And now, in July, as people begin to travel again after the reduction in risk levels of the virus pandemic, and the opening up of travel destinations / countries, many people are thinking about safety as they plan their holiday vacations and other travel trip journeys.
BUT, is it safe to go out and to travel again?
The answer to that question is, quite simply, who knows? Lots of people are still concerned about their safety. Will I be at risk of infection? If I get sick, will I have to miss work or school? Should I wear a mask? How often must I clean my hands? How close am I allowed to other people?
In consequence, it has become appropriate to offer friends and loved-ones suggestions and advice in these difficult times and sometimes a little ” Keep Safe ” gift as well to say ” Take Care ” and ” Be Safe ” can be a good idea too.
Safe and sound – and secure
This is not only applicable to someone travelling – it can be equally relevant to someone going out into their local environment perhaps travelling to the shops for the first time in months – maybe after sheltering in place under the Stay Home, Stay Safe policy of many countries internationally. Many people (particularly the elderly) have become nervous about going out. ¡Quédate en casa! was the refrain in Spain. And it is not only religious or Christian jewellery that features in our SHOP:
For this reason, The Good Luck Gift Shop introduced a range of jewellery that would make an ideal gift to pass on a Keep Safe message to friends and loved-ones to perhaps help give them a bit of confidence and tell them that you are there for them and thinking about them.
So whatever a colleague’s plans on venturing out, whether going shopping in the supermarket for groceries, etc, going back work, or for leisure / holiday reasons, these jewellery gifts have symbolic meaning that can be passed on to friends and loved-ones as a meaningful present.
Gifts to say Take Care in our shop
Many of our new Keep Safe gifts are based on religious or Christian symbols and values, and so would meet the needs of spiritually-minded people who are looking for meaningful jewellery and other gifts in these strange times to pass on their message to Take Care and Be Safe.
Plese visit our SHOP to see more “Keep Safe” gifts
Jewellery / Gifts with Meaning . . it’s what we do!
Jewellery for travel lovers – is there such a thing? Travel-inspired jewellery? Wanderlust jewellery? Safe travel jewellery, like a safe travel necklace, for example, and jewellery to wish a safe journey is common these days. Why? What makes the best travel jewellery gift? Read on:
Travel talismans and amulets have existed for centuries – the most popular Western figurehead of travel probably being St Christopher, often depicted on safe travel necklaces and bracelets. But other talismans for safe travel feature Runes, lucky Gemstones and Crystals, Compasses and World charms – even depictions of Noah, mankind’s original travel icon, fleeing danger in his Ark.
But apart from St Christopher, how much travel inspired jewellery features or depicts something with provenance that people have put their faith in for centuries? For example, simple Latin crosses; other Christian Saints like St Michael, St Benedict or indeed, the Camino cross of Saint James (or its associated Scallop shell way-marker symbol often seen along the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James)). And we mustn’t forget the children’s favourite, the ever-present Guardian Angel.
Much folklore, legend and superstition surrounds travel jewellery: Safe travel charms are as old as Noah’s Ark itself. Some are even USEFUL when travelling: Noah is said to have hung a huge crystal of garnet on the bowsprit of his Ark to light the way ahead and deliver him and his crew to safety from the Great Flood.
Our Travellers Cross Whistle makes a great travel necklace gift for a friend or loved-one going on a journey (or a Gap Year, for example) because it combines the symbol of the cross of St James (or the scallop shell) engraved onto the silver) combined with an actual safety whistle that can be sounded in an emergency by blowing. We have a small selection in our shop which would make an ideal gift for someone travelling.
Apart from a travel necklace adorned with safe travel charms (or well-known and respected protection charms like St Christopher, St Michael, or a Guardian Angel for example), travel jewellery rings are also common as gifts when someone is going away on a journey . . to wish them well and a speedy and safe return home.
The best jewellery for travel and for travel-lovers has both meaning and gravitas, i.e. it has REAL significance: That is to say, in addition to any value that the travel charm symbol has in itself, or the religious faith that it might represent, it can also act as a reminder to be careful when travelling: And this can be a powerful aid to staying safe whilst away from home.
