Ladybirds have always been very popular with children and have long been seen as a sign of good fortune not least because they eat the aphids in the garden! If you are especially lucky to have a ladybird land on your clothing. Rather than brushing it off according to folklore you should count the number of black spots on its back. The number of spots will correspond to how many months will be happy ones from that day.
The ladybird has been associated with the Virgin Mary and is said to be symbolic of Her presence in nature. Naturally it was believed that anyone hurting or killing one intentionally would meet with unfortunate results.
One famous, perhaps slightly cruel rhyme, said by children traditionally to encourage ladybirds to circulate around the garden and fly away was ‘Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children are gone’. A rural English (UK) belief once indicated that ladybirds could understand human speech and that this saying would encourage them to fly away. Why anyone would want to say such a phrase is a mystery, but perhaps this was a gentle warning. It is now believed that most fly away because of the high salt levels in human skin.