Learn About Four-Leaf Clovers in Art, Literature, and Pop Culture

views

Don’t you just feel lucky whenever you find that little four-leaf clover while maintaining your garden? Well, of course, chances of finding a four-leaf clover are rare, but it is the religious significance that is attached to the tiny leaf that makes it so special. But before you know it, don’t get confused between shamrock and four-leaf clover, the two are completely different yet equally important. While the shamrock is a symbol of the trinity and the reason why everyone has something with a shamrock printed on it on St. Patrick’Day, the four-leaf clover is believed to bring luck and harmony.

The Story Behind Luck and Four Leaf Clover:

It is no wonder why the four-leaf clover is a popular symbol in pop culture, or art. In fact, Literature too has its fair share of legends attached to the four-leaf clover. But how did we believe that the precious leaf brings good luck to whoever gets lucky enough to find one?

The urban legend is that Eve, when ordered to leave paradise, decided to strum a tiny four-leaf clover as her memory of the Eden Garden. [1] It is for this reason that the leaf is considered a symbol of luck so much so that people of Celtic civilization would believe that the little leaf has the power to save them from the spells of fairies. Anyone possessing a clover leaf would stay safe from the malicious intents of the fairies. The folklores attached to the four-leaf clover make it all the more precious find. The truth behind its good fortune charm is not known but the probability of finding a four-leaf clover is actually little. How rare a four-leaf clover is can be found from the fact that there is as little as 1 in 10,000 chances of finding a four-leaf clover.

Four-Leaf Clover a Popular Pop Culture Symbol:

Leprechaun in movies 

Whether the stories related to the four-leaf clover have truth to them or not, it is widely believed that the leaf does not just bring luck but can bring glad tidings, faith, and even love into people’s lives. The odds of finding the four-leaf clover are rare but using it as a lucky charm is still very famous in movies and tv-series. With it being so cherished, it is not a surprise that it became a popular symbol in pop culture too, and many shows popularized its significance as well.

Four-Leaf Clovers and Pop-Culture:

From advertisements to animated movies, and video games to live tv shows, four-leaf clover can be seen in a variety of mediums. Below is a list of many forms of media where this leaf is abundantly used as a symbol of luck or charm, further establishing the belief of many that the four-leaf clover is in fact a lucky charm.

Four-Leaf Clovers in Advertising:

Luck Charm cereal has four-leaf clover

Lucky Charms Cereal:

If you are fond of the cereal range of Lucky Charms, you must have eaten the green-colored clover-shaped marshmallow, hinting at the leaf as one of the many symbols of luck and happiness.

Quasar TV Commercial Print:

The vintage ad of a Quasar TV printed in 1976 in the paper had this huge four-leaf color with the statement “ two ways to buy your next TV. Trust your luck or trust the facts”

Quaker Motor Oil:

Using the luck mantra attached to a four-leaf clover, the Quaker Motor Oil ad published in 1946 tried to attract their target audience by enticing them to their refined oil for the smooth running of the motor engines.

Four-Leaf Clovers and Anime

four-leaf Clover in illustrations

Black Clover:

In this anime, a four-leaf clover spell manual provides the magicians the power to have the best luck. While Yuno and Licht have the manuals with four-leaf clovers on them, it was Asta who has the five-leaf clover grimoire that represents evil or demons in the anime.

Honey and Clover:

The four-leaf clover symbolizes more than just luck; in Honey and Clover, the leaf signifies happiness that was searched by the people. The one scene that catches attention is when people are busy searching for a four-leaf clover near the river.

Happy Happy Clover:

The rabbit by the name of Clover in happy happy clover anime series

This series has a cute little rabbit who is named Clover. Initially one sees the rabbit with a three-leaf clover but later a four-leaf clover can be seen on its head when it gets acquainted with a human being. Here too, the four-leaf clover is represented as a happiness sign.

Touken Ranbu – Hanamaru:

In one of the episodes, a four-leaf clover is presented to Doudanuki by Maeda and Hirano who learn that Doudanuki is facing bad luck repeatedly. The possession of the clover initiates a series of events.

The Quintessential Quintuplets:

The anime Quintessential Quintuplets is a story of the Quintuplet sisters who fall in love with the main character, their tutor, Fuutarou Uesugi. Out of all the sisters, Fuutarou marries Yotsuba Nakano whose name means a four-leaf clover. She even wears a green headband that looks like a leaf and as her name suggested, she is the lucky one the tutor falls for as well.