In Spain they have the lucky Indalo as a protector from harm; In Western Asia and parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America they have the Evil Eye; In the Middle East and North Africa they have the Hamsa – also known as the Hand of Fatima to Jews; and so on. The list is long, so the important thing is to find something that the recipient of a travel jewellery gift actually BELIEVES in . . something in which they can trust.
And remember, a travel talisman is said to bring good luck, whereas a travel amulet is intended to ward off evil or bad luck when on a trip.
In the 21st Century, we are still superstitious about good luck, bad luck and misfortune: We are as mindful of luck and good fortune today, as our ancestors were hundreds (even thousands) of year ago. Indeed, so many people avoid the number 13, for example, that it is often absent from the floor of a hotel or the seat number on an aeroplane. The tradition of touching wood (or ‘knocking on wood’) dates back thousands of years . . and yet we still do it.
Wanderlust jewellery with a “good luck’ and “safe travel” meaning is as popular today as it was 500 years ago – perhaps more so. The St Christopher charm as a piece of safe travel jewellery is a very common gift – on travel necklaces, travel bracelets and other travel inspired jewellery, as is the Camino bracelet with the Scallop Shell talisman.
We have lots of of safe travels bracelets, necklaces, charms and other jewellery – and, if your friend of loved-one is thinking of going on the Camino de Santiago in France/Portugal/Spain, we sell a lot of travel memory necklaces related to the Way of St James – and life’s camino in general.
So, in conclusion, what travel jewellery gifts are best? Nothing too expensive (because they’re travelling!); Nothing too cheap or tacky (it’s a gift, right!); And something with REAL meaning; Something that will last.
We think that we have found the perfect offering in our online Good Luck Gift shop enabling everyone to find something suitable for their friend, loved-one or work colleague who is going away on a journey – to wish them luck and safety along the way.
For example, our unique safe travel necklace featuring a Travellers Cross whistle marked up with the Cross of Saint James (which is a great symbol for travellers) or la Vieira Concha – the Scallop shell symbol of El Camino de Santiago (possibly the greatest journey in the world). Yes, we really do offer the best jewellery for travel – meaningful, practical, prestigious and affordable . . great necklaces for travel lovers, bracelets for someone’s special camino . . a travel talisman with real significance – travel jewellery WITH MEANING.
See our shop for Travellers Cross Whistle: Safe travel jewellery with a practical use: If you get into difficulty, you can blow the whistle.
If YOU are looking for a lucky gift . . you are not alone! At any one time, up to 30% of shoppers are looking to buy a gift (£1bn+ in sales, in the UK alone) and of those, 10% are shopping to buy a “good luck gift” – that’s a lot of good luck sentiment looking to buy something to pass on wishes of good fortune to a friend or loved-one in their latest venture, event or occasion.
Many politicians, actors and sports people in particular like to carry a lucky charm, talisman or amulet, or keep one in their car, house or office. But they are not the only people who believe in good luck symbols and charms: Millions of us like to put our trust in little good luck talismans to attract good fortune (or amulets to ward off bad luck). It’s probably all down to superstition: For example, so many people avoid the number 13 in the Western hemisphere, that it is often absent from the floor of a hotel or the seat number on a plane.
The truth is, that behind many of our beliefs, there is a long history of superstition to which many people feel compelled to adhere. For example, the tradition of touching wood for good luck, dates back thousands of years when trees and Mother Nature were perceived as having a special connection. Even these days, there are few people who will openly tempt fate. This is because they sub-consciously believe that Fate is lurking out there somewhere, and they don’t want to attract her wrath.
In Greek and Roman Mythology, Fate was in fact THREE goddesses who presided over the birth, and life of humans. Each person’s destiny was depicted as a thread – spun, measured, and finally cut by the three Fates: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. On the other hand, Lady Luck is said to be the personification of GOOD luck, a version of Fortuna (or the Greek goddess Tyche) who was the goddess of fortune and the embodiment of luck in Roman culture. Fortuna is often depicted holding a ship’s rudder, a Rota Fortunae (wheel of fortune, first mentioned by Cicero) and a Cornucopia (horn of plenty). However, even Fortuna represented life’s capriciousness and could bring good luck and bad in equal measure because she was also a goddess of fate.
