Good luck charms around the world all serve the same purpose…to prevent bad luck and keep away the evil. They may differ in looks, design and even what they are purported to provide, but the idea behind each is the same. From culture to culture, lucky charms are worn or used, sold and traded, and have often got origins dated back thousands of years.

Mali Good Luck Charm

The main good luck charms in Mali are the Gris-gris charm amulets. Used across most West African nations, the Gris-Gris is a talisman with necklaces designed to provide protection from evil and in some countries are worn as a form of birth control aid.

History of the lucky charm Gris-gris

Historically, the Gris-gris was associated with Voodoo and would consist of a small cloth bag on a necklace made from Malian wood and beads. The bag would contain several items including lucky potions and animal bones to ward off the evil spirits and provide protection as well as good luck. The Gris-gris talisman is common across West African nations and still sold on market stalls.

Why the Gris-gris charm is bringing luck

The Gris-gris charm is more associated with preventing bad luck and keeping the wearer safe than it is directly about bringing good luck. The items traditionally included in the Gris-gris back helped ward off evil and provide magical powers.

How to use the Gris-gris charm

The Gris-gris charm is hung from a necklace, traditionally a handmade wooden one in Mali. The necklaces feature colourful and intricate designs as well as beads. More modern designs feature a small metal amulet from a smaller chorded necklace strap. It is worn at all times to prevent bad luck.

How the Gris-gris charm is made

The traditional form of a Gris-gris bag charm saw it made from cloth with stones, herbs, bones, scriptures and potions carried from the necklace. The cloth bag still remains in most modern designs of the charms, while alternatives have also been created featuring small leather boxes and metal amulets. They remain designed to keep small artefacts for luck.

How to make a Gris-gris charm at home

It is very simple to create your own Gris-gris. You need a necklace chord, a small cloth bag or material to make one, and some lucky items that you want to add to the Gris-gris.

Interesting and fun facts about the Gris-gris charm

• Gris-gris charms are said to have a long rich history in West African countries
• Cloth Gris-gris bag traditionally contain personal items and potions for protection
• The bags are historically worn from wooden necklaces in Mali