How often times have you passed a fountain and thought of throwing a penny in there, just on the off opportunity that a dream could come true? And the number of fountains have you seen that did not have coins in them? Chances are, they are few and far between.
Throwing money into fountains is something all of us seem to take as the standard. It rarely strikes us as bizarre that we are literally throwing cash away, after all, it’s simply a penny or more, here and there. But if you stop and think for a second, why’d tossing cash away ever be thought about a clever thing to do? Where did this originate, and why do we do it?
The Origin of Wishing Wells
Water is a vital part of life. Till recently, having a source of unlimited clean water was something of a luxury. And even today, in some parts of the world, clean water is difficult to discover. Centuries ago in Europe, this clean water was thought about a gift from gods. In fact, many individuals believed gods, or divine beings, actually lived in the water.
As such, individuals would compromise what little cash they’d to these gods in order to honor them, quell them, or guarantee that the clean water kept flowing. Water was also seen to have fantastic recovery homes, and this added to the concept that water was somehow higher than something that quenches our thirst or keeps us clean.
Of course, over the years these offerings featured little demands of the gods. Absolutely nothing big, perhaps a little appeal to help a liked one recover from a disease, or to assist generate an excellent crop in the autumn harvest. And that, in turn, caused wishing wells, numerous already existed naturally, others were constructed particularly for the purpose of providing desires. And to this day, the custom of tossing cash into wells and fountains still exists.
Norse folklore also plays a part in this custom. Mimir’s Well, likewise called the ‘Well of Knowledge,’ was expected to provide you infinite knowledge if you sacrificed something you held dear. For most people that was something valuable, like money. Odin, the Allfather of the gods and ruler of Asgard, took that a little additional. He included his right eye so he could receive the wisdom of seeing the future, and the understanding of why things must be. So, if you ever wondered why Odin wears an eye patch, now you understand.
The Fountains of Wealth
Knowing why we toss cash into fountains, it triggers the concern …’Just how much cash do we discard each year?’ And not only that, however where does it all go?
Some fountains around the globe make a lot of cash. It’s estimated that the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, collects around $4000 every day! That’s virtually $1.5 million each year. This money goes to an Italian charity that feeds the poor, so it doesn’t go to waste. It’s also targeted by thieves, who’ve been captured shoveling these coins into bags late during the night. It does raise another question: Does cash discarded really belong to anybody? It’s the most rewarding fountain on the planet, bringing in around one third of all the cash tossed into fountains around the world, some $4.5 million, according to the Fountain Money Mountain report.
Not all fountains are quite that lucrative though. Surprisingly, fountains in Las Vegas only bring in around $10,000 annually. This money goes to the Simon Youth Foundation. You ‘d assume individuals in Vegas would desire all the luck they can get!
And then there’s Chicago’s Buckingham fountain. In an excellent year, it’ll yield $200. Maybe the people of Chicago aren’t quite as superstitious as those in Rome or Las Vegas!
Have you ever tossed a coin into a fountain and made a wish?