It is an ancient belief in various parts of the world and especially in Europe that ladybirds bring good luck. But what are the reasons for this belief? First of all, the good reputation of ladybirds depends a great deal on their appearance. Those red dots on their wings make them seem “nicer” and rarer than other brown or black insects. Their name comes from the Latin coccineus (scarlet), and their colour often has a positive connotation, symbolising vitality, strength, passion, courage, success and indeed …. good luck. In many cultures, the ladybird is also considered a divine messenger: it seems to be linked to Freyja, the Nordic goddess of fertility, or to the Madonna (Mary), who was depicted wearing a red cloak in the Middle Ages. The seven black dots typical of the common ladybird, Coccinella scosiddetta septempunctata, are said to represent Mary’s seven joys and seven sorrows. It is no coincidence that ladybirds are called ‘marioline’ in the areas around Tuscany and ‘God’s hens’ in other regions. Also in the main European languages, from English to Spanish to German, the name ladybird means “insect” or “bird” of Mary. In Hebrew they are called ‘little horse of Moses’ or even ‘little messiah’, while in Turkish, their name means exactly ‘lucky insect’.

I personally love ladybirds; they look ‘nice’ and, unlike other insects, I am happy to find some on my way or on some clothing. It is obvious that I, like everyone else, am conditioned by the legend.And even if I don’t admit it, I can’t deny that this is pure superstition. My mood also changes in a positive way and all in all I am pleased to believe it.

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Panarello Michela