Cultures around the world contain stories, beliefs, traditions, superstitions, and legends that point to certain things bringing people good luck and good fortune. Rainbows, four-leafed clovers, shooting stars, and heads-up pennies, are all believed to bring with them good luck for the person who encounters them. And another one? The chimney sweep. Around the world people have come to believe that an encounter with a friendly chimney sweep could mean that good fortune lies ahead.
Is there anything to it? Are chimney sweeps really lucky? Well, here at The Chimney Guys, we won’t blame you if the exceptional work we do leaves you convinced that there has to be more than pure skill going on. Read on and decide for yourself.
Where Did the Stories Start?
To find out where the belief that chimney sweeps are lucky comes from we should go back to Ancient Rome, where the first recorded chimney sweepers appeared. Even back then in the Roman Empire they knew that a clean and well-maintained chimney meant safety and warmth for your home. It was evident that unkempt chimneys were dangerous and that the chimney sweep brought with him safety, warm fireplaces, and, therefore, comfort.
Chimney sweeps continued to appear throughout the middle ages and, as population densities grew, so did the need for fireplaces and chimneys. As populations increased, nearly every house built contained a chimney, and it was around this time that the business of chimney sweeping became an important part of commerce and city safety.
Long story short… Running into a chimney sweep meant that your home would be warm and free of smoke. In that part of history, a warm house was a lucky thing indeed. Thus, the wide-ranging belief of chimney sweeps bearing good luck began. Stories and legends were born and traditions were created.
Stories & Legend of Chimney Sweeps
According to one legend of chimney sweep luck in 1066, William the Conqueror had invaded England and was crowned king. While walking in London, he found himself face-to-face with a stampeding team of horses pulling an out of control carriage. With no time to get out of the way, he was suddenly pushed to safety by a chimney sweep. So relieved was the king that he declared that all chimney sweeps be considered bringers of good luck – and that they should be celebrated as such.
There is no way to know if there is any truth to this story, but curiously another story of a similar occurrence pops up about 700 years later when King George II was traveling by carriage. It is said that a dog spooked the team of horses that was pulling him. Having lost control and being thrown about inside, things were looking bleak for the king. Suddenly a brave chimney sweep leapt to action, calming the horses, and saving the king.
Once again, royalty made an official declaration that chimney sweeps are, in fact, bearers of good luck and good fortune.
Other stories and traditions having to do with chimney sweeps include:
- A Kiss For a Bride: In Germany, many weddings include a special invitation to a chimney sweep. It is believed that having a chimney sweep at your wedding to dole out kisses means that there will be blessings to come. Often, grooms will make a show of paying the chimney sweep to give a kiss to the bride, thus promising good luck and good fortune on the newlyweds.
- A New Year’s Button Rub: If you find yourself in a small town in Austria on New Year’s Day, you may be visited by a chimney sweep. Traditionally, chimney sweeps would collect payment for their services on the first of the year. Families would happily pay knowing that with the chimney sweep came comfort and safety – and just for good measure they would rub the buttons on his uniform to ensure an extra bit of luck.
- Chimney Sweep Figurines: Throughout Europe, it’s common to see small figures of chimney sweeps decorating hearths, shelves, and nightstands. These often whimsical depictions of top hat-wearing chimney sweeps playfully remind everyone that there is nothing to lose when it comes to gaining good luck. Even though they aren’t generally taken too seriously, these trinkets act a bit like a talisman for families looking for a little more fortune in their lives.
- Bert & His Song: Mary Poppins in her classic Disney story, was not exempt from the belief that chimney sweeps were lucky. Who can forget Bert dancing with penguins, riding carousel horses through the park, and dancing on the rooftops with fellow chimney sweeps? The adventures of the Banks kids with Mary took them right to Bert as he explained to them the chimney sweep’s lucky presence singing, “Good luck will rub off when I shake hands with you, or blow me a kiss and that’s lucky too.”
Rely On Us – Reach Out Today
Whatever you believe about the chimney sweep, don’t forget the truth that a clean and well-maintained chimney means safety and enjoyment in your home. Our sweeps at The Chimney Guys can make sure that you are well taken care of and, maybe, just maybe, given a little good luck to boot.
Call us at 434-481-3796 or reach out to us online now.