In many places in Nigeria, the horseshoe is hung at the entrances of many family houses because it is believed to protect and bring good luck and fortune for the members of the family who reside in those houses. Just as with many superstitions in the country I find some contradictions with that belief in connection with the horseshoe.


Let us look at an example. The Yoruba tribe in Nigeria believes that a horseshoe will bring good luck if you hang it with its ends pointing up because it acts as a storage container for collecting kinds for good luck that is floating by, but if it is hung with its ends pointing down, it will bring bad luck because all the good luck will simply fall out!


However, in other parts of the same Yoruba land, there are other people who believe that it does not matter which way the horseshoe is hung; good luck will come and the house will be protected. This superstition implies that when the ends of the horseshoe points down, good luck can flow out and then surround the house.


Therefore many people with this belief use a combination of the two ways of hanging the horseshoe over their door; that is, the horseshoe is hung ends up for a few days to fill it up with good luck and later hung ends down so that the good luck it has collected can come out and spread over the door to benefit the occupants of the house and protect them from the evil that could enter the house. This process is repeated endlessly!


Here is another reason why horseshoes are believed to be a symbol of good luck. Horseshoes are made by metal workers or blacksmiths. Metal work is believed to be an extremely lucky trade, because blacksmiths work with magical iron and elemental fire, so they are considered to possess special powers.


I also learnt that there are some people in this country who believe that a blacksmith has the power to heal the sick and that if a blacksmith marries a couple, their marriage will be a very happy one. Blacksmiths acquire this power because they make the good luck horseshoes.


Originally, horseshoes were made from iron, hence the superstitions associated with the object. Iron is considered to possess magical powers because it is able to withstand fire and is much stronger than many other metal objects. This superstitions about iron came since the prehistoric times when it was used to make the charm for warding off evil spirits.

In my country, no amount of scientific or technology advancement can eradicate believes and superstitions, just like in the case of the horseshoe. Beliefs about the horseshoe vary from city to city, village to village and from tribe to tribe. It baffles me to realize that some superstitions just can never be eradicated no matter what. If you check your own country too, I'm almost sure you will find a couple of such beliefs like that of the horseshoe, no matter how advanced you may be scientifically or technologically!