So, over the centuries, the concept of luck has been important and even today millions of people genuinely believe that some sort of good luck charm will bring them good fortune and prosperity, and that it will keep misfortune at bay. In fact, it has been proved in scientific experiments that it is this BELIEF that makes them have good luck or bad.
The British Museum has a complete collection of lucky charms and talismans dating back centuries. Some of the most powerful people in the world have believed in good luck charms: President Roosevelt carried one in his jacket; Napoleon carried a lucky coin; and during his election campaign, Barack Obama carried an array of good luck charms in his pocket. Michael Jordan, the famous Chicago Bulls basketball star, spent his entire NBA career wearing his old University of North Carolina shorts under his team shorts – for good luck.
So, yes, people like to have so-called ‘Lucky Charms’, and giving one to a friend or loved-one can be a smart idea because, overall, most people are mindful of Lady Luck and are often looking for ways to appease her. To make sure that your Lucky Gift goes down well, it would be wise to listen to the words of Tennessee Williams: “There’s real power in a thought made positive or concrete by a lucky charm”. Yes, lucky charm gifts really can help people’s dreams come true, and a gift for good luck that has real meaning will almost always be a success.
Our good luck gifts are based on ancient faiths, talismans, and symbols . . the sort that have helped people for many years. People have put their faith in these beliefs for centuries: And our gifts help people to have this belief. They have real provenance and derivation.
The simple lucky clover:
It is believed that the meaning of clovers pre-dates Christianity, going back to a time when clovers were used as Celtic charms. The Celts once extended across Ireland and into much of Western Europe and the Celtic priests, the Druids, considered them a sign of good luck, allegedly protecting against evil spirits and warding off evil / bad luck.
According to legend, the four leaves of a Lucky Clover represent hope, faith, love, and luck because, in Irish Christian tradition, the Shamrock (or 3-leaf clover) represented the Holy Trinity: one leaf for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit. When a Shamrock has a fourth leaf, it represents God’s Grace, and so encapsulates everything that a person could want.
The ubiquitous lucky horseshoe:
The Horseshoe is probably the most commonly recognised good luck symbol in the Western World. The combination of luck, protection, religion, and magic that is captivated by the Horseshoe symbol means that many people believe it will bring them good fortune – and help to ward off evil.
Man has long believed that the crescent-shape was a powerful protective talisman: For the Greeks, it symbolised the moon with links to Artemis and Diana. In olde England, St Dunstan nailed a horseshoe to a horse when working as a blacksmith. But the horse was actually the Devil in disguise and it caused the Devil great pain. St Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe after the Devil promised never to enter a house with a horseshoe. And so, the symbol of protection arose.
For years, people have thought that certain gemstones have magical powers. e.g. Jade is supposed to promote longevity; Rose Quartz to attract love, and Carnelian is believed to bring courage.
Back to Cleopatra and beyond, gemstone jewellery has been worn for their supposed magical powers . . to help protect people, bring them prosperity and good luck, as well as good health, longevity . . even love, and to help them to succeed. It has been scientifically proved that this belief brings people better fortune in their lives.
Religious symbols for good fortune
Many people believe that religious symbols can bring them good fortune. For example, on the famous Camino de Santiago across northern Spain it is common to see people carrying the Scallop Shell symbol – la concha de vieira . . an expression and reflection of their faith perhaps, but also for some, it has been give them as a lucky gift to wish “buen viaje” or “buen camino” or “good journey”.
Many also carry with them the cross of St James, the Travellers Cross – believed to promote faith and good fortune.
Not all lucky gifts are the same. But one thing is certain: The gifts for good luck in our shop are designed to be just that: Gifts to pass on good fortune – items for the home or office that are genuinely believed to be lucky – possessing provenance and real, genuine character that really DOES mean something, and usually featuring symbols that people have put their faith in for many years.
Make sure that your lucky gift has real provenance / derivation. If it doesn’t, it’ll just be another meaningless gift to fill up the mantlepiece shelf.
