Good luck for 2005!
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: December 31, 2004 07:44AM ;

Now that the chocolate Santas, angels and snowmen have disappeared from the
shelves of the supermarkets they've been occupying since September, new
faces and figures have appeared on the scene in my local store: fuzzy little
chimney sweeps stuck in pots of four-leaf clovers, plump little pigs made of
marzipan with a one-cent piece stuck in their backs, chocolate ladybugs,
along with other objects such as little porcelain red-capped mushrooms and
horseshoe charms. Not to mention the little trinkets made of lead ready to
be melted down on New Year's Eve.
Faced with the abundance of these lucky charms, I decided to investigate why
these objects have become mainstays of any decent German New Year's Eve
party. I was in store for some surprises. Take the one-cent piece, the lucky
penny - now this one seems fairly obvious, right? A piece of money becomes a
token to assure financial happiness in the coming year. But there's more to
it, as I found out. The copper in the coin is commonly associated with
Venus, the goddess of love, and therefore should increase the bearer's
lovemaking abilities - an ancient aphrodisiac, if you will. Lucky pennies
were also once nailed on stable doors to keep away witches. Carried in your
pocket the penny is supposed to ward off sham and deceit in your business
dealings. Now that's more than you can ask from a Viagra pill, if you ask
The Fliegenpilz, a red-capped mushroom dotted with white spots, has long
been associated with witchcraft and sorcery in Germany - good powers to have
on your side for the new year. The chimney sweep, on the other hand, has a
more practical background. A clean chimney was vital to villages and town
centers with wood-constructed buildings: one single fire could easily wipe
out an entire settlement. And the pig has been a symbol of fertility and
wealth for centuries in many cultures. The Germanic goddess Freya was also
known as Syr, which means sow, and the wild boar was a holy animal among
Germanic deities.
So when you look a sugar piggy in the eye tonight or spot some mushrooms in
your host's table decoration, rest assured you now know their origin. And
don't forget to put that lucky penny in your pocket.

FAZ Dezember 2004 by Elizabeth Goetze

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