“I’m going to buy a lottery ticket. Fingers crossed!”

“I have to do well on this test. Fingers crossed.”

“Hope I am able to get a ticket at a good price. Fingers and toes crossed.”

Fingers Crossed

Today, we cross our fingers when we need good luck. But why? Why not cross our arms? Or do a little dance?

The significance of crossed fingers actually began with the cross – the Christian cross. Early Christians would cross their fingers to mimic a cross, when praying for protection, to call upon the powers associated with the Christian cross. It was thought that crossed fingers would ward off evil spirits and witches. There was also a time when Christians were persecuted by the Romans, the Christians used the symbol of crossed fingers to indicate their loyalty to each other.

Note to self: try crossing fingers during this year’s zombie walk.

The crossed fingers symbol has carried on over hundreds of years, and floated across different cultures. However, it seems to have lost its original meaning, and is now used to call for good luck, and to cover up lie. It is not uncommon to see 12 year old girls in Saudi schools crossing their fingers when lying to their teachers. Amazing how globalization has taken the most culture-specific gestures and turned them into cliches.

For more info,

Field Guide to Gestures: How to Identify & Interpret Virtually Every Gesture Known to Man by Nancy Armstrong and Melissa Wagner