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Why people throw coin?


Throwing Coins in water is common all over the world. While travelling nearby a river you may have seen many people throwing coins into it and poor guys searching for those coin in river by magnet. In India i had seen it many times. But most of these people in India and around the world do not know the reason, why people throw coin and just following the crowd on the name of custom or tradition. So, I decided to do some research and find out the truth behind it and found out some really knowledgeable and must share stuff.

Why people throw coin?

Well there are two type of belief for the coin throw custom (tradition). One is traditional belief i.e. what people believe and other is scientific belief . We will talk about both traditional and scientific (or ancient) belief with some of its history one by one:

◾Traditional Belief (what people think):

Rivers in all countries is considered significant as a source of fresh water. It helps in many important works like agriculture, drinking, irrigation, electricity production etc. In India Rivers are worshiped by many Indians as they consider it sacred & Goddess.

The general reasoning given for the coin throwing act is that, “it brings Good Luck to us”. It is also believed that it will bring Goddess of Wealth (Lakshmi) to our households.

◾Scientific (Ancient) Belief:

In ancient times all civilisations used to live near water, lakes and rivers. As rivers were the only source of water at that time. Clean water was essential for drinking and survival. In the ancient time, most of the currency used was made of copper unlike the stainless steel coins of today. ANNAs were made of copper. Copper is a vital metal very useful to the human & has a unique property of attracting dirt. The intake of copper with water is also very good for health & body (you may have seen people drinking through copper pots/glasses). If coin remains in rivers for a long time then copper present in coin gets dissolved in river water & becomes beneficial for those who drink it. Throwing coins in the river was one way our ancestors ensured we intake sufficient copper as part of the water. Also due to copper all dirt used to settle down at bottom leaving water on top free from germs and by making it a custom and telling that it will bring good fortune to us has ensured that all of us follow the good practice.

Unfortunately in modern times there is no copper based currency used in India. And people blindly following this as a tradition without knowing the actual truth & at some point also affects our country economic growth (suppose: at one place 100 people throw Rs1 coin into the river in whole day, that equals to Rs100 and there are 10 such places on single river then it equals Rs1000/day, for one month = Rs30000 & for one year = Rs360000. Now you can calculate the total for whole country. And how much of our country’s precious wealth get damaged due to it. This is just an overview to give you and idea, real figures could be more high). The money is totally getting waste.

Now you know both the reasons behind it. It’s upto you what to choose: whether to continue throwing coin in river or choose the other way out.
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  1. I don't think the scientific reason is at all seems to be a scientific reason. Copper (Cu) could be used as dirt collector like all other metals. Also, Cu is a trace element, like all other trace elements it is essential for body. But in the same time excess Cu has toxic effect on body. These all depends on how much copper is solvable in river water. This further depends on the pH levels. Then if some amount of copper is dissolved in water then which fraction of it would be consumed by human beings. This is a quite complex situation and depends on lot of statistical data. So, till you can prove your claim with those data, this "scientific cause", termed by you, is not a scientific cause at all, scientifically. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Subhankar for the view...here you are talking about Copper toxicity, also called copperiedus, refers to the consequences of an excess of copper in the body. It can occur from eating acid foods cooked in uncoated copper cookware, or from exposure to excess copper in drinking water or other environmental sources. Here key word is excess copper, as the river contains running water and coins have the value so they wont reclessly throw it in lakes so, the coins are also not in excess so there is no question of copper toxicity here.
    Recently, I have read that cheap water purifier made from copper is Developed and laboratory-tested by Padma Venkat, a student of the International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL) at McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management in Montreal, and her team from the Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine (I-AIM), Bangalore, it kills water-borne pathogen that cause cholera and diarrhoea.
    Venkat, also the director of the Institute of Ayurveda & Integrative Medicine (I-AIM ), says that the idea was inspired by the traditional Indian practice of storing drinking water in copper pots. "We studied the scientific basis behind it and demonstrated that copper pots kill water-borne diarrhoea causing pathogen by passive storage. Since copper pots are unaffordable, we designed and standardised a device that is as effective as the pot."
    He is also awarded with 100000 canadian grants.
    The full article is here:
    I hope you are satisfied with my answer
    Thank you

    1. @Superteek Kousal excess means excess according to body level. Now, copper coins have value, and too its running water etc. Yes but then there must be an statistical analysis of how much copper on average had been contained by the human bodies reside in the river side. Coins were not excess, is an intuition, and not a bad intuition also, I agree but it is not a science till you can supply proof.

      Rest part the project, I will search about the project thought I don't know how much scientific they are. But however its the first reference I get.

      But still the project cannot prove your claim. I think you can easily understand that. That's why I am asking the proof.

    2. Copper is very useful for body when the intake of copper is normal. The normal level of copper in human body is from 50mg to 80mg. When copper level is more than 80mg then it starts showing adverse. The normal quantity of copper in human body is 80mg. Above that it acts as toxic.

      Population exposure to copper is mainly through drinking water and depends on several factors:
      a)water composition:
      If water composition is 5 times more than the concentration of copper then copper is not considered toxic. In ancient time, people throw coins in lakes. But in that case, the concentration of water in lake is way more than concentration of copper in lake. So, it won't show any adverse effect.
      b)the stagnant contact time between water and the copper material:
      The surface area and concentration of copper coin is less. So, it wont cause any effect.
      c)the age of the copper material:
      the more is the age of copper , more is the toxic affect.
      d)the drinking habits of the population.
      The above mentioned factors wont cause any adverse effect, so during ancient time it used to act as a water filter. But now, the water is transported through copper pipes. The stagnant contact time and concentration of copper is large as pipe lines are very vast. So, it is causing adverse effect.
      I think this explanation is enough.

  3. Hello Superteek
    I have also read it somewhere that copper purifies the water. Now a days people also uses copper utensils to store water. In my home, my grandpa used to drink water in copper utensil. I have asked him about the concept behind it and same kind of explanation is given by him also.