Left Hand Itching: Are You Due to Win the Lottery?

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According to superstition, you may be about to gain or lose money depending on which of your hands itches. Other factors can cause an itchy hand, but how true is this superstition after all?

When it comes to money, there are many superstitions out there. For example, if you encounter a penny in the street, you shouldn’t pick it up if it is tails up. This could bring you bad luck, but good luck can come from picking up one that is heads up. There are no scientific facts that back up these beliefs, but that’s why they’re called “superstitions.”

If you’ve ever heard of the superstition that an itch on your left hand could mean lottery luck, you’re not alone. Many people from various cultural backgrounds associate itchy palms with money, though the meanings vary depending on the circumstances.

What do you think? Will an itchy left palm help you with the lottery?

What Do Itchy Palms Mean

Itchy palms, in most superstitions, are believed to indicate you may be coming into money or losing money. Variances in which palm means what and for what gender make this symptom hard to pin down. There’s no universal meaning to an itchy palm, even when it comes to a medical diagnosis.

For example, select Bible verses mention the left hand receiving and the right hand giving. This tracks with common practice of people who are right-handed. However, the right hand is also described in receiving God’s hand, which complicates things a bit when it comes to differentiating between left and right.

Hinduism is another source of right vs. left intricacies. The Goddess Lakshmi is said to be leaving you when your left hand itches. This is a positive monetary sign for women, but a negative one for men. Men whose right palm itches are said to be receiving fortune from the Goddess, though women with this same condition experience the opposite.

The bottom line is that while superstition helps us to understand and explain why we might have itching hands, there’s not necessarily an underlying cause, at least in the spiritual sense. We might be able to trace the issue back to a medical condition, but sometimes our palms just itch.

Historical Meaning of Itchy Palms

Back in time, when currency came in the form of silver coins, Saxons believed that many ailments could be cured by rubbing the silver on that particular part of the body, specifically the skin. Though the belief might not have incorporated money into the mix initially, certainly good health translated to prospering in a time when diseases largely went left untreated.

As the Saxons intermingled with the Celts and Romans, the superstition grew and changed. The Celtic belief that bad luck could be deterred by knocking on wood or touching wood evolved the superstition to what it is now. That is, if you rub your itchy palm on wood, the negative energy would dissipate and your good luck would increase.

Interestingly enough, much of the myths associated with palm itching focus on what it means, not necessarily how to counteract bad luck brought on by itchy palms. This could just be a matter of focusing on the favorable aspects of the condition, rather than a need to change it.  

What Does it Mean When Your Right Hand Itches

An itchy right hand can symbolize you are about to lose money. This could come in many forms, from damages and repairs that need fixing to losing money on stocks or investments. In the grand scheme of things, it might also signify a need for living on less or spending less money overall.

Losing money isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For example, if you need to spend money on fixing your vehicle, it could get you a few extra years instead of just a few months.

If you find yourself concerned about an itchy right palm and think it might signify a loss for you, you can refrain from investing around that time altogether. It might be a good time to set up robo-advisors or even find alternative ways to invest. More than anything, an itchy right hand begins with loss, but it could lead to further gains in the future if your luck changes. 

How Left-Hand Itching May Mean Lottery Luck

Much of what we consider to be superstition has a bit of truth to it, a basis for some reality. Many experts consider the way we handle money as a society, especially if we’re right-handed. Typically, we extend our money to another person via the right hand, so it’s associated with giving money. Therefore, the left hand is alternately associated with receiving money.

is the lottery rigged
Powerball is an American lottery game offered by 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association, a nonprofit organization formed by an agreement with U.S. lotteries.

It’s also possible to associate luck in an itchy left hand with the fact that not many people are left-handed. Luck is typically associated with something that’s rare, such as a one-time occurrence, a once-in-a-lifetime event, or unique circumstances. Being left-handed could be considered a lucky thing for this reason, and this could lend itself to superstition.

The superstition kicks in around the time when you associate this common practice with luck. As we all know, luck is its own master, with an agenda all its own. Believing that an itchy left palm brings you lottery luck because you receive money with your left hand can be too big a jump for some folks.

The Story of Mary Shammas

For others, it’s the source of national debate. Take the story of Mary Shammas, a Brooklyn woman whose palm itched, so she bought a lottery ticket. Her winning Mega Millions numbers tell a pretty convincing story.

As Shammas tells it, she was riding home on the bus one day from a doctor’s appointment. In her 70s, she was battling lung cancer and didn’t get out of the house much anymore. The retired Wall Street receptionist used to play the lottery but hadn’t in some time. However, it was the itch on her palm that drove her to immediate action.

