TOSSING COINS IN WATER SOURCES: A CUSTOM BORN OUT OF WISHES OR WISDOM?


Did you know an estimated €3,000 in coins are thrown in the Trevi Fountain each day? Ever thought, what drives people to throw coins in the fountain? How did it all begin?

Throwing coins in water sources is often associated with prayers and wishes. While the tradition of throwing coins in this fountain began in ancient Rome, archaeological evidence and Vedic texts suggest that ancient Indian civilizations began the tradition as far back as 600 BCE.

Ancient Indians were very intelligent. You see, Indians at that time were heavily dependent on rivers for survival. As a result, most people used to live beside rivers. When rivers weren’t available, they settled around lakes or built ponds in temples. It was important to keep the water clean and potable. Thus began the tradition of throwing coins in water sources.

Historically, coins were made from gold, silver, copper or an alloy made using all of them. These metals kill pathogens immediately on contact. Therefore, throwing coins in the water purified it and made it drinkable. Moreover, copper is an essential trace element required for bodily functions such as blood cell synthesis, protein metabolism, enzyme action etc. A tiny amount of that copper was ingested as a part of the drinking water.

When ancient Indians went to collect water and pray, they would throw coins into the river. Since both praying and throwing coins were done together, over time, the two actions were associated with each other and eventually, merged. This led future generations to perform this custom as a tribute to God—to bless the water and make it drinkable.

Nowadays, coins are made of poisonous materials like lead and chromium. Instead of purifying water, the coins of this age pollute it further. So next time you have the urge to toss a coin in a drinking water source in exchange for a wish or prayer, think twice.


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