Lady Bugs as Good Luck


The informant is Italian-American and lives in Staten Island. She describes the tradition of collecting ladybugs for good luck. She says that every summer as a little girl, her and her friends would always get excited about finding ladybugs because their parents told them that they were good omens or brought good luck. 


I asked the informant whether other bugs or animals also represented good luck and why the ladybug in particular was so special, to which she answered that “it’s a mix of color and numbers. The Italian community is very religious, so most of it roots back to that. There are usually seven dots on a ladybug, which are tied to the seven deadly sins in our eyes. By catching a ladybug, it’s like you’re stopping the sins. The ladybug’s red color also ties into the virgin mary and images of blood.”


The idea that ladybugs, an insect tied to so much negative religious reference in Italian’s eyes, is a sign of good luck is very interesting. It reminds me of other instances where something inherently bad becomes spun into a good thing (for example, many people think that getting pooped on by a bird is good luck). Do people simply want to reframe negative things into positive things? Or are we implying that there is no true good and bad?