Now that you know it’s best if a lucky gift has real meaning, you’re ready to find that ideal and magical gift for good luck that features in our shop
Travel to Mojacar: 3 feverish days of fiesta to experience southern Spain at its best, and witness the lucky Indalo souvenir
Mojácar’s Festival of Moors and Christians is one of the year’s most anticipated parties in the province of Almería, southeast Spain. People in the surrounding area (and from miles around too) live all year round in expectation of this spectacular event. It’s not that there aren’t other “fiestas de Moros y Cristianos” in the region (for example down the coast at Carboneras – or across the “border” into Murcia, at the famous town of Caravaca de la Cruz. It’s just that the Mojácar fiesta is – well, special.
The people of the town live all year round in anticipation of the event, with much planning, making of costumes, and organisation of the groups and associations called kábilas and barracks. And the many foreigners of the area join in with gusto. But . .
Where is Mojacar? What is the the point of the Fiesta of Moors and Christians? Which part of Spain is Mojacar?
Mojácar is a small town on the coast of Almería in the south east corner of Spain. It is called a “hilltop” town because the large old quarter that sits atop a hill. But nowadays there is a substantial beachside area too with many bars and restaurants, and discos – as well a shops selling souvenirs, jewellery, and ceramics of Andalucía . . as can be seen also in our online Good Luck Gift Shop store .
By day, Mojacár is a quiet Andalusian village on the Mediterranean coast, with narrow cobbled streets, and the beach-side resort that stretches for some 7 miles with beautiful sand and warm waters. But at night in the late spring and summer . . the town comes alive with fun and frivolity . . and no more so than during the Fiesta de los Moros y Cristianos in June. People dress up (and the Spanish love “las disfraces” – costumes), either as Arab/Moors or as “Christians”. The reason is that, for around 600 years, Spain was more or less under Muslim control as the Moors moved north through the country. But they never quite succeeded in a complete takeover, being finally thwarted in the north, with areas of Galicia, Asturias and Navarra holding on with their Christian beliefs, and the The Catholic Monarchs (Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon) finally beginning the re-establishment of Christian influence that the great El Cid (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar) had begun 400 years earlier. By then, the country was a melting pot of races and religions (including a large population of Jews) and many lived in complete harmony. But there were endless scirmishes between Moors and Christians as the Moors were pushed back south – and many ‘border’ towns’ like Caravaca and Mojácar had constant battles.
Mojacar fiesta of Moors and Christians
So, the fiesta of Moors and Christians re-enacts these battles with half the people dressing up as Moors – and the other half as Christians – in a delightful display of colour. All is friendly: But it wasn’t always so: And many residents still see themselves as “Moors” despite the country having been “re-united” a long time ago (from the 15th Century under Los Reyes Catolicos) and some still feel very strongly about their history:“I am as Spanish as you”, says one dressed-up ‘Moor’, “but my race has been living in Spain for more than 600 years. I have never raised arms against the Christians. I therefore believe it is fair that you treat me like a brother, not like an enemy, and that you allow us to continue to work our land.” He added: “Before handing myself over like a coward, I will die like a Spaniard” (a reference perhaps to the final exit of the Moors from Spain, after defeat outside Granada, when Boabdil (Abu `Abdallah Muhammad XII (1460 – 1533), the last Nasrid ruler of the Emirate of Granada in Iberia) looked back at the great walled city with its Alhambra . . as he left for the last time – with the words of his mother Aisha ringing in his ears: “‘Weep like a woman for what you could not defend like a man.” This re-capture by the Spanish of the Granada Emirate in 1492 resulted in the final expulsion of “Los Moriscos” from España. It was over . . but not forgotten.
Each year, on the first day (Friday) of La Fiesta de Los Moros y Cristianos there is a gathering of “trabuqueros” outside Mojácar’s Town Hall, followed by an assembly of ‘troops’ at La Fuente (the town water fountain), and subsequent delivery of the keys to the ‘city’ by the “King” of the Moors, to the Christian King.
As this is Spain, where any excuse for a party is heeded, the whole process is re-enacted in the evening, and several times – often late into the night, over the next couple of days (and nights). The participants (and attendant crowd) climb to the top of the town and announce the presence of hostile troops in the vicinity of the city, accompanied by bands of music, fireworks and rifle salvoes. The troops then enter the town and attend a bonfire, with the inevitable party until dawn.
