Who would not like to get lucky? Of course, everybody wants it. Luck can take many forms in different cultures, and in the Japanese and the Chinese culture, it appears as a cute and charming cat – a Fortune Cat. Yes, this is the one, you see all over Asia, waving you through the window to attract good luck. Let’s try to find the real meaning of this cuteness gadget…
Fortune Cat is not the only name of this cute little cat. It is also called Lucky Cat, Money Cat or Welcoming Cat. In Japan, it is known as Maneki Neko, and it always stands at the main entrance of a shop and “wave” to bring the good luck into the owner’s shop.
Although there is no official record, many people agree that the Fortune Cat first appeared in Japan between the 17th and 19th century, during the Edo period. There are various myths about it, and still today no one knows which one is the true one. One of these tales is about a wealthy man who took shelter from a rainstorm under a tree next to a temple. He noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him, so he followed him inside the temple. Shortly after, the lightning struck the tree where he was standing. The man was so grateful to be saved by the cat than he became the benefactor of the temple and brought it prosperity. When he passed away, a statue of the cat was made in his honor.
Why the raised paw
There is actually a difference between which paw is raised. The left paw brings more customers, while the right one is for good luck and money. Why does it not wave with his two paws? To not be too greedy probably…
The Symbolism Behind the Colors
You can notice that the fortune cat wear different colors, and the most common one is the white. The colors used are not just for decoration but also have a special meaning. The Calico cat is meant to be the one wearing the luckiest colors, white is for happiness and positive energy, gold represents wealth and prosperity, while black prevents the evil spirit from coming to your store. If you need luck in love use the red cat, and if for good health, your cat will be the green one.
The Meaning Behind What the Cat Is Wearing and Holding
The Maneki Neko is a finely dressed cat usually adorned with a bib, collar, and bell. In the Edo period, it was common for wealthy people to dress their pets this way. Fortune Cat figurines often hold different things in their paws including:
One Ryo: The Ryo was a Japanese coin from the Edo period meant to bring back the fortune.
The magic mallet: If you see a cat holding and shaking a small hammer, He is supposed to attract wealth.
A fish, most likely a carp: The fish is the symbol of abundance and good fortune.
A piece of marble or gem: This is another money magnet. Some people believe that the crystal ball represents wisdom.