About the Cricket
Crickets are an insect found in most parts of the world where there is grassland. They are closely related to grasshoppers. Both creatures make a distinct rattling sound that they make by rubbing their legs against their back. Most people accept them as a harmless or simply welcome their arrival in spring, but in some cultures, they are a symbol of luck and fortune.
The Cricket and World Cultures
The cricket is considered lucky in the Far East, particularly in China and Japan where it is a symbol of the returning spring. Chinese people would catch them and keep them in their homes, believing that to capture and keep one in the home would allow for good luck and fortune for the household. They would often keep them in cages and listen out for their distinctive chirps.
We also know that some African cultures value and celebrate the cricket for much the same reasons as they do in China (see below). The symbolism with spring is obvious. Some European cultures have an altogether different approach. Although not considered good luck, killing one is considered bad luck.
Brazil has a much different approach. Depending on context, crickets could be a sign of stormy weather or of financial reward due to the person who heard it. A number of folklore traditions determine that the colour of the cricket determines good or bad luck: green for hope, black for ill health and grey for money.
How is The Cricket Considered Lucky?
Most cultures have spring festivals and symbols, but few associate them with abundance. It could be indicative of the new growth of spring and summer crops. Therefore, in China and Japan at least, they are seen of a potential bumper harvest and clement weather to come. Elsewhere, they are used as a guide to know when to plant crops.
China has the most fascinating history with the cricket. So much so, that an entire period of their kingdom is called “Cricket Culture”. They were revered and valued as symbols of luck and vitality, and cricket fighting regularly took place.
Many people in Africa live in ecologically delicate landscapes that rely on rains elsewhere for landscape fertility. The arrival of crickets was seen as important to the growth of new crops – much like in China and Japan.
There are some suggestions that the cricket symbolised with luck and material wealth originated with Native American tribes. This is why it has become such a potent symbol of luck in North America and Asia.
Crickets in the Context of Gambling
The association with luck, fortune and fertility is clear. Therefore, it is not much of a leap to understand why gamblers use crickets and cricket symbols as a good luck charm or ritual. Further, there is direct correlation between the cricket and financial good fortune and for why so many people in casinos use them.
