This time, the ladybird will travel first to Serbia, where it is known as bubamara (бубамара), which means “Mary-beetle”, or “beetle of Mary”. This is another reference to the Virgin Mary, as we have already seen in English and other languages.
From there let’s go to Russia, where we meet the bozhiya korovka (божья коровка), which translates as “God’s little cow”. This little creature seems to have religious overtones in many places around the world!
Going now to a language from a different family, the Altaic, the ladybird is known in Turkish as uğur böceği, and this means “luck bug”. Not religious, but still positive, with overtones of superstition.
Further away, we come to Japanese, which has a truly lovely word for the bug: tentou-mushi (天道虫), which means “the insect of the celestial path”. This is not a religious reference: the name is derived from its tendency to fly towards the sun.
Returning to Indo-European languages, we will go to the Netherlands. In Dutch it is lieveheersbeestje, while in West Frisian we find leavehearsbistke. Both of these literally mean “dear lord’s creature” – lord in this case being God.
On to Flanders, where it is pimpampoen, while in West Flemish, we find pimpampoentje.
Now let us revisit Italy. You may recall that Italian for “ladybird” is coccinella. But there are also a number of other words. It is also known as maggiolino, little May bug. In Sicilian dialect, we meet the term papuzzedda, after a kind of red flower, while in Lazio it is even known as monachella, or “little nun”. Finally, from Tuscany comes the dialect word paolina, meaning “little Paula”.