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The Fascinating Origin and Meaning of the 'Crossed Fingers' Gesture

Origin and Meaning of the 'Crossed Fingers' Gesture
If you are awaiting an important phone call and you find yourself sitting by the phone with your fingers crossed, it simply means that you are hoping for some good news. 'Crossing your fingers' has two different meanings. This post will help you uncover the same and also explain why this gesture is used while lying!
Ashmeet Bagga
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did You Know?
United Kingdom's National lottery, Virginia lottery in the United States, and Oregon lottery use the crossed fingers gesture as their logo.
Imagine this situation. You asked a girl out for a date maybe through a text or a phone call and all this while you were holding your index finger over the middle one, why? Because if you do so, it is highly unlikely that she will reject you. And she said yes to your proposal, your mind started thinking crossing your finger really works!
Believing in luck makes us do such things, for instance some people wear lucky charms during their exams or an important interview which they wish to crack, some wear a particular color outfit on Thursdays. These are nothing but superstitions.

The tradition of crossing your fingers is very common, you will notice a kid crossing his fingers behind his back while lying to his parent. Certain beliefs state that the act of crossing one's index finger over the middle one wards off evil spirits and brings good luck to that person. It is a hand gesture used widely and is referred to by the idiom - keeping one's fingers crossed.

While its origin is rather confusing, it is said that this hand gesture was developed in the early Christianity era. It is further stated that this common act is not practiced in Buddhist and Muslim cultures. In the following sections we will emphasize more on what does crossing your fingers mean and its origin.
Origin of Crossing Fingers
cross fingers
► Although the exact origins of the practice is not definite, but still historians were able to shed some light on this ordinary hand gesture. A group of historians were of the view that it has been used during the pre-Christianity Pagan belief in Western Europe.
► First theory suggests that few people in olden times believed in the concept of 'Sacred Geometry' which suggests that benign spirits resided at the intersections of crosses. These believers would make wishes by crossing their index finger with another person's index finger, thinking that this would invoke the good spirits to fulfill their wishes.
► Second theory may or may not be true but few historians vouch for this reason. It was stated that when Christianity was at its baby stage, it was banned and outlawed. Severe consequences befell individuals who followed this religion. Because of this, followers were forced into secrecy and they developed signs and certain symbols which helped them to acknowledge each other. Crossed fingers was one of those signs, crossed fingers sign was different back then.
► Members would present their thumb and index finger in the shape of "L". Each member would make this shape, with their thumbs touching and crossing their index fingers.
► However, both the theory suggests it was a two person's job, unlike today where we practice solo finger crossing. One person crossing finger was popularized somewhere during the "Hundred Years War" around 14th century. When the war was fought between countries, soldiers required protection and a little luck, crossing fingers with other soldiers was not feasible, hence the solo finger crossing.
► The origin of crossing fingers when lying is more confusing, but it is thought that this practice has its roots in Christianity. One of the Ten Commandments "Do not testify falsely against your neighbor". In simple language, it means don't lie. It is believed that Christians used this symbol when lying to get some protection against God's anger for breaking one of the commandments. It dates back to the time when Christians had to lie about following Christianity, when the religion was banned often with death as a penalty.
Crossed Fingers: Meaning
► It has a very simple and straightforward meaning. It is considered as a sign of wishing good luck or fortune. It also means that an individual is hoping for something good to happen.
► Holding your crossed fingers near your face or shoulders means you are hoping for or wishing good luck.

► It means both luck and lie. A person can cross both his hands fingers, if they are wishing for something special.

► Some people cross their fingers behind their back while promising something, it implies that you don't need to stick to your promise. It is also followed by somebody who is lying thinking that this cross will save them from going to hell.
► Another superstition states when you walk under a ladder you must keep your fingers crossed to ward off any evil coming your way.
It's meaning in different countries
► In sixteenth century, in England, people crossed fingers to ward off evil when anybody used to cough or sneeze.

► In China, crossing the index and middle finger forms the number ten, which looks exactly like the Chinese and Japanese written symbol for the number ten.

► In Vietnam, crossing fingers is considered disrespectful to women, and is deemed to be a grievous act when directed at somebody.
It has both positive and negative association. On one hand, it provides luck but on the other hand it is done to protect us from the white lie. Whether it really works or not for that we need to depend on the researchers and people who actually follow this hand gesture.