Are Hamsters Lucky in Peru?
(Prologue: March may come in like a lion, but I’m kicking it off with a hamster.)
Day 054 – September 14, 2011
Are hamsters considered lucky in Peru?
This space may be the only place in all Creation that you will see the six words used in the previous sentence arranged in such an order.
The question concerning the furry rodent and its effect on one’s suerte (Spanish for “luck”) is not merely academic. I make this inquiry because of two advertisements for the same bank that I have seen recently. One was a television commercial and the other was a newspaper ad for a local bank called Banco de Credito (BCP).
Here is the print advertisement…
From left to right, the mythic folk you see above include…
…Maneki Neko, or the Beckoning Cat. From Japanese culture, this statue of a cat with an upright paw is thought to bring good fortune;
…the aforementioned hamster, who may or not be lucky; and
…the Tooth Fairy, known to many people in the United States as a pixie who, for reasons known only to herself, collects the baby teeth of children and leaves them money.
The television commercial has the same characters seen above, but it also includes a genie and a leprechaun.
The conceit of this ad campaign is that the experts of luck and good fortune all agree that bank customers want cash money as prizes for the bank’s promotion and not toasters.
The genie, Ekeko, Beckoning Cat, Tooth Fairy, and leprechaun are an impressive array of figures concerning all things lucky and fortuitous. It’s almost like a League of Extraordinarily (Lucky) Gentlemen.
(And for those of you playing Sin Polaris Reference Bingo, you may now place your marker on the Alan Moore square of your playing card.)
Then, there is the hamster. What is he (she?) doing among the pixie dust and waving cats that makes her (him?) such an authority in luck, fortune, or abundance?
I would really would like to know if the hamster is considered to be a good luck charm in Peru, because if it is, I will think really hard before ordering cuy in a restaurant.
End Note: For purposes of this posting, I am grouping cuy, which I know is guinea pig, with hamsters as almost being the same type of animal because they share the same shelf at PETCO and PetSmart, which is almost as a good a classification guide as anything Linnaeus dreamed up.