Saturday, July 5, 2014

Good Luck Files - Ladybugs

A ladybug landing on us brings always a magical moment. And when leaves us we feel a little bit luckier inside. This little insect is known pretty much all over the world for its luck-bringers skill. Many societies link the sight of a Ladybug with future luck in love (because were often associated with Love Goddesses , good weather, a financial windfall, or the granting of wishes. So, having a Ladybug land on you is supposed to be particularly lucky, and some people believe that when a Ladybug lands on an object, that object will be replaced by a new and improved version. But have you ever asked yourselves how this common belief begins? Let’s find out together…

Legends vary about how the Ladybug came to be named, but the most enduring is this: in Europe, during the Middle Ages, swarms of insects were destroying the crops.  The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help.  Soon thereafter the Ladybugs came, devouring the plant-destroying pests and saving the crops!  The farmers called these beautiful insects "The Beetles of Our Lady", and - over time - they eventually became popularly known as "Lady Beetles".  The red wings were said to represent the Virgin's cloak and the black spots were symbolic of both her joys and her sorrows. This connection with the divine is one of the huge amount of reasons why are considered good luck. And also nature has made this little bugs to be very luck species. 

Their scientific names (Coleoptera, meaning "sheath-winged", and Coccinellidae, meaning "little red sphere") can be quite a mouthful. But by whatever name you call them, Ladybugs are well-loved all over the globe.  Nearly 400 species of Ladybug live in North America, and there are nearly 5,000 species worldwide. None are much larger than a pencil-eraser and they come in a wide variety of colors, including red, orange, pink, yellow and black.  They can have as many as 20 spots.....or no spots at all.  They're also one of the few insects who hibernate during the winter months (called "over-wintering"), emerging in the spring to lay their eggs. Ladybugs are a bit clumsy, though efficient enough, fliers. Their transparent sheath-wings (hidden from view under the outer wing cases, until they take to the air) flutter at a rate of 85 beats per second.  Their bright colors serve as a warning sign to birds and other potential predators that they don't taste good.  If attacked by a predator, Ladybugs ooze a yellow, foul-smelling liquid (actually their blood) from their leg joints, which is usually all it takes to convince their attacker not to continue snacking on them! 

One of the most common reasons why ladybug is equal to luck had to deal with a poem, first sung back in the Medieval times in England:

"Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home
Your house is on fire, and your children will burn
Except little Nan, who sits in a pan,
weaving gold laces as fast as she can"

Despite me, maybe you're familiar with this children's rhyme! This song was made because the farmers used to set torches to the old Hop vines after the harvest, to clear the fields for the next planting. The poem was a warning to the aphid-eating Ladybugs, still crawling on the vines in search of aphids, to let them fly away. Also the Ladybugs' children (larvae) could get away from the flames, but unfortunately the immobile pupae (Nan) remained fastened to the plants (laces) and couldn't escape.  Kinda creepy song to be sung by children, don't you think?

But not only in Europe the Ladybug has divine connotations: in Asia, in fact, is believed that understands human language, and has been blessed by God Himself.

According to the Indian symbology, the Ladybug  is synonymous with security, especially if you are facing changes. Usually, meeting one of those when we are about to take important decisions, it's a good omen, especially when this happens out of their growing season. In addition, this small insect would have the strong power to eliminate negative thoughts, replacing into positive ones. This belief is also common in France, where it is said that ladybugs upon us are able to take away any kind of illness or inner discomfort you have.
The Ladybug who brings the most amount of luck is red with seven dots drawn on the back, and the more luck if will be laid on us the time needed to count up to 22. Regardless of color, according to the rural Italian translation, if the dots are from 7 up, the harvest season will be fruitful and successful. otherwise, you should expect a  year of famine.  And I'm terribly sorry if you have ever squished one of these little girls, because killing one, even accidentally, is said to bring a lot of sadness and misfortune.

Here below I decided to write down some other legends surrounding Ladybugs, some more known than others...

  •  If a Ladybug is held in the hand while making a wish, the direction that it flies away to shows where your luck will come from
  • In Belgium, people believed that if a Ladybug crawled across a young girl's hand, she would be married within a year. 
  • People in Switzerland told their young children that they were brought to them, as babies, by Ladybugs.
  • In Brussels, the black spots on the back of a Ladybug indicate to the person holding it how many children he/she will have.
  •  According to a Norse legend, the Ladybug came to earth riding on a bolt of lightning. 
  • The Victorians in Britain believed that if a Ladybug alighted on your hand, you would be receiving new gloves.....if it landed on your head a new hat would be in your future, and so on.
  •  Folklore suggests if you catch a Ladybug in your home, count the number of spots and that's how many dollars you'll soon find.
  • In Norway, if a man and a woman spot a Ladybug at the same time, there will be a romance between them.
  • In the 1800's, some doctors used Ladybugs to treat measles!  They also believed that if you mashed ladybugs and put them into a cavity, the insects would stop a toothache!
  • During the Pioneer days, if a family found a Ladybug in their log cabin during the winter, it was considered a "Good Omen",


    1. I think I'd really need a ladybug right now! ;)

      1. A Ladybug flying in my house made me write this!!! :)


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