Shammas played specific numbers corresponding to the birthdays of her children as well as her favorite holiday. She spent a total of $5 on 5 sets of numbers. When she tuned in later that night, her winning numbers earned her a total of $42 million. She shared the winnings with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, keeping only $1.3 million for herself.

Not everyone can win the lottery just by buying a lottery ticket when their left hand itches. Some might say it was purely luck that was on her side that day, while others might point to statistics that govern the entire lottery industry.

Either way you slice it, it’s certainly something to ponder. Maybe you’ll think about purchasing a lottery ticket the next time your left palm itches to try it out.

Other Body-Related Superstitions

Superstitions are plenty when it comes to the body. Here are a few you might have heard of and some you may not have. Which superstitions do you believe?

  • If your eyebrows itch, both of them together is a good sign. When your left eyebrow itches you may be meeting someone negative, but the right eyebrow itching means you’ll meet someone new.
  • Right knees that itch foretell of a happy journey, but if your left knee itches, it’s best to prepare for a rough ride ahead.
  • Itchy necks can portend an illness in the family.
  • Elbows that itch can mean a new partner or a stronger relationship, whether it’s romantically or at work.
  • Some people believe that if your ring finger itches, you will get married soon.
  • Allergies could be the cause of your itchy eyes, although some say a right itchy eye is lucky and a left one is bad luck.
  • Life changes are believed to come with an itchy chin.
  • Meeting a new person could be foretold by an itchy nose, as well as company arriving soon.
  • Itchy feet mean you’ll soon embark on a journey. 
  • An itchy back can be a sign of impending disappointment.

Not every body part is covered in this list, but many boil down to a positive, negative, or neutral experience.

Alternate Money-Related Myths

While many superstitions surround money, not all of them deal with the body specifically. Here are a few you might have heard of before:

  • If you find a spider in your pocket, you’ll always have money.
  • People with a hairy chest and/or arms will be wealthy.
  • If a bird poops on you, it’s good luck.
  • Setting your purse down on the floor means you’ll lose money. In other beliefs, it translates to a lack of money management.
  • Money attracts money.
  • In Trinidad and Tobago, if you find a brown spider or brown grasshopper in your home, it will bring you money. A green grasshopper, however, means you’ll lose money.

It’s common to have your own superstitions about money as well. For example, some believe you’re tempting fate if you gamble for too long. Others swear by gambling practices sure to bring them huge winnings.

Medical Reasons for Itchy Palms

Superstitions and medical knowledge don’t often coincide. This is true for itchy palms, since most of the issues involving the skin and the body can be scientifically linked to a certain condition.

For example, your palms might itch because you work outside a lot and your hands get dry. The dead, flaky skin irritates the layer around it and causes an itch. This could be the source of lottery luck, or it could just be eczema. Washing your hands too much without using lotion could cause this issue as well.

Other conditions that could cause itchy palms include psoriasis and diabetes.

Sometimes allergies can cause itching on the hands. Certain medications cause palm itching as a side effect. While most cases of itchy palms are no cause for concern, it can be a good idea to check with your primary care physician if the condition persists. A healthy body is a good sign in and of itself, no matter how much your palms itch.

FAQs

Is an itchy palm good luck?

Many cultures associate an itchy palm with good luck. Some source it from hundreds of years ago when getting what you wanted often involved scratching an “itchy” palm with a bribe. You may have even seen people itch the center of their palm as a way to evoke a need for bribery.

Do the benefits of any itchy left palm extend to the stock market?

According to superstition, if your left palm itches, it can also mean good luck on the stock market. Similarly, an itching right palm would mean losses on the stock market.

Does an itchy palm mean something different for men and women?

Depending on the belief system, an itchy right hand can mean money coming in for men, but money going out for women. Alternatively, an itchy left hand is positive for women in terms of money, but negative for men.

Does an itchy left palm mean your left hand is your lucky hand?

Again, there’s no scientific evidence to pinpoint which of your hands is the luckiest. It’s just a common belief that your left palm being itchy corresponds to luck in winning the lottery and/or receiving money.

Are itchy palms contagious?

Most common sources of itchy palms are not contagious. However, you should contact your primary care physician and/or a dermatologist if you’re concerned about your itchy hands, especially if you have a rash or other visible skin condition.

What’s the Source of Your Wealth

Though it may sound far-fetched, an itchy left hand is often associated with lottery luck. There are many associations between the body and money, some positive and many negative. Whether or not you believe this superstition, it’s fun to think about what signs we pay attention to in order to tell the future.

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About the author

Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs is a personal finance expert, and the founder of My Millennial Guide, a personal finance site helping you put more money in your pocket. He helps millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the future. He regularly writes about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. He has been quoted as a top personal finance blogger in major publications including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, MSN Money and more.
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