Statue rubbing has become popular among tourists worldwide. Rubbing anything from noses to feet and some naughty bits in between. Rubbing these statues gives them a golden glow but the hope is that it will bring you some good luck. That good luck ranges from the general, to love, to fertility, and to prayers being answered. Does it work? We aren’t sure but we have done our fair share of statue rubbing and wishing. Plus they make for fun photos!
Springfield, Illinois has a large bust of good ole’ Honest Abe at the Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Rubbing Lincoln’s nose is said to bring good luck.
In Winnipeg, Canada they love their hockey and statue of Timothy Eaton (a famous Canadian retailer from the early 1900s). When Eaton stores were still in operation customers used to rub the left toe of the statue for good luck. Impressively after lawsuits and protests the Eaton statue remains in Winnipeg after being declared a historical object. Eaton now sits in the concourse of the hockey arena, Bell MTS Place, which sits on the site of what used to be the downtown Eaton store. Hockey lovers and tourists alike still rub his left toe for good luck.
Seattle, Washington has Rachel the Piggy Bank. Created by Georgia Gerber and placed at the market in 1986. It is said if you rub her snout and make a donation, good luck will be yours. Whether good luck comes your way, your donation will be used by the Market Foundation to support a variety of social services. Schools, a senior center, a health care clinic and more benefit from Rachel’s Piggy Bank.
Las Vegas, NV and the Crazy Girls. There’s “”NO “IFs”, “ANDs” OR…____””. The statue showcasing the backside of seven women at the Riviera Hotel & Casino has caused some uproar since its installation in 1987. It was placed at the entrance of the Riviera to promote the Crazy Girls topless revue. However, in 2015 the show and the seven derriere statue moved to Planet Hollywood. It is said if you rub their bums it increases your odds of not making a donation to the Las Vegas casinos and leaving with some money in your pocket.
In NYC, New York rubbing “Bulls Balls” isn’t just for tourists. Brokers and Traders rub the Bull of Wall Street‘s testicals believing it brings a profitable financial day, prosperity and good luck.
In Dublin, Ireland rubbing the breasts of the Molly Malone statue is said to bring luck. The folklore and song tells of a lady named Molly, who pushes her wheelbarrow in the streets of Dublin selling cockles and mussels. However she doesn’t make much money and therefore is also a lady of the night. She ends up getting a fever and dies. So where does the good luck belief come from? It is said that a tour guide may have made this up and now Molly has shiny breasts. But if you pay attention to her face, she doesn’t seem pleased about this.
Čumil (The Watcher) in Bratislava, Slovakia has many stories of why he is there. That is precisely what the artist Viktor Hulik intended. He wanted to initiate discussions about what The Watcher was doing in this spot and why. Regardless of whether you believe that he is there to look up the girls’ skirts, or he is a famous cleaner of Bratislava’s underground, or a typical Slovak worker, waiting for his shift to end; rubbing his helmet or nose is said to make your wishes come true. Ladies beware because it is said that if you rub his nose you will be given a surprise gift in 9 months.
László Marton left a legacy for his daughter by creating a sculpture based on her love of dressing up as a princess. She would use her bathrobe as a cape and have a newspaper crown. In Budapest, Hungary you will find Kiskiralylany aka The Little Princess on the railings by the tramlines near the Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest. As locals and tourists pass by they rub her knees for good luck.
Author Hans Christian Andersen is known worldwide for his fairytales. He wrote around 160 tales with the most popular being The Little Match Girl, The Princess and the Pea, The Tin Soldier and The Little Mermaid. In Copenhagen, Denmark at City Hall Square you will find Hans sitting with a book. Rub his right foot for good luck.
In Florence, Italy outside the Mercato del Porcellino you will find the statue of Il Porcellino. The piglet is partially hollow allowing visitors to make a wish while feeding coins into its mouth. The coins collect in its stomach. Afterwards you must rub the boar’s nose to make the wishing ritual complete. All this is said to guarantee you will return to Florence.
Similar to rubbing Il Porcellino’s nose, touching the statue of St. John of Napomuk also ensures a swift return to Prague, Czech. St. John of Napomuk is the oldest and only bronze figure on the Charles Bridge. It is said that St. John of Napomuk invited a bishop to Prague that was King Wenceslas IV’s enemy. His decision resulted in him being thrown off the bridge. If you walk a few steps from the statue, toward the Old Town, you will find Five Stars on the left railing of the bridge. This is where the Priest was thrown off the bridge. Legend has it that the stars appeared when he splashed into the water. It is said if you touch the cross and the stars with your left hand and make a wish, whatever your wish, it will come true!
Molly has her breasts rubbed in Dublin and Victor Noir, a french journalist, has his crotch rubbed and a flower dropped in his hat in Paris, France. The legend says that doing so will grant fertility, a blissful sex life, or a husband within a year. It is said that Victor was a bit of a ladies’ man and his reputation followed him to the grave. The life-sized statue was placed over his grave, portraying his death in a realistic style. As he had fallen on the street and dropped his hat beside him. The statue has a noticeably large bulge in his pants.
And according to legend, if you want wealth, good luck and prosperity you should rub the Laughing Buddha’s belly. Want to see a whole lot of Buddha’s? We recommend going to Bacalhôa Buddha Eden just North of Lisbon, Portugal. According to their website, it is the largest oriental garden in Europe. “The oriental garden with around 35 hectares of land was created as a reaction to the destruction of the Buddhas of Banyan, in which one of the greatest acts of cultural barbarity took place, erasing masterpieces of late-period Gandhara art.” Having been there, we say it’s worth the trip. Then finish off with a wine tasting.
Happy Gallivanting and Rubbing!