What Does It Mean If Your Left Hand Itches?
According to a 2019 poll by the website Research For Good, over 50% of Americans have at least some belief in superstitions. Whether it’s knocking on wood, stepping on a crack in the sidewalk, or throwing salt over your shoulder, these old wives’ tales seem to be everywhere. That’s because they are everywhere.
Across generations and cultures, there are some traditional superstitions that show no sign of falling out of favor. Sometimes the details may be a little different, but the overall effect is the same. After all, these words of wisdom have been passed down for centuries by word of mouth.
One of the most common superstitions centers around an itch in the left palm of the hand. While many cultures consider the itchy palm to portend a financial windfall, it can be oddly specific when it comes to how, when, and who can benefit from the good luck. What does it all mean? Let’s find out.
Left hand prejudices around the world
In the Bible it says, “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Different cultures have some of the same prejudices against the left hand. In fact the word “sinister” comes from the root word for left-handed. Also, in some places in the world, the left hand is considered unclean. So it’s kind of odd how good fortune seems to favor the itchy left hand.
Ironically, it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re left- or right-handed to begin with. Either way, an itchy left hand has the reputation for receiving money. The theory behind it labels the left hand the receiver of good fortune, while the right hand is the one that loses money. But why?
On the other hand, what about the right one?
An itchy right hand actually carries a number of superstitions around it. According to different sources, it could mean an old friend is coming to visit, or you’ll meet a new friend. If money is going out from the right hand, it could be coming back several fold. This is particularly important as a matter of investment, or a charitable contribution.
If your right hand itches, news could be coming to you from afar. Some folktale experts suggest that if your right hand itches, quickly make a fist and put it in your pocket to keep the money from flying away. But that doesn’t explain why the itchy left hand is usually the one bringing money in.
Is there truth behind the superstition?
You can’t prove a superstition, but you can have anecdotal evidence. For example, a 73-year-old grandmother in Brooklyn, New York reportedly won the lottery in 2010 thanks to an itchy left palm.
Mary Shammas was on a bus when her left hand started itching furiously. Remembering the old wives’ tale about that being a lucky sign, she got off the bus at the next stop and immediately bought herself a lottery ticket with her usual numbers. Her ticket turned out to be worth more than $64 million.
That’s not to say that this happens every time, otherwise people would be winning the lottery every week. But if it had not been for her remembering the superstition, she would not have bought the ticket. Now that’s a stroke of good luck!
Is an itchy palm lucky for men or women?
Here’s a confusing conundrum: does it matter if you’re a man or a woman when your palm itches? After all, there isn’t even really a consensus on which hand means receiving and which one means giving. If you believe the Farmer’s Almanac, an itchy right hand receives money and an itchy left one loses money. But the Almanac is in the minority; most sources have it the other way around.
Not only that, but in India and other Asian cultures, the left hand itching is lucky for women, but not for men. Men’s luck is in their right hands. In India, an itchy left palm means that the goddess Lakshmi is leaving your side, which invites all kinds of bad luck in its wake.
Or maybe it’s a medical issue instead
Of course, there could be a perfectly mundane reason for your palms to be itching. You might be having trouble with dry skin or eczema, or perhaps you are just dehydrated. A tingling sensation in the extremities is also a warning sign for worse problems like diabetes.
If you have a persistent itch in your hands, you might just want to keep an eye on your health. But if out of nowhere you get an itch in your left palm, buying a lottery ticket couldn’t hurt. They say lightning never strikes twice and yet buildings get hit in every thunderstorm. So, follow your gut instinct and remember that all folk tales and old wives tales still endure because, occasionally, they come true.