On Saturday – everyone heads to the beach – why not?! for a repeat performance and mock battles (with lots of alcohol consumed – as the night before) Why? Because Moorish reinforcements have arrived of course! So they march to the Chiringuitos on the beach, dance and there is another battle and show of fireworks before they return to the hilltop village for more partying “hasta que salga el sol” (until sunrise).
On Sunday (hangover or not) it all starts again – with more riflemen with blunderbusses on the beach and finally an impressive evening parade of Moors and Christians, in full regalia and with weapons drawn, accompanied by numerous bands and fanfares.
There are no victors nor losers, and the essence of these Muslim, Christian and Jewish believers is one of mutual respect, and to live in peace together for another year in Mojácar.
Mojacar souvenirs, and what is the Indalo man of Mojacar?
In our SHOP , we have a range of souvenirs from Mojácar – in particular featuring the local symbol: Indalo Man , which is said to offer protection and good luck, and be a great gift from Spain. This Mojacar souvenir features on jewellery, ceramics and other giftware.
You can see Indalo gifts and souvenirs from Mojácar in our central store.
Some of the Indalo jewellery pendants and necklaces in our shop were developed as a souvenir of a great time enjoyed in the clubs of Mojácar. But because Mojacar is a bit of a party town (although by day, a quiet Andalusian village on the Mediterranean coast in the south east corner of Spain), these Indalo gifts can also act as a souvenir of a great time partying . . anywhere! And, because this little lucky charm – the Indalo, can be gifted as a good luck present . . a charm necklace to bring your friend good luck, it is now recognised in many parts of the world for this reason.
For centuries, the so-called “muñeco mojaquero” or Mojácar doll symbol (which later was to be called Indalo Man) was daubed in red clay paint on dwellings in the area as an act of faith to help protect houses from misfortune. The origin of this symbol has been linked to the Neolithic period in the province (and the local cave paintings in Vélez Blanco), although the eventual name “Indalo” comes from a combination of Christian and Latin roots and Almería’s cultural movement during the 1950s. (Indalecio was the local Saint and ‘Patrón’ in Almería, and ‘Indal Eccius’ means Messenger of the Gods in ancient Iberian.) But, in particular, during Almería’s cultural movement during the 1950s, a local archaeologist and painter Juan Cuadrado, (colleague of another artist, and the group leader, Perceval) learnt of the 5,000 year-old paintings in the cave of Los Letreros in nearby Vélez Blanco. The parietal art (or petroglyphs) had been discovered nearly 100 years earlier by a fellow archeologist Antonio Gongorra Martinez, and subsequently daubed on the walls of properties in Vélez as a sort of good luck totem, because they thought the symbols in the cave represented some sort of ancient God of protection. As it turned out, they appeared right in this assumption! because a subsequent series of earthquakes wreaked havoc on the coastal towns, but the villagers of Vélez (a bit to the north) seemed ‘protected’ and suffered little damage.
Cuadrado offered his artistic representation of one of the paintings in the cave (Indalo-shaped) to Perceval, to be the logo of the artistic group to which they belonged. The name Indalo too was the inspiration of Cuadrado (since Indalecio was a common local name – after the patron Saint of the area, San Indalecio, a 1st Century missionary and Apostle). Cuadrado then suggested that their group of artists be named ‘Los Indalianos’.
So the Indalo Man symbol itself is pre-historic in origin but in its modern form (and there are various designs) it is now recognised as a lucky symbol of the whole region of Almería in Andalucía – and it is said to offer protection from misfortune. But its adopted home is really Mojácar and you see the symbol everywhere. Over many years, it has offered its residents the prospect of good luck and even today, it is strongly believed that a lucky Indalo will bring good fortune to the owner. To anyone who visits Mojácar, it is the only souvenir to have – or to send to a friend as good luck gift.
Many of our Indalo necklaces, pendants and bracelets have been fashioned and hand-crafted in Andalucía. The Indalo makes a great little gift – both as a celebration of nightlife, like that of Mojacar (and the surrounding areas of Vera Playa and Garrucha), and as a souvenir or memoir of Almería and other such places along this coast.
If you can remember that special party or fiesta – especially if you enjoyed it on the warm beaches of the Mediterranean sea – partying until the early hours, and would like a more permanent reminder of the fun time, you could order one of our little Indalo charms. It could be a souvenir of a great time had by all.