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The Mascot and Luck

Does a Mascot bring Good Luck to those that have it?

By Charles L Harmon

Chief Osceola mascot

Florida State University mascots, Chief Osceola and Renegade.

 

Wherever you see it the mascot is more popular today than ever before. Let’s see exactly what a mascot is according to the first definition on dictionary.com.

mascot

–noun

an animal, person, or thing adopted by a group as its representative symbol and supposed to bring good luck: The U.S. Navy mascot is a goat.

The mascot is everywhere. I haven’t been to all countries or seen all uses of a mascot, but here in the USA you see mascots everywhere and just take them for granted. Most sports teams have them. Seems like every high school and college has a mascot to represent their team(s).

As if that’s not enough even the Federal Government has “Uncle Sam” of which everyone has heard of. In England there’s “John Bull.” If you live in another country it’s likely your country has one too to represent the country. Another example is the maple leaf on the Canadian Flag, and the coat of arms of Mexico.

Every country has a national flag and that too can be considered a mascot, depending on how you interpret the definition. Even a person’s image might be classified as a mascot if it represents a country or some other group of people.

An honorific title such as The Father of the Nation, given to the world famous Mahatma Gandhi, is often used as a national symbol in conjunction with his picture, and can sometimes symbolize the same good fortune characteristics as a mascot, or indeed be a mascot.

What do all these things have in common? They represent a group of people, a country, an organization, a club, a team, or some other association of people. Mascots, whether you are aware of it or not, are a very ancient practice when they represent any of the above.

Mascots are closely related to medieval witchcraft and sorcery in the Western World and protection against the “Evil Eye” and other bad influences in the ancient world. The word mascot, to signify something or someone that brings good luck is a relatively modern introduction into our language.

Mascot stems from the Provencal French masco, meaning sorceress and mascot, meaning sorcery and witchcraft. The masco or mascot evolved to mean a bringer of good luck by keeping sorcery or witchcraft away. Later mascot was extended to include animals, and now it includes “things” , all of which are expected to raise the moral of whatever group or individual adopts it. In the present day mascots have taken on an official and public capacity as indicated by countries and other governments using them.

A dog is a very popular mascot because it serves the dual purpose of protecting its master as well as good luck. Other animals such as birds, cats, goats, monkeys, plus many not mentioned, are almost as desirable as well.

Whenever a change from bad to good luck or when extra good luck is desired, mascots fill the need and express a psychological tie-in with animal totems of ancient times. The god-like animal characters of ancient man were endowed with a supernatural sense, or so they thought, which in close relationship with man could guide man in his activities and minimize dangers and evil.

Does a Mascot bring Good Luck? Ask the people that believe in them. Mascots aren’t the “be all, solve all” solution. The reason addicts sometimes lose, despite their faith in their mascot, is something the ancients understood well and explained; no mascot would bring good fortune to anyone that was unworthy of it. Failure only meant work harder at whatever was expected to bring good results. This seems, even today, to be sound psychological reasoning, regardless of considering mascots or not.

Copyright © 2010 – 2013 Charles L Harmon

 

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