Luck be a Ladybird

by Daniel Mackie June 02, 2016

Well, lucky for some ...

Ladybird  design Greetings Cards-The DM collection

Ladybird's are universally considered lucky. As previously blogged, ladybirds certainly bring good luck for farmers and gardeners by eating aphids, so you can see how the belief that ladybirds coming to your field would lead to a good harvest sprung up. But superstitions abound as to the ways an encounter with a ladybird will bring you good fortune…

If a ladybird lands on your hand – stop! Hold you breath, do not blow it off. Instead, wait and watch carefully to see which direction it flies away in. That is the direction where your luck will come from. Some variations allow you to make a wish on the ladybird, which it will then fly away and grant.

Some say a ladybird landing on you means you will find true love. In Scotland, this is a bit less vague, where a ladybird landing on an unmarried girl (for some reason it is only girls, boys having nothing to do with this marriage malarky) means she'll be married within a year, and the ladybird flies off in the direction of the betrothed-to-be.

Yet more variations include ladybirds carrying away all your illnesses and ailments, or signifying you'll come into money. In some beliefs the luck is a bit specific; if a ladybird lands on one of your possessions, you will soon get a new one. In Victorian Britain, a ladybird on the hand meant new gloves would be coming your way, and on your head meant a new hat was in order.

The number of spots is also auspicious. It can tell you how large your harvest will be - less than seven is good, presumably the spottier varieties aren't as greedy for aphids. And also how many months of good luck you will have, how much money is coming your way, how long you will wait to meet you true love or how many children you will be blessed with – though the Harlequin ladybird can have as many as 21 spots, which would make for an extremely big family!

But what about the ladybird herself? This common folk rhyme indicates she isn't as fortunate as her landing spots.

"Ladybird, ladybird fly away home, your house is on fire, your children are gone"

or in darker versions 'your children will burn'. This apparently refers to when farmers would set fire to the stumps of crops after the harvest to clear the fields, sending the ladybird's aphid-rich habitat up in flames. Poor ladybird! Looks like she's run out of luck.

Daniel's Ladybird design is available as a greetings card or art print. 

Shop the whole DM Bugs and Butterflies Collection.

Daniel Mackie
Daniel Mackie


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