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The Lucky Chimney Sweep

Why are chimneys sweeps considered to bring good luck?

Over the years there have been many different theories as to why a chimney sweep is considered to be a good luck omen. Some believe that the luck from a chimney sweep only applies to weddings, whereas others feel that the luck flows from the sweep to many other scenarios.

Whatever the truth is, there's one thing that's certain, you'll need plenty of luck if you don't get your chimneys swept regularly!

The historical theories behind the lucky sweep legend

One of the most popular theories that suggest the sweep is a good luck omen comes royalty! It is claimed that whilst out and about in London, King George II's carriage was dangerously out of control as the drawing horses had bolted. The legend states that out of the many thousands of spectators that were lining the Kings route, only one man took the necessary action to avert a disaster and this man was a chimney sweep. The chimney sweep managed to bring the horses back under control and in doing so, saved the Kings life. The King was so grateful to the sweep that he made a royal decree that stated Chimney Sweeps were from that day forth, extremely lucky and to be held in high esteem.

Some other theories that have been floated over time as to why a chimney sweep is lucky to have as a wedding guest. One rather dubious theory is that it's because the sweep gets rid of dirt and dust, thus allowing for a clean, fresh start to the marriage. This theory has been extended to suggest an even more unlikely idea. This is that a chimney sweep, by sweeping the chimney, causes the air and the environment to be cleaner, which is conducive with better performance in the bedroom.

Where there's muck, there's brass! This saying has been around for years. The saying was mostly used in places like Yorkshire to reinforce the point that where there are dirty jobs to be done there is money to be made. The southern version of this phrase simply replaced the word "muck" with "money".

Although it is likely to refer to any mucky job being lucrative and therefore lucky, it is perhaps understandable that people thought a chimney sweeps job was very dirty, therefore he was lucky to earn lots of money.

The chances are that the real meaning behind this phrase is that brass has been used as the name of copper and bronze coins, and later of all forms of money, in England since at least the 16th century.

The lucky sweep and weddings

Because of the association with good fortune, it is supposed to be good luck, if on your wedding day en route to the Church, you see a chimney sweep. The idea is that if you see a sweep, or even his brush popping out of the top of the chimney, you should make a wish. This is why so many real chimney sweeps have a side line of attending weddings. They can earn good money just by dressing up, turning up and giving the bride a Kiss of Luck and shaking the grooms hand after the wedding ceremony. This is supposed to bring good fortune to the newly married couple.

Other good luck omens

For many thousands of years, people have attributed various things as an omen for either good or bad luck. Most of these superstitions arise from ignorance of scientific or natural facts and also religious beliefs.

The Albatross:

An albatross following a boat is believed to be the souls of drowned sailors. Seeing an albatross while sailing is considered good luck. If they fly around the boat they maybe warning of an approaching storm. Killing an albatross will bring a curse on you for the rest of your life.

Ants:

The common ant superstition is that a person who finds an ant colony near the entrance to their house can expect riches and security. If a group of ants seem frenzied and are seen carrying their eggs to another location this may mean that they predict bad weather. In many countries there is a superstition that killing ants brings on bad weather. A less well known superstition is that eating ant eggs in some honey is a potent aphrodisiac.

Four Leaf Clover:

Some believe that when Adam and Eve where exiled from the Garden of Eden, Eve took a four leaf clover with her to remind her of the happiness, good luck and fortune she had experienced there. The four leaves have been linked by Christians to represent the four parts of the cross Jesus was crucified on. It is thought that only one in 10,000 clovers grow a fourth leaf.

Horseshoe:

The belief that a horseshoe brings good luck maybe due to the shape of the horseshoe itself. When turned on its side it can resemble the shape of the crescent moon, which moon worshippers thought lucky. It also looks like a letter 'C' which some early Christians believed stood for Christ. When held upwards the horseshoe creates a 'U' shape composed of a pair of horns that was variously used as a fertility symbol to attract good fortune and to ward off evil spirits.

The Lucky Number 7

The number 7 has been considered lucky for a very long time and until recently, the horseshoe, another good luck symbol had 7 holes in it. Some think 7 is lucky because the Old Testament says that God created the world in seven days. Some believe it's lucky to have seven children. You'd certainly need plenty of luck with that many children to feed! Other reasons include there being seven seas; seven planets in the ancient world; seven days of the week; seven virtues; seven deadly sins; and the Seven Year Itch which is an ancient belief that life renews itself every seven years resulting in a person searching for new conquests. Even British World Champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer Barry Sheene always wore a number 7 when he competed in races.

Rabbits Foot:

As a rabbit is born with its eyes open, an ancient belief is that it can “see off” evil from its very first moments of life. As the animal is such a prolific breeder it was believed by many to represent fertility, prosperity and good luck.

Salt:

Salt has been used as a food preservative for many years and as such, is a natural enemy of anything that seeks to corrupt and destroy, such as Satan.

Many people believe that throwing salt over their left shoulder will ward off evil spirits or demons that are sneaking up from behind. This practice is supposed to either bribe or blind any advancing demons.

Money Spiders:

Some believe that these tiny little black spiders will bring good luck and financial fortune. All you need to do is to whirl one around your head three times on a length of silk and it doesn't drop off, you will have good fortune.

Chicken Wishbone:

As early as 322BC the Etruscans on the Italian Peninsula used hens in divination and dried the furcula bone in the sun. When dried, two people would place wishes on the bone and break the wishbone in half. The person with the larger piece of bone would have their wish come true. This is where the saying “to have a lucky break” comes from.

So it's not just chimney sweeps that are lucky, but it's still worth giving Ansell Chimneys a call just to be on the safe side.

Further information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 01923 661 614, email us at info@ansellchimneys.co.uk or fill in our free quote form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Ansell Chimneys

t: 01923 661 614

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