Why we Throw Coins into Fountains


Why we Throw Coins into Fountains People have been throwing coins into fountains
seemingly as long as there have been coins and fountains. The tradition all started with
water. While many people in the developed world today have clean, drinkable water readily
available from their kitchen taps, this was not always the case. Potable drinking holes
in many regions weren’t the easiest things to find. Thus, where clean water was available,
many early European tribes believed that such areas were a gift from the gods.
The idea that drinkable water was sent from the heavens remained even as wells and fountains
were built. Often, a small statue of a god could be found next to early wells and fountains,
turning them into a type of shrine. As you probably already know, presenting gifts
to gods is an ancient practice that was usually meant to appease angry gods, or to act as
a payment for a request or prayer. In the case of fountains and wells, people would
toss in a coin while sending up a prayer—an early version of making a wish.
One rather prolific well can be found in Northumberland, England, and was used to pray to the Celtic
goddess of wells and springs, Coventina. 16,000 coins from different eras of the Roman Empire
were found there. Interestingly, most of the coins found in the Coventina Fountain were
low denominations, much like today where people are usually more willing to part with a 5
or 10 cent coin rather than a full dollar, euro, or pound.
Of course, it wasn’t always coins. The Well of Pen Rhys in Oxford, England called for
pieces of clothing to be tossed in. In this case, it was thought that the water had healing
powers and that the clothing carried disease, so by tossing a button, pin, or piece of fabric
into the well, you would be healed. The belief in the healing powers of the Well of Pen Rhys
remained popular well into the 18th century. These days, believing in gods watching over
the wells or the thought that water has healing powers has largely lost favour, but people
still practice this ancient tradition, in modern times usually making a wish. Probably one of the most famous examples of
a wishing fountain is the Trevi Fountain in Rome. The Trevi Fountain was built as the
ending point of a 21 kilometre long aqueduct called Virgo, named for the goddess who would
guide soldiers to water when they were thirsty and tired. Originally, tossing a coin in or
taking a drink from the fountain was supposed to ensure good health. Eventually, the tradition
evolved to what we know today: if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain,
you will one day return to Rome. This idea was popularized in the 1954 film
Three Coins in the Fountain, which also suggested that if you throw two coins in, you’ll fall
in love with a Roman, and if you throw three coins in, you’ll marry him or her. Since
the movie, this practice has become so popular with tourists that it’s estimated that around
€3,000 in coins are thrown in the fountain every day. Obviously, all of those coins can’t just
sit in the fountain forever. The Trevi Fountain shuts down for one hour every day and the
coins are swept out by the Roman Catholic charity Caritas, which pays for food for the
poor as well as Aids shelters. The coins have to be cleaned, sorted into different denominations,
and sent off to the bank.

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20 thoughts on “Why we Throw Coins into Fountains

  1. I remember the movie and even the more resent modern remake.Β  I even have the Lego Architecture building set for it.

  2. At the end there, I thought the Roman Government (or whatever they have there) would just take the money and run with it. I'm glad they put good use to it πŸ˜€

  3. Love this channel, i dont do computers,. But would like to know how i can share this on f.b.? Any help, keep up the good work sir, you give my brain an orgasm

  4. At least it is nice they use coins for charity,I thought they went into someones pocket.Perhaps an idea for a video may be"What people think goes for charity,but really doesn't".Or "how do non profit organizations make money"?I have heard some non profits make millions of dollars,unless the term is misleading since they do not "make" money but is only what people donate.

  5. I thought coins are thrown into fountains as a donation to the organization that collects coins from it. This would usually be a museum that has such a fountain in front of it.

  6. So people throw in coins as some sort of "payment" for that "god's work" (wishes) ? what do they think those "gods" are ? some sort of cheap labour ? come on man ~ logic

  7. All the pics of the roman fountain reminds me of Three coins in the fountain….oh look you mentioned it….it's a good song also

  8. Why don't these videos get much more views? I'm addicted. And who ever votes these videos thumb down? Great channel!!!!

  9. Ironically, throwing all those dirty coins into the fountain probably made the water undrinkable without more processing.

  10. Now that you know why we throw coins into fountains check out this video and find out Why Some Coins Have Ridges:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXP29Cd6ZY4

  11. SO fountains are just a cheap way for malls centers and restaurants to get extra money… The More You Know!

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