Fertility Customs and the Power of Believing in Luck

Did you know that believing in luck may actually bring you real benefits? Psychologist Lysann Damisch and her colleagues at the University of Cologne published a study to prove this point using a lucky ball. One group of students were told they were given a lucky golf ball and the other group was informed that they were given a normal golf ball. The group with the ‘lucky ball’  outperformed the other group significantly! While this study shows that believing in luck can improve skills, other research shows that believing in luck can also help give a sense of control as well as a more positive outlook on life (see research here). This perhaps lends insight as to why there are still fertility customs all around the world. When trying to conceive proves difficult, believing in luck may bring some positive vibes to an otherwise stressful time.

Here are 5 amazing fertility traditions that women still participate in for a bit of luck or, perhaps magic:  


#1 Magical Fertility Totems - Florida

Housed in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in Florida, there are two totems originating from the Baule tribe in the Ivory Coast. After 8 staff members became pregnant after touching the statue’s heads, women have flocked to do the same. In fact, more than 2,000 women have reported that they have become pregnant shortly after touching the totems. Many of these women had been told that they will never be able to conceive. Ever since their stories were published in 1994, millions have come to visit the statue. - See more


#2  The Weeping Column- Turkey

Now we make our way to Turkey, where you can place your thumb into a hole in a weeping column known to cure infertility. Today, the weeping column, also known as the Column of St. Gregory, is housed in a museum, which was previously a church and a mosque. The hole is said to weep holy water. Women who want a fertility boost need to place their thumb in this specific hole and then rotate as close to 360 degrees as possible. If your thumb comes out feeling damp, it is said that your affliction will be cured.


#3 Pfingstbluttlern (aka Well Dipping)- Switzerland

In a town called Ettingen, there is a custom so strange that even many Swiss don’t know about it. To help get women pregnant, men of Ettingen cover their bodies in beech brushwood, sneak up on unsuspecting women and dunk them in a nearby well. “When exactly it emerged is unknown, though,” says Constantin Stöcklin from the Association of Cultural History in Ettingen. After a short-lived revival in the 1930s, the Association finally fully revitalized the custom in 1976. So yes, the men in the Swiss village of Ettingen cover their bodies in beech brushwood, simulating fauns and forest spirits, in a ritual called “Pfingstblüttlern” to help women get pregnant.

#4 Watering of the Girls - Hungary

Want to join in on a giant water fight? n a town located in Hungary, an ancient fertility ritual is kept alive in the Húsvéti Locsolás festival every Easter. Also known as the Watering of the Girls, the festival dates back to the 2nd century AD. The festival is well known for the beautiful traditional clothes worn by the men and women who flock the streets to participate in the event. It is believed that by throwing buckets of water at the women, they will be gifted with fertility.

#5 Kanamara Matsuri- The Annual Penis Festival- Japan

If you happen to visit Japan during the Kanamara Matsuri, also known as the ‘Festival of Steel Phallus,” you will have a chance to join a festival dedicated to celebrating male genitalia. The festivities include the celebration of fertility and you will see people parading a huge penis-shaped mikoshi (portable Shinto shrine) in hopes to get pregnant. Everything around you is shaped like a penis, including the food, popsicles and accessories. t started back in the 17th century, when prostitutes would pray at Kawasaki’s Kanamara shrine to prevent the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.


#6 The Cerne Abbas Giant- England   

On the rolling hills of Dorest, there is a naked giant made from chalk named The Cerne Abbas Giant. He stands with his rather prominent manhood, holding a wielding club known as the Golden Wonder Nik-Nak. The 180ft grassy man has been boosting women’s fertility for centuries. How do you obtain his fertility powers? All you have to do is take a nap on him and you will be blessed with fecundity. What is perhaps the most interesting aspect to this giant is that according to the Office of National Statistics, surrounding towns have the highest birth rates in the country.


In summary, if you are currently trying to conceive you don’t need to travel to Japan or Turkey, but perhaps take a moment to believe that you are lucky. As research shows, believing in luck or that you are lucky may help bring some sense of control, if not some peace of mind.


  • https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~aldous/157/Papers/darke.pdf
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stuart-vyse/the-skeptics-dilemma_b_2599239.html
  • http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/info/fertility-around-the-world
  • https://www.vice.com/read/the-swiss-custom-of-dressing-up-as-a-bush-and-dipping-women-in-wells
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stuart-vyse/the-skeptics-dilemma_b_2599239.html