As tattoo designs and symbols, the shamrock and four-leaf clover are very popular with Celts of Irish descent. In fact it is hard to imagine a St. Patrick’s Day without Shamrocks and Four-Leaf Clovers to accompany Leprechauns and green beer.
When St. Patrick traveled to the Ireland to convert the native peoples to Christianity, he used the local beliefs and the Shamrock leaf to illustrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland. St. Patrick taught that the one true God was divided into three: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, when preaching Christianity to the Irish people – just as represented by the shamrock.
The Shamrock and Four-Leaf Clover are universal symbols of Ireland all over the world, a symbol of being of Irish descent and in the case of the four-leaf clover, a potent symbol of luck or good fortune. Interestingly enough, both shamrocks and four-leaf clovers are one in the same – with a crucial difference – and have a symbolic tradition that goes back many thousands of years, spanning both the periods of the Druids, the Celtic Tribes and the modern era of conversion to Christianity.
In some respects the Shamrock is similar to our adoption of the northern European pagan practice of using evergreen trees at Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ during Christmas celebrations.
When we refer to Ireland as the Emerald Isle, we are referring in part to the rolling hills and dales that are blanketed with the many species of clover or shamrocks that are indigenous to the countryside. The Shamrock, which is a Three-Leaf Clover, is Ireland’s most recognized National Symbol, others of course being the Harp, and the Leprechaun – or little people.
Facts about Four-Leaf Clovers.
One of the reasons that a four-leaf clover is considered lucky is because of its extreme rarity. The odds of finding a Four-Leaf clover are estimated to be at least 10,000 to 1. The mystique of the four leaf clover continues today, since finding a real four leaf clover is still a very rare occurrence and an enduring omen of good luck. A true four-leaf clover will generally have one leaf slightly smaller than the other three. Because of the rarity of finding a true four-leaf clover, this has given rise to the expression, “The luck of the Irish!”. One of the enduring attractions of the four-leaf clover is the memories it conjures up for most people of the hours spent looking in the gardens and grass fields of our youth for a bit of luck. And as we get older, who can not help but smile at the remembered joy of finding a four leaf clover as a small child?
According to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden, when she and Adam were expelled. In 1620, Sir John Melton wrote: “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.
According to Legend what do the 4 leaves symbolize?
One leaf is for HOPE… The second for FAITH…
The third for LOVE… And the fourth for LUCK!
It is not possible to grow or breed four leaf clovers. However, there are actually companies that clone four-leaf clovers, which are a genetic defect!
Interestingly, in tattoos designs that are considered “Lucky”, you will find Four-Leaf Clovers prominently displayed along with winning hands of playing cards, dice, rabbit’s feet and other so-called “lucky” symbols!
Get inspired by some great images and tattoos in our Four Leaf Clover Tattoo Gallery