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Lucky charms usually differ in the Eastern and Western sides of the world. However, there are a few symbols of luck that are celebrated in both cultures, including the ladybug. In this article, we will explore the history and symbolism of the ladybug as a good luck charm.
History of the Ladybug as a Lucky Symbol
Having a ladybug land on you is considered good luck, and people are careful not to crush the bugs when they do see them, lest they reverse this and invite bad luck.
The charm associated with ladybugs is actually rooted in pragmatism. Ladybugs are considered the farmer’s best friend because they protect crops from unwelcome bugs, especially aphids, which can do a great deal of damage. Despite their small physique, would you believe one ladybug can eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime?
Having ladybugs around one’s farm usually results in a bountiful harvest with little to no damaged crops. Because of this, ladybugs have acquired an amazing reputation among those engaged in agriculture.
Ladybugs are endemic to North America. About 400 of its 5,000 known species exist only in the U.S. However, its symbolic use has made its way to Chinese and Eastern feng shui, primarily because of the bug’s striking appearance.
The most common ladybugs have a red hard shell with about 4-8 black dots all over them. In Chinese superstition, both the color red and polka dots are considered very lucky. This is why the ladybug pattern is usually incorporated into fashion and interior design to attract luck.
Unlike other bugs and crawlies, ladybugs are safe and practically harmless to humans, so an ‘invasion’ of ladybugs in the garden is not deemed a cause for alarm. This is especially true since these gentle bugs don’t even eat fabric, paper, plants, or any other household items that are usually destroyed by pests.
This harmonious relationship between humans and ladybugs has developed into the belief that these small crawlies bring good fortune.
Symbolic Meaning of Ladybugs
Wherever you may be in the world, the ladybug signifies several meanings and symbolisms.
- Good weather – Ladybugs hibernate in the winter and cannot fly when temperatures get below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, an abundance of ladybugs is associated with perfectly fair and cool weather, which is just right for most plants.
- Seven Sorrows of Mary – For Christians, there is nothing luckier than a ladybug with exactly seven spots. In the Middle Ages, Eastern Christian societies related the bug’s dots to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. In fact, the very name of this friendly beetle might have come from the Blessed Lady herself. According to legend, farmers used to pray to the Virgin Mother to protect their crops. To oblige, Mary is thought to have sent out ladybugs as the defender of the crops.
- Financial Success – This particular symbolism is popular in the East. For the same reason feng shui masters urge believers to wear dresses with polka dots on New Year’s Eve, the spots in the ladybugs are said to resemble currency coins, which in turn symbolize wealth. Specifically, when a ladybug lands on something you own, like your car or mobile phone, you can expect to get an upgrade or a newer model of that item soon.
- Finding love – Finally, when two people spot the same ladybug, they are thought to be on the path to falling in love with each other. If only one person encounters a ladybug, then he/she is expected to meet his/her future spouse shortly.
Ladybugs in Jewelry and Fashion
While it’s bad luck to deliberately kill a ladybug, one that dies naturally and without interference is thought to retain its good luck charm. Therefore, jewelers sometimes preserve actual ladybugs in necklaces and bracelet charms. Below is a list of the editor’s top picks featuring the Ladybug symbol.
Studs and pendants shaped like ladybugs have also gained popularity among those who need good luck, such as when headed to an important job interview or a decisive test.
In general, the image of the ladybug is popular as a design for earrings, pendants, charms, lapel pins, and other accessories. Clothing and artwork featuring a red background with black dots are also very popular and evoke the image of ladybugs.
The benefits of having ladybugs around have made way for pretty consistent superstitions and beliefs about the good luck these gentle bugs bring. Having a ladybug land on you foreshadows great financial and romantic success, as well as protection from ruin.