Ladybirds are a welcome sight in my garden. Not only do they feed on aphids and other insect pests but they are also a symbol of luck and good fortune.
Judging by the number of ladybirds I saw the other day, plenty of good fortune should be coming my way soon.
Ladybird is the popular name for beetles of the coccinellidae family. There are more than 40 species in Britain and more than 5,200 species worldwide. They range in colour from yellow to black as well as the best-known red. The number of spots they have also varies.
According to Christian folklore, only red beetles with with seven black spots are true ladybirds, gaining their name from the Virgin Mary. Red is the traditional colour of her cloak and the seven spots represent her seven joys and seven sorrows.
According to some legends the ladybird was also sacred to Freya, the Norse fertility goddess, and in northern Europe it was said that if a ladybird landed on a girl's hand she would be soon be married.
It is considered bad luck to kill or capture a ladybird. If one lands on you, gently puff it away, saying the rhyme: Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children are gone. All except one, and that's little Anne; for she crept under the frying pan.
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