Ladybirds or Coccinellidae are named after Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, the name deriving from Our Lady’s bird.
Mary was often depicted wearing a red cloak, and the seven spots on the Coccinellida septempunctata species symbolized her seven joys and seven sorrows.
In Dutch and in French, a ladybird is called lieveheersbeestje and bête à bon Dieu respectively, both meaning Our Lord’s animal.
People from a certain area in the eastern part of The Netherlands called Twente call the insect mariabeestje, and the Germans call them Marienkäfer (both meaning Mary beetle or Mary-chafer). The Irish Gaelic name bóín Dé translates into God’s little cow.
Before Christianity starting spreading across Europe, ladybirds were called freyafugle in Old Norse, meaning Freya’s bird. Freya means lady, and the goddess Freya was associated with love, beauty and fertility but also with war and death. She was considered the most beautiful goddess of all.
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