If you were lucky enough to not notice, 2016 was a terrible year. From natural disasters to terrorists to politics, it was sure to get you down. And entering 2017, I’m sure that you have high hopes about what lies ahead in the coming months!
But if you don’t. I’m here to help!
Enter the Lucky Cat. This Japanese symbol of luck is sometimes referred to as maneki-neko which translates to “Beckoning Hand”. Don’t be confused as to the Lucky Cat motion, as this is purportedly the beckoning gesture used in Japan (foolish Western thinkers!).
The Story Behind the Lucky Cat:
The stories behind the origins of Lucky Cat are as diverse as the little tokens themselves. But my favorite dates back to seventeenth century Japan, where there was an old run down temple located just west of Tokyo. A poor priest resides there with his only companion, a loyal cat named Tama. The priest did his best to share what little food he had with the cat, but one day there was no food, and the priest snapped on Tama, berating the cat for never contributing to their temple in any way.
The cat flees the begrudging priest taking shelter outside the temple in the pouring rain. An extremely wealth samurai happened to be passing the temple at this time and was taking shelter under a near by tree. Upon seeing Tama outside the temple, the samurai becomes convinced that the cat is beckoning him to come inside. The moment he begins his journey towards Tama lightning strikes the tree he had been sheltering under causing it to crash down in his former spot. The samurai, can’t believe his supreme luck, and takes the beckoning gestures of Tama as a sign of good fortune. He donates all his riches to the temple, and when he passes away has a statue of Tama the “Lucky Cat” made in dedication as a reminder of his life long generosity for her act.
Things to consider when purchasing your Lucky Cat:
There are really two main considerations to have before starting your search for your own personal luck maker. First and foremost the color of your Lucky Cat, it should come as no surprise that different colored cats have different hidden powers:
Black and Orange (Mix) – beckons good luck
White – summons purity and happiness
Black – promotes good health and banishes evil spirits
Gold –inspires wealth and prosperity
Green or Blue – welcomes academic successes
Red – wards off sickness
Pink – invites love and romance
The second major decision, is the paw position. Will your Lucky Cat be left or right pawed. Traditionally most cats are designed to have their left paw in the air (specifically meant to bring good luck to businesses like bars, and social venues). While a Lucky Cat with its right paw in the air is a much more general token of luck, with untold applications! And if your feeling really really unlucky, there is a version that comes with both paws up in the air. This version of the Lucky Cat first became popularized during the global economic downturn of 2008.
And before you become too skeptical, a quick story from the real world. I was gifted a Lucky Cat yesterday, and over the course of the night couldn’t figure out how to make it work, culminating with knocking it off the table during a fitful nights sleep. It lost its arm, and its butt piece. Obviously this is a bad omen.
But I took some time to reassemble trusty Lucky Cat. And about ten minutes into deciding I was going to document the history of Lucky Cat as my topic for the day, I heard a weird very subtle clicking motion.
I looked over. And what did I behold. Lucky Cat had come to life! And as I finish this up, I can feel the clean aura of the room being maintained by my little guardian. But what do you think? Am I being to zen minded, or do these little creatures really have powers that can’t be understood in the scientific way of thinking?