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November idiom: Schwein haben

edited October 2017 in German
It is time for our November idiom. It is "Schwein haben" which literally translates to "have pig".
The relationship between Germans and pigs is multifarious, deep and could undoubtedly fill libraries of psychological textbooks. We love to eat them and we are fascinated by them. There are dozens of idioms in the German language that revolve around pigs. I cannot possible list all of them here.  
"Schwein haben" is one of the most common. 
It means "to be lucky". Very frequently, it is used in the present perfect tense as in "Schwein gehabt" (to have had pigs).
In English, you would say that you were lucky, blessed, on a roll, felicitous etc. 
The idiom is colloquial in nature and slightly off-color.It should therefore not be used in a formal setting.   


"Du hast Schwein gehabt. Dein Mann hat dich nicht mit deinem neuen Freund gesehen"
"You were lucky, Your husband did not see you with your new boyfriend"

"Das Auto hätte dich beinahe getroffen. Schwein gehabt"
 "The car almost hit you. You totally lucked out".

"Er hat schon wieder in der Lotterie gewonnen. Er hat so ein Schwein!"
"He won the lottery again. He is on a roll."

There are many explanations for this colorful phrase.The true origin is unclear. 

1, In Germany, the ace is frequently referred to, especially in the south, as a "Sau", a female pig. Getting aces is typically very lucky in card games.
2. In medieval festivals and competitions a pig used to be a frequent prize. "Having a pig" is therefore lucky.
3. If disaster strikes, such as flooding or a famine, and you are able to escape with or save a pig, you "have pig" and you are lucky. And even if the pig was not saved, people may have remembered times when they still had a pig (have had a pig) which would explain why the phrase is frequently used in the present perfect.

So did you make it through my blog without blacking out? 
Schwein gehabt!




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