Rituals & Practices

Myth of Throwing Coins in Water

It is a very common practice in India to throw coins in the river, especially in religious places without a second thought. As a custom that has been followed for centuries, the real meaning behind this simple act has mostly been long forgotten. Some think throwing the coin brings Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi into their lives.

Perhaps there is another reason apart from receiving good luck ?

In ancient India, most civilizations flourished near rivers and were a significant source of fresh water. The livelihood of people depended on these rivers, such as agriculture, irrigation, drinking, etc. and these rivers were considered sacred and worshiped.

As the rivers were the only source of water at the time, having clean water was essential for survival. Most currencies used then were made of copper, an element required by human body to maintain health. Once thrown in the river, copper would slowly dissolve in the water and the person drinking it would have sufficient intake of the metal in their body for optimization of the metal.

Copper also pulled down all the dirt in the river, allowing clean and fresh water to flow freely on top.

Although present day currencies no longer have copper in them, the age old custom of throwing coins in the river still continues till today.

As an end-note to this thought, are you getting enough copper intake in your body?


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  • quite scientific, I often surprised to see this and thought how fool people are? For making a single currency of metals a lot of human, mechanical as well as technological skills and works are required, many people throw it as usual we should think currency is trademark and a sign of pride of our country, and by throwing it we dishonour ourself (country, pride etc).

  • If a beggar or needy asks for that coin, people don’t get ready for this, but when it is related to throwing it into the river, they don’t even think twice

  • Crazy we !
    I remember asking my elders about why certain rituals are followed and they don’t have an convincing answer apart from a reason: ‘they were told so too’ and they followed it all through their lives so religiously!

    Someone has rightly said: Half information is dangerous!

    @Preeti: We, humans, intentionally or unintentionally happen to put “Ourselves” on top priority (good luck from coins thrown in water) over others.
    Again, begging is a crime. People (Beggars) who are adult should work hard to earn & not simply pity themselves from illness/handicap which is most of the time self inflicted these days. And in case of old and children begging on roads there are rehabilitation centers who takes care of their basic needs; Alas! So called poor beggars they dont stay long because who would not like to earn money by just sitting and doing NOTHING!

  • Even today the kitchens have mostly copper utensils in South India predominantly in Brahmin houses.

  • Scientific rationale. …But are we saying a few small coins tossed into a large waterrr body like a river or a lake would purify the water ?
    Convincing argument, but probably though the sense of size seems to be amiss

    • Dropping few coins helps water clarification or not, noble idea behind this should be appreciated. If you do not throw bags full of copper coins in river, one can still take clue and drop few copper coins or any copper object in domestic water pot for one’s own family’s consumption and benefit!

  • Throwing coins in river to aplease Gods is absurd and must be legally banned!! No arguments on that !! No god will give you boons just because you expect him to grant favour as u were kind enough to throw few coins in river; gods can only be pleased by good deeds; As regard copper vessels yes cooking food or drinking water stored in copper vessel is good for health!! Let’s not mix 2 different aspects!!

  • Not a scientific reason, but a spiritual one. We regard river not as a water body, but as mother. And we are crossing over the mother. So , in atonement, we toss money or gold, what we can afford.

  • There is a myth in my country that a magician snake leaves in the river which can take any form it can be even a person witch doctors are believe to get power from it and can stay under water for the whole month. The snake is said to be in form of a person when it a snake it have about 7 heads.

  • Dear friends,
    there are many reports available that show the antimicrobial properties of copper and its alloys. Scientists are also actively demonstrating the intrinsic efficacies of copper/copper based alloys “touch surfaces” to destroy a wide range of microorganisms that threaten public health.

    Example : E. Coli O157:H7 is a potent , highly infectious, foodborne and waterborne pathogen. It causes severe diarrhoea, body aches, nausea and may be sometimes death(in the case of blood diarrhoea).
    Some of the scientific studies have shown that copper and its alloys surfaces kill E. coli. Over 99.9% of E. coli microbes are killed after just 1-2 hours on copper.

    I think throwing copper and copper alloy based coins in rivers and ponds , could kill the harmful microorganisms and also reduces the growth of certain type of fungi and algae.
    Maybe it is difficult to imagine that few coins vs. rivers but there could be some useful effects in the case of smaller water bodies such as ponds, wells (in temples ).

    i just gave an example that is more appropriate to the present article. For more information , a nice article has been given in Wikipedia which discusses the antimicrobial properties of copper .