The Meaning of the Ladybug Symbol
The Ladybug’s Symbolic Meaning
Think of a ladybug flying through the air or landing on your arm. Does a smile come to your face? There is a quality to this small, round, vibrantly hued flying creature that makes you feel special and inspires thoughts of joy and good fortune. Many people are fond of ladybugs. They’ll spot one lounging in the summer sun and immediately make a wish upon that speckled red back.
While we may avoid contact with every other insect on the planet, ladybugs enjoy their own special status. We’re even taught that it’s bad luck to kill one of these small animals with a diameter roughly equivalent to a pencil eraser. It’s a small wonder then that ladybugs and the ladybug symbol have a fascinating history with many meanings derived from folklore and spiritual practices.
If you’re curious about the ladybug symbol, and you’re considering a piece of jewelry with a ladybug on it, check out our overview of its meaning and history before you start shopping!
There are about 5,000 different species of ladybugs on our planet. Ladybugs are “beneficial” predators that cheerfully dine on garden pests such as aphids and chinch bugs. In reality, “ladybugs” are not bugs at all, so some parts of the world refer to them as “lady beetles” or “ladybird beetles” to make the distinction clear.
Ladybugs refuse to be typecast. While most ladybugs are indeed red or yellow with black dots, you can find every color in the ladybug world–from pink, dark blue, and orange to black and white. Some with a particularly keen fashion sense even have the ability to change color at different times of the year. Their diverse nature extends to the pattern on their backs, which can range from the iconic dots to stripes or checks.
Finding meaning in animals is nothing new. People throughout the ages have assigned different animal attributes to symbolize their core personality. For example, many people believe that elephants symbolize enlightenment, pandas signify good luck, llamas stand for determination, and so much more. At ALEX AND ANI, we have an entire animal jewelry collection to help people find the perfect animal symbol for their spiritual selves.
We attempt to find a way to connect with all living beings through personality traits that are important to us! Ladybugs are no different, and they appear everywhere, from Native American stories to religious texts and Anglo-Saxon folklore.
Is the ladybug good luck? Many cultures believe it is, recognizing the ladybug as a positive symbol of good luck and new beginnings. In fact, the belief that ladybugs are associated with these and similar qualities, such as goodness and positivity, is nearly universal – from Slavic, European, and Asian cultures to Native Americans.
The ladybug symbol also stands for protection, healing, and good fortune across the world. In Japan, the ladybug is referred to as “red girl” and is associated with heaven, celestial bodies, and the afterlife. In France, ladybugs carry spiritual meaning and have been revered as religious messengers.
One explanation for the name “ladybug” comes from the story of European farmers whose crops were being eaten by pests. They prayed to the Virgin Mary, and the distinctive bug appeared in great numbers to wipe out the unwanted invaders. In response, the farmers called these small insects “beetle of Our Lady” which later was shortened to “ladybug.”
As legend goes, a ladybug actually stopped the execution of one man just as the executioner was poised to swing his axe. The small creature landed on the condemned man’s neck in the very place the axe would have struck.
In general, the ladybug symbol stands for protection, healing, good fortune, and grace. It’s a very spiritual animal that often protects plants and flowers from pests and other bugs.
So, where does each meaning for the ladybug come from? Below we’ll list the origin of each symbolic meaning for the ladybug.
Japan | Good Luck Bug
In Japan, the ladybug is a symbol of good luck. They call this insect “red girl” and associate it with heaven, celestial bodies, and the afterlife.
France | For Protection
In medieval France, ladybugs were so revered that they could actually stop an execution! Considered messengers from god, there’s at least one story of a man whose execution was stopped by a ladybug landing on his neck right before the axman meant to swing. After the man was set free, the real criminal was found.
England | Graceful, Healing Creatures
During the more religious periods in England, many people associated the ladybug with the Virgin Mary. While ladybugs are not specifically mentioned in the bible, one legend talks about farmers who were troubled by pests killing their crops. So they started praying to Mary for salvation, and their fields were swarmed by ladybugs who ate all the pests.
The Ladybug, Animal Symbology and Meaning
Animals have long held a special place in our belief systems with special human traits attributed to various animal forms. Looking to the animal world, we find inspiration and guidance in certain animals that seem to speak to us. Like ladybugs, pandas, too, are seen as a sign of luck and good fortune, while the monkey shares the ladybug’s joy aspect, and the sea turtle evokes protection and strength.
Other Important Symbols
The colorful and expressive ladybug is just one of many of the timeless and important symbols in our Alex + Ani collections. Explore our full collection of significant symbols. From the cross and the evil eye to the heart and the guardian angel, you’ll find a symbol with the meaning and history that speaks to your truth.