One day I was walking along Macquarie Street behind a very well dressed couple who were obviously in a hurry. He kept saying to her ‘We are late already!’ to which she replied tersely ‘I know, I know, come on, it will NOT take long’. They sped off ahead of me but I caught up to them just in time to see what they were up to. The woman had stopped outside Sydney Hospital, where she rubbed the nose of the boar statue, put a coin in the collection receptacle, dropped a kiss on the boar’s head then grabbed her partner’s hand and ran through the hospital gates. Interesting…
Il Porcellino is a bronze statue of a boar, based on one in Florence, which stands outside the Sydney Hospital. The statue was donated in 1968 by the Marchessa Clarissa Torrigiani in memory of her father and brother. It is very popular with Sydneysiders and tourists alike and is often referred to as the ‘Pig statue’. Visitors are encouraged to rub its nose, make a donation and as a result will hopefully have good luck. Read more about it here.
I knew about this statue and its reputation for being ‘lucky’ but had never seen someone who took it so seriously. It made me think about some of the sites of superstition, luck or good fortune in central Sydney. Vanessa Berry has already blogged on the Wishing Tree in the Botanic garden but the team at Sydney Living Museums is now searching for places that are ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’. We are also interested in rituals people perform in public spaces in order to secure good luck, health or happiness.
As part of this investigation we have decided to conduct a few experiments. The first is to test if the pig [OK, wild boar] has the power to change your fortune. Two test subjects, Matt and Kate, have volunteered to see if patting the boar will change their luck. They’ll report back soon so stay tuned; the next big lottery winner may be announced right here on the Public Sydney blog!