Horseshoe

Horseshoe is an u-shaped object that is glued or nailed to the hooves of horses and some draught animals. They are made of steel, aluminium, magnesium, titanium, plastic or rubber. They are set by people known as farriers or blacksmiths. The purpose of a horseshoe is mainly a protective one.

Horseshoes are often mentioned in folk beliefs. Many people see them as a good luck charm. A horseshoe is traditionally put on the house door. It is believed that its two ends should point upwards. This means lot of good luck. A horseshoe whose ends are pointing downwards will bring nothing but a bad luck. Still there are countries where the belief is just the opposite.

Horseshoe
Horseshoe

There are beliefs that this direction thing does not matter at all. Here it is said that the horseshoe brings good luck only if it has already been used. Founding a horseshoe or just touching it is considered very positive.

Some people claim that there is a link between a horseshoe as good luck charm and Saint Dunstan (909-988). Before becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury in 959 AD he used to be a blacksmith. According to a popular legend he once put a horseshoe on the devil's hoof instead of doing so to the devil's horse. This caused lot of pain to the Devil. Saint Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe and set him free under one condition. The Devil had to promise to stay away from all houses with a horseshoe placed above the entrance door.

According to an old Celtic belief it is the metal that ensures the positive characteristics of a horseshoe. In Ireland a bride used to bring a real horseshoe to her wedding for good luck. Nowadays she brings a porcelain horseshoe or the one made of some cloth that is tied to her wrist.

There is a Croatian belief stating that a horseshoe is put above bed to keep the person sleeping in it safe from nightmares. Old Greek belief says that there is a connection between a horseshoe and a crescent moon which was the symbol of fertility. That is why there is a horseshoe at Greek weddings to ensure the fertility of the newlyweds.