Thursday, December 31, 2015

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 227

 Happy New Year postcard, ca 1930s

Happy New Year!  Above is a vintage German made novelty postcard from the 1930s that was sent to Petra Lee from her friends, Mr. & Mrs. Rier who were living in San Francisco.  The message on the reverse says:  “Dear Friends, We wish you all a happy New Year also Mr. & Mrs. Lorik [Lorig – Mrs. Lorig was Maggie Landaas Lorig, Petra’s sister] from your friends Mrs. & Mr. Rier 1510 – 16th Avenue South, S.F. Calif.”

It was easy to see that the four-leaf clovers were meant to convey good luck for the coming year and the baby represents the new year but what about the ladybug and the pigs?   Is there more to the card than just a Happy New Year greeting?  As it turns out there is a lot going on in the picture. 

Ladybugs sometimes called Ladybirds are considered extremely good luck and are found in German, Italian, Russian and Turkish lore.  The darker the red color the better the luck, count the spots and more spots mean more months of good luck coming your way.   In the middle ages ladybugs were considered a symbol of protection.  One story is that farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help to get rid of aphids that were destroying their crops.  She is said to have sent thousands of ladybugs to annihilate the pests.  Ladybugs are still used as a talisman for safety and protection against all harm.  Ladybugs are also thought to be especially lucky for babies and shower a baby with blessings.  Notice the New Year baby is reaching toward the ladybug in the picture.  The ladybug also symbolizes love, joy and prosperity, making ladybug images a happy gift indeed. 

Four leaf clovers are one of the most common symbols of good luck and are prevalent in Irish and Celtic lore.  The four leaves can represent hope, faith, love, and luck or fame, wealth, love, and health.  The chances of finding a four leaf clover is about one in ten thousand.  One Christian legend tells of Eve bringing a four leaf clover with her when she was expelled from the Garden, anyone lucky enough to possess a four leaf clover has consequently a piece of the blessed Paradise.  A person who carries a four leaf clover is thought to have the ability to see fairies, recognize witches and evil spirits, and be protected from the evil eye.  In 1620 the English writer, John Melton, wrote:  “That if any man walking in the fields, find any foure-leaved grasse, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.” 

The pig as a good luck object is found in Chinese and German cultures.  It is a symbol of good luck, prosperity and wealth.  In Chinese mythology the pig represents honesty, tolerance, diligence and initiation.  The Germans believe the pig signifies that good luck is close at hand.  Chinese and European cultures believe that charms made in the shape of a pig have the power to bring good luck since the pig is a symbol of riches and wealth.

End result?  This postcard is a most auspicious greeting for the coming year!  May we all enjoy a lucky, peaceful, prosperous year ahead.

For more about good luck charms, see:

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