For the Luck of Crickets
Aside from my birthday, one of my favorite days in March is St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday brings back fun memories of silly green outfits I used to wear as a kid, and, more importantly, my mom’s yummy corned beef and cabbage. When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, we often think of good luck charms like four leaf clovers. Did you know that the insect world has its own good luck charms? One of those insects that was superstitiously seen as lucky, and still is, is the cricket.
For a number of years, the cricket has been seen as lucky to have here on Earth. It is thought to be a sign of wealth and good fortune. This was especially true in some Asian countries where the cricket was seen as the “watchdog.” The crickets were housed in small cages and suspended from rafters and doorways as pets. It is said that the cricket’s chirping would stop when danger was approaching; therefore, they act as an ‘alarm system’ to warn of unwanted guests. This practice, although dating back some time to the Tang Dynasty in China (618-907 AD), still continues today. In some Native American cultures, the cricket was also regarded as lucky, and it was considered disrespectful to mimic its chirping.
Crickets are much more than “watchdogs” in Asian culture. It was said that as early as 500 BC, the cricket’s lucky history began with its song. The Chinese always exhibited an appreciation for singing insects, and the cricket emerged above all others in popularity. The presence of crickets within the Chinese culture was, in fact, so strong that there are a number of songs and poems that were written about them. Farmers relied upon the first cricket chirps in spring as a cue for when to plant in the fields. Crickets, like many insects, lay eggs in the hundreds. Historically, the Chinese people took this as inspiration to have large families themselves, believing that having a lot of children would ensure an abundant and successful life.
Besides being a symbol of good luck, the cricket is also thought to be a symbol of prosperity, wealth, and abundance. This is often referred to as the Feng Shui Lucky Cricket meaning. This conception of the cricket begins with the lucky cricket wandering into your home, which symbolizes good fortune venturing into your life. It is also seen as prophetic: when the cricket makes its way into your house, it is meant to symbolize someone coming to pay you an unexpected visit to grant a wish or bestow you with good fortune.
Crickets are not the only insects that are seen as lucky in the insect world. Other insects such as ladybugs, scarabs and dragonflies have also been considered lucky. So next time a cricket strolls (or flies) into your house, maybe you’ll consider it to be a sign of a great day heading your way!
Kristen Stevens, BCE
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