Friday 13 August 2021

Six Penny, a Wedding Charm

Six Penny, a Wedding Charm

A few weeks back, I got a Sixpence for my collection.  I was very excited about it, not only for that it is nearly 93 years old, but also for its odd denomination, 6 pence.  When I showed my collection to my UK friend, she told me that it is considered a lucky charm at weddings.  Intrigued with this piece of information, I started digging for more information about this belief.

Though my 6 pence coin depicts the acorns, the back of some six-pence coins depicts the English rose, Scottish thistle, Irish shamrock, and Welsh leek.  Because of the Scottish thistle, it is considered a lucky charm. 

One fine day in the 1200s, the Danes from northern Europe attempted to invade Scotland.   Scottish soldiers were sleeping as it was mid of night. The raiders were bare-footed and because of the darkness, accidentally they were stepped on the thorny thistle flower, which is abundant in Scotland.  They started to shout out of pain and this alerted the sleeping Scottish soldiers and saved them.  That day onwards, the Scottish believed the thistle to be a good luck Charm, so as the 6 pence.

The highly superstitious people believed that evil spirits were everywhere and they will cause some harm to the people especially during weddings and in ritualistic events to halt it.  So they started to tuck a 6 pence on the bride's left shoe to keep these evil spirits away.  They believed that this 6 pence will bring luck, wealth, and prosperity too.

When I dive deep into this, I came across many interesting things about how coins play a part in European marriages.   In Sweden, to bless the couple, the bride's mother gives her daughter a gold coin to put in her right shoe and the father gives a silver coin for her left shoe before the wedding.   

In Lithuania, the wedding guests bring silver coins and throw them onto the dance floor. One of the coins is marked with the bride and groom’s initials and, the wedding guests pick up all the coins and whoever picks up the initialed coin gets to have the next dance with either the bride or the groom.

In Spain, the groom gives a coin to his bride after the rings have been blessed to show his willingness to share all that he has. The bride will then keep the coin and pass it to her eldest son to give to his own bride. This tradition is also common in Latin America.

In Poland, as the bride and groom leave the ceremony, the wedding guests throw coins over the married couple. The pair then gather these coins together to show their unity.

You might be having this kind of tradition and faith in your country.  Eagerly waiting to hear your story.

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