Four-Leaf Clovers and Anime

Four-Leaf Clovers and Their Representation in Television:

Odd Squad:

The third season of the series is all about the four-leaf clover which is believed to be an extremely rare antique, in fact, it is believed not to exist at all. While even Big O does not have access to it, Opal completely believes that the clover has its existence. She is informed about an ancient map to find the clover by Oswald, her penfriend. The first show is about their quest for the clover along with Omar and Orla in order to guard it against the evils who want to have it for their malicious intentions.

M*A*S*H*: 

In one of the series, Radar is shown presenting a four-leaf clover to a young patient who has been sent repeatedly to the war field and he doubts his luck. Radar tries to console him with the clover, claiming that the charm can make him feel like he will not be harmed on the field.

The four-Leaf Clover and Animated Movies:

The logo of the famous animated series DuckTales

Ed, Edd n Eddy:

Despite getting their hands on the four-leaf clover, the 3 had bad luck as Double D was bugged by Sarah and so they let go of the leaf. But soon when Johnny 2X4 gets his hand on the clover he gets $20 too making Ed astounded at their bad luck. [2]

DuckTales:

In some movies, the four-leaf clover and the myth related to its luck are also questioned. DuckTales is one such animated series where Gladstone Gander loses all his power and seeks a clover to find him luck. Poor him that he immediately gets hurt by the golem made of rock after he gets the clover, showing that it is not clover that brings you luck.

Milo Murphy’s Law:

Some are even shown wearing four-leaf clover accessories to ward off evil as in the case of Milo Murphy’s Law where one character is seen wearing clover clips as she wants to protect herself from the bad luck she can get from all the men in her family, who are unlucky.

Four-Leaf Clover and their Representation in Video Games

Poster of Miitopia video game

While one can find several references to a four-leaf clover in movies and animated series, video games too have their share of using the clover luck folklore to their advantage as many games have used the leaf as either a shield or a collectible to gain luck or power. A few worth mentioning are listed below for all video game fanatics.

Four-Leaf Clover & their Representation in Video Games

King’s Quest I: 

If the gamer carries a four-leaf clover, he/she is saved from the leprechauns and their mischief.

Miitopia: 

The acquisition of the leaf means possession of a weapon or clothing material.

Little Big Adventure: 

Gamer can use the clover to auto-revive or be completely healed with its power.

VGA Miner: 

While mining you get your hand on the four-leaf clover, and your chances of being lucky increases.

Wii Party Minigame: 

In one level by the name of “Clover hunt,” the player has to find a four-leaf clover that is hidden among all the three-leaf clovers.

Let It Die: 

If you have played the game you must be aware that every time you have a four-leaf clover, you get a 10% luck to crit. The chances to crit increase with the increase in the number of leaves of the clover.

Net Hack: 

After the player sacrifices, “You glimpse a four-leaf clover at your feet” ensuring that you get lucky and are granted an extra chance by your lord.

Minigore: 

A player can get invincibility if he/she collects 3 four-leaf clovers in a row.

Reference to Four-Leaf Clovers in Literature:

Douglas Adam’s book cover

While there may not be many books written solely around the four-leaf clover, you will find many references to the leaf in poetry and prose as a symbol of love, hope, faith, and good luck.

Four-Leaf Clover by Ella Higginson:

The poem, four-leaf Clover, was written by Ella Higginson and was even published in her books “When the Birds Go North Again” (1898) and later in “Four-Leaf Clover” (1901). The poem talks about how having faith and love make us stronger and how having love, faith, and hope brings us luck just as the clover which symbolizes hope, love, faith, and luck. [3]

John Melton’s Writing:

The first reference to the four-leaf clover being the lucky charm was in the 1600s when in one of his writings, John Melton mentioned, “If a man walking in the fields finds any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.” [4]

Mostly Harmless: 

The last in the Hitchhiker series of Douglas Adams has an alternative universe where due to the genome being transformed due to radiation, the clover plants with four leaves are a normal sight whereas 3-leaf clovers are a rarity. [5]

The Rour-Leaf Clover in Art:

This lucky charm has mesmerized the creative fraternity for its rarity and the number of folklore attached to it. No wonder, many paintings, literature, music, and comic books mention the four-leaf clover in one form or another. Some popular references that can be found in all things related to creative art are listed below.

Music:

In Tears for Fears, one of the song lines mentioning “my four-leaf clover” is sung two times. One even sees many four-leaf clovers in the music video and even the props used in the video.

