Crickets have played a strong role throughout Chinese, Japanese and Native American cultures as a symbol of good fortune, vitality and prosperity. As far back as 500 B.C., people revered the song of the cricket and often kept crickets in cages to enjoy that song on a regular basis. In addition, crickets are valued as watch dogs and as natural clocks for timing a good harvest.
Crickets in Chinese History
Throughout Chinese history, crickets have symbolized wisdom and prosperity to the extent that a 2,000-year period of history is known as the Cricket Culture. Within this time frame, three specific eras celebrated various aspects of the cricket. In the first era, which lasted from 500 B.C. to 618 A.D., the singing of crickets was revered. During the Tang Dynasty, from 618 to 906 A.D., people began to keep crickets in cages in order to appreciate the sounds. Between 960 and 1278 A.D., cricket fighting became a popular pastime. Ancient Chinese literature is filled with songs and sayings about crickets and other insects.
Association with Material Prosperity
Crickets lay hundreds of eggs. Their fertility coincides with the traditional Chinese belief that having many children is a symbol of vitality and a requirement for financial success. In ancient times, farmers began preparing fields for spring harvest only after listening to the song of a cricket.
From nobleman and famous artists to peasant farmers and Buddhist monks, people throughout history have kept caged crickets to enjoy their song. Crickets chirp, or sing, by rubbing their wings together. Only the male cricket sings, often to attract a female or to fend off another male cricket. If you count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 37, you can estimate the approximate outdoor temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
Crickets as Protectors
For generations throughout Chinese and Japanese history, crickets have been considered great protection because they stop singing when anyone or anything approaches. Middle Eastern and European craftsman commonly carved amulets and charms bearing images of crickets to fend off evil spirits. American colonial builders added a copper cricket to the weather vane on Boston’s Fanuel Hall as a symbol of protection.
Native American Totem
Crickets are considered good luck by most Native American tribes. Cricket wisdom is said to represent joy, intuition and power of belief. A cricket’s ability to jump is said to offer the power to leap over a difficult situation. With the cricket as your totem, you can travel through darkness with sound.
- cricket image by Gail Oswald from Fotolia.com