Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Luci from Mokena, IL. Luci Wonders, “Can you make a wish come true?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Luci!
What do birthday candles, shooting stars, and eyelashes all have in common? If you've ever blown out a birthday candle, seen a shooting star, or found a stray eyelash, then you've probably done one other thing almost immediately: made a wish.
Wishes are something that we all have and we all make. If it's raining, we wish it were sunny. If we're served broccoli for dinner, some of us might wish it were pizza instead. If we have $50 saved up and that brand-new game we want is $60, then we probably wish it would go on sale or that we had an extra $10.
While our wishes are often small and practical, they can also be big and fantastical. Have you ever wished you won the lottery? How about wishing for a new car? Some people wish they were famous or had superhuman powers.
Wishes can also be very personal and important to the innermost parts of who we are. Have you ever wished that your one true love would come your way? If you find yourself fighting a life-threatening illness, your greatest wish may be for your health to be restored.
Just how did we start making wishes on birthday candles, shooting stars, and eyelashes, though? These are just a few of the superstitions that exist related to making wishes. Let's take a closer look at how a few of these got their start.
Some historians believe we can thank the ancient Greeks for making wishes as we blow out birthday candles. Their belief that smoke from the candles carried prayers to the gods may have been the origin of making wishes when we blow out the candles on our birthday cakes.
Likewise, ancient writer and astronomer Ptolemy believed that shooting stars occurred when the gods were looking down upon us from above. Wishing upon a shooting star was the best way to make sure the gods heard your wish while they were paying attention.
Wishing on eyelashes has been traced back to mid-19th-century folklore in Shropshire, England. Another piece of ancient folklore — from Ireland — holds that catching the mythical leprechaun will lead to him granting you three wishes.
Those aren't the only superstitions related to making wishes. You'll also find people making wishes on dandelions, wishbones, ladybugs, times of the day (such as 11:11), wishing wells, and even the first star they see at night (thanks to the late-19th-century nursery rhyme).
Do wishes ever come true? Of course, they do! However, whether a wish comes true or not doesn't have anything to do with birthday candles, shooting stars, or eyelashes. Sometimes it's just chance. Other fulfilled wishes might be the result of simple hard work. Still other wishes might come to fruition as a result of kind-hearted people.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation of America, for example, grants thousands of wishes each year to children who are battling life-threatening illnesses. Their work, thanks to thousands of volunteers, has helped to make wishes come true for children who are otherwise facing some of the darkest days of their lives. More than just bringing momentary happiness, however, fulfilled wishes have often given children the strength they need to continue fighting their illnesses.
You don't need to be part of a large organization to make someone's wish come true, though. All you need is a willingness to help others around you. If you become aware of someone's wish and realize it's within your power to make it a reality, go for it! Making someone else's wish come true can change your own life in the process!