Statue rubbing

Blarney Stone Superstition Wishing well
Rubbing the toes of the John Harvard statue

Statue rubbing is the act of touching a part of a public statue. Popular among tourists, it is a form of superstition that is believed to bring good luck, ensure a return to the city, improve love life or make a wish come true.

The parts that are supposed to be rubbed are usually the most protruding or characteristic ones, for example noses or feet.[1] Some of those superstitions also involve touching breasts or genitalia of the person depicted on the statue – this is usually supposed to bring luck in love or improve fertility.

Rubbing statues can have negative effects on them as it causes erosion. Because of that some places discourage or ban tourists from doing it.[2][3] It is also possible to acquire a bacterial infection from touching statues.[4]

Notable examples

Similarly rubbing the belly of any statue depicting Budai is said to bring good luck.[11] This custom might have originated from the Laughing Buddha statue in the Lingyin Temple.[12]

Similar rituals

The Blarney Stone kissing ritual

See also


  1. ^ "Statue Burnishing Etiquette". Roadside America. Archived from the original on 2 January 2017 – via Web Archive.
  2. ^ a b "'Lewd rubbing' shuts Paris statue". BBC. 2 November 2004.
  3. ^ "Greyfriars Bobby's nose rubbing plea by Edinburgh officials". BBC. 31 October 2014.
  4. ^ Leigh Stewart (26 August 2019). "The bacteria on Europe's monuments: the results are in". Atlas Biomed.
  5. ^ "Tourists Love to Rub the Bronze Balls of Wall Street's Charging Bull Statue. Why?". Atlas Obscura. 19 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Porcellino Fountain in Florence". Visit Tuscany.
  7. ^ {{Cite web|url= https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/shining-example-an-irishwoman-s-diary-on-the-molly-malone-statue-and-inventing-a-tradition-1.4031633
  8. ^ Sarah Sheffer (27 February 2014). "Veronas Juliet statue removed after continued damage by love-seeking tourists". PBS.
  9. ^ "Statue of St. Peter". St Peter's Basilica Info.
  10. ^ Nazlan Ertan (13 December 2008). "Wishing well, wishing wise". Hürriyet.
  11. ^ Barbara O'Brien. "The Laughing Buddha". Learn Religions.
  12. ^ "The Luckiest Places in the World to Visit". 15 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Kiss The Blarney Stone". Blarney Castle.
  14. ^ "Mouth of truth". Rome.net.
  15. ^ "Jumping on the stone Dubrovnik". Dubrovnik Digest.