One of the many New Year traditions in Germany is the exchange of good luck symbols and mascots. You can easily find these symbols available in shops around the end of the year, and are typically made of chocolate, marzipan, glass, porcelain and more. Here are the most popular symbols in Germany and the meaning behind them.
Piglet /Glücksschwein: The good luck symbol has its origins in the middle ages. It is considered lucky simply because if you owned pigs in those days it was a sign of wealth and prosperity. After all, if you possessed many swine, you wouldn't starve.
Four Leaf Clovers / Glücksklee: When Eve was driven out of the Garden of Eden she took with her a four-leaf clover to remember the good times in paradise later on. These four leaf clovers are now grown in gardens around Germany, so in order to have true good luck, you will need to find one in the wild. If found, these rare clovers are said to make your secret wishes come true.
Horseshoe / Hufeisen: The horseshoe is considered lucky because they protected the very important working horse in earlier times. In order to receive full luck from this symbol, it must be hung above a door with the opening pointing towards the sky so the good luck doesn't run out.
Toadstools / Fliegenpilze: These bright red mushrooms with white dots, flies agaric, are actually poisonous mushrooms. You can most likely find these toadstools in the forest and may feel especially lucky while happening upon them. A fortunate person is called a Glückspilz, or a lucky mushroom.
Chimney Sweeps / Kaminkehrer: The chimney sweep is considered good luck for the simple reason that a clean chimney reduces the risk of your house burning down. It's even luckier if you are allowed to turn one of the silver buttons on their black uniform.
Lady Bug / Marienkäfer / Glückskäfer: These small red bugs with black dots are said to be a gift from the holy mother Mary herself. It is said she sent these bugs specifically to farmers, as they consume pests that threaten their crops. They are said to protect the young and old and heal the sick. If a lady bug lands on you, it is considered especially lucky!