Lucky git

Article published on Feb. 7, 2008
Article published on Feb. 7, 2008

Since when are expressions for being a lucky git associated with a backside in Europe?

Once upon a time in France, young mothers would decorate their babies' cots with necklaces bearing the image of the Virgin Mary, in full belief it would bring their newborns life-longluck. The resulting French expression is avoir le cul bordé de médailles (having your bum surrounded by necklaces) – clear consciences hardly appreciate that some Christian figures are being poked fun at.

Other less clear consciences use the alternative expression: avoir le cul bordé de nouilles (having your bum surrounded by (cheap) pasta). Today, both expressions have evolved into implying that someone is a lucky git, as in Italy - ‘che culo (what a bum!) the Italians roar, eyes and hands raised to the sky. Religious emphasis is not excluded; the addition of che culo ... della madonna once again invokes the Virgin Mary.

Other, more pragmatic, Europeans prefer to leave it to nature. Forget flowerbeds; lucky Spaniards often have a flower planted in their backside (tener una flor en el culo).

The Romanians choose to use a strong animal metaphor: a fi plin de noroc ca câinele de purici (literally, being as full of luck as dog with fleas). The Germans come full circle and associate being lucky with fat - not the cellulite type - but the rind or lard. Schwein gehabt! (Pig is had!), they exclaim when somebody has had luck. The expression finds its origin in the middle-ages, when the unlucky loser from a tournament often returns not with his tail between his legs, but rather his arms loaded with a small and crumpled pig as his consolatory prize.