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Why Do We Cross Our Fingers For Luck?

A person shuts their eyes and crosses their fingers for luck.
Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock.com

You’re hoping for your luck to turn, waiting for something good to happen, or you’re taking a chance on something and hoping it pays off. What do you do every time? If you cross your fingers, you’re definitely not alone. It might be a silly gesture, but many people do it for luck.

But, have you ever thought about why we cross our fingers for luck?

There are actually two theories regarding the origin story of finger-crossing. Both date back further than you might expect!

The first theory is that it began in Western Europe. People used to wish on crosses because they thought the intersection created a powerful concentration of spirits. Eventually, people began crossing their fingers as a way to show support for someone else’s wish. But, when they realized they could do both the wishing and finger-crossing, they began to use it as a way to support their own wishes!

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When you think about it, that’s not much different from what we do today, especially if you’re superstitious.

The second possible origin dates back to early Christianity. Christians who were persecuted for their faith developed various hand gestures to communicate with each other. One was a “fish symbol”, created by touching thumbs and crossing fingers.

The only issue with this theory is that it doesn’t really tie in the “luck” factor.

No matter what you believe, it’s interesting to see how people have used finger crossings for centuries to symbolize luck, hope, and wishes. It’s one of those unique gestures that has stood the test of time without changing the meaning too much.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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