Painting:

A delightful piece of art whereby a girl, dressed in a crème-colored dress waits patiently in the garden, for her friend. A four-leaf clover can be seen in her hand which is why the painting is chosen to be called, A four-leaf clover”. This painting was made in 1873 by one of the famous American painters, Winslow Homer, and is currently a part of the art collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts, in the USA. [6]

The Interesting Facts about the Four-Leaf Clover:

As interesting as the stories are about the four-leaf clover, the facts related to it are equally mesmerizing but one should be aware that the four-leaf clover and its existence is all science. According to researchers at the University of Georgia, the result of a three-leaf clover becoming a four-leaf one is the mutation in their chromosome, though why it happens is still not discovered. [7] The reason why four-leaf clover is rare is because the frequency of the mutation is very gradual. That said, there are a number of interesting findings related to the leaf that will be interesting knowledge.

  1. Did you know the most leaves found of clover was not 4 but 56? Well, that clover was discovered in 2009 in Japan and is listed in Guinness World Records as well. [8]
  2. Unlike the common grass, clover is preferable as one does not require to spend a fortune on mowing and thus an environmentally friendly alternative to grass. Moreover, it is healthy for the lawn as it aerates the soil and attracts bees. [9]
  3. It is believed that Abraham Lincoln had a four-leaf clover that he carried everywhere with him. Unfortunately, on the day of his assassination, that clover was not found with him. [10]
  4. By using the rhizomes in their roots, clover can use the nitrogen it saves from the air for its growth. This quality to fix the nitrogen for its own benefit is not commonly found in other plants. [11]

Conclusion:

The famous drama by William Shakespeare
Whether the legends associated with the four-leaf clover have some truth to it or not, it has mesmerized creative individuals and has become part of their creative expressions. From Shakespeare’s plays like “Merry Wives of Windsor” to webcomic series like Prequel and Homestuck, its lucky charm is explored all the time. If you believe this tiny leaf has the potential to bring you all the luck, you are in for luck as each year National Four-Leaf Clover Day is celebrated in the USA on the 10th of March.

References

[1]Anonymous. (2020, June 27). Clover: The pros & cons. Earl May Garden Centers | Lawn & Garden Experts. https://www.earlmay.com/blog/pros-cons-clover-lawn

[2] Dubel, G. (n.d.). Four-leaf clover (and other St. Patrick’s Day) fun facts. Lawn Care Services in Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati | Weed Pro. https://www.weed-pro.com/blog/four-leaf-clover-and-other-st.-patricks-day-fun-facts

[3] The four leaf clover by Winslow Homer. (n.d.). The History of Art – Famous Artists, Paintings and Sculptures. https://www.thehistoryofart.org/winslow-homer/four-leaf-clover/

[4]”four-leaf clover”. (n.d.). The Ella Higginson Blog. https://ellahigginson.blogspot.com/p/four-leaf-clover.html

[5]Four-leaf clover. (n.d.). TV Tropes. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FourLeafClover

[6] Luciano, P., & TODAY, U. (2020, August 12). For decades, she searched for a 4-leaf clover. She found something even more rare: A 6-leaf one. Journal Star. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/08/12/illinois-woman-finds-rare-six-leaf-clover/3346209001/

[7] Nast, C. (2021, January 12). The unsettling truth about the ‘Mostly harmless’ hiker. WIRED. https://www.wired.com/story/unsettling-truth-mostly-harmless-hiker/

[8] Parade.com. (n.d.). parade.com. https://parade.com/1327688/jessicasager/four-leaf-clover/

[9] (n.d.). University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. https://www.uaex.uada.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-2160.pdf

[10]What is the difference between an Irish shamrock and four-leaf clover? (2003, November 28). The Spruce. https://www.thespruce.com/irish-shamrocks-and-4-leaf-clovers-2130966

[11] Why four-leaf clovers are considered lucky. (2022, March 14). Reader’s Digest. https://www.rd.com/article/four-leaf-clover/

Must-read

How Did Spirited Away Become the First Anime to Win an Oscar?

Go behind the scenes to discover how Spirited Away's unique blend of artistry and storytelling captivated the Oscars.

Are All Bakugan Battle Brawlers Episode Titles Named After 70’s Japanese Songs?

Busting myths about Bakugan Battle Brawlers' episode titles and their musical roots—discover the truth behind the tunes.

Was Katsuki Bakugo Originally Conceived as a Good Character?

Discover how Katsuki Bakugo's transformation from a benevolent genius to a fiery rival reshaped his role in 'My Hero Academia'.

Recent articles

More like this