The word “lucky” is loaded with meaning. Around the world cultures understand that sometimes things happen that are out of your control – and when they are good, luck is on your side. For centuries, humans have clambered to find things that would provide them luck so that they could gain happiness, health, and wealth. Horseshoes, rainbows, heads-up pennies, and four leaf clovers are just a few of the many things that people believe bring about good luck.
Superstitions about what causes good and bad luck abound around the world… and we’ve discovered that, while you don’t want to walk under a ladder, you definitely should be hoping to run into a chimney sweep. That’s right – a brush with a chimney sweep during your day is believed by many cultures to be one of the luckiest things that could happen to you.
But is there anything to this belief? Well, science would tell you no, but hey – we haven’t found Sasquatch yet either, and we are pretty sure he’s out there roaming around. Here are some of our favorite superstitions and beliefs that surround the luck of the chimney sweep.
The chimney sweep has been documented as a role played within societies as far back as the Ancient Roman Era. These keepers of the hearth would make sure that a fire could safely burn within a fireplace by keeping it clean and tidy. It was by providing people with warmth and comfort without the worry of fire and destruction that gained the chimney sweep a beloved reputation.
It’s no wonder that the love they garnered from society became associated with luck and good fortune.
Perhaps the jump from friendly hearth keeper to lucky chimney sweep happened when a king declared chimney sweeps as bringing good fortune. Legend has it that when William the Conqueror invaded England and was crowned King in 1066, he had an experience that nearly killed him. While walking in London he found himself face-to-face with a stampeding team of horses pulling an out of control carriage.
With certain doom approaching and no time to get away, a chimney sweep appeared seemingly out of nowhere and pushed him safely out of the way of the carriage. The king was so relieved that he declared all chimney sweeps to be considered bringers of good luck and that they should be celebrated by the people of the land.
Of course, we can’t really know how much truth there is to this story, but curiously another story of a similar occurrence pops up about 700 years later when King George III was traveling by carriage. This time it was a dog that spooked his team of horses that was pulling his carriage. As the carriage bounced along the road King George III was thrown about the inside. Suddenly a chimney sweep leapt to action, calming the horses, and saving the king.
Once again, royalty made an official declaration that chimney sweeps are, in fact, bearers of good luck and good fortune.
These legends of kings and declarations encouraged the mythology surrounding the lucky chimney sweep. Many countries practice various superstitious traditions that survive to this day.
If you attend a wedding in Germany you may be lucky enough to run into a chimney sweep that has been hired to not only attend the wedding, but to give the bride a kiss on her wedding day. For centuries it has been believed that a kiss from a chimney sweep on the day you get married will ensure many blessings for your new family and the home you will build together. To this day, grooms will hire a chimney sweep to attend the wedding during which the groom will allow the chimney sweep to give the bride a friendly kiss.
If you celebrate the beginning of a new year in Austria you may be visited by a chimney sweep carrying buttons. It is custom to rub these buttons in order to bring good luck to your home. This occurs because in the 18th and 19th centuries chimney sweeps in Austria would go from house to house collecting payment for the work they had done that year. People gladly paid because a good chimney sweep made for a safe and cozy home.
And even here in America, we have come to know the chimney sweep as a bearer of good luck. In the Disney classic Mary Poppins, the Banks children befriend a chimney sweep named Bert. Alongside Bert, Mary and the children dance with penguins, ride magical carousel horses through the park, and dance on the rooftops of London with fellow chimney sweeps. The legend of the lucky sweep comes to life as Bert explains in a song that “good luck will rub off when I shake hands with you, or blow me a kiss and that’s lucky too.”
Are You Feeling Lucky?
So what do you think? Is an encounter with a chimney sweep lucky? If you still aren’t sure, Holy Smoke has a chimney sweep ready to come take care of your home, allowing you, too, to enjoy the blessings of a fire in your fireplace without the worry of dangerous smoke and flames entering your home.
Call us today or reach out online to find out how we can help you maintain your chimney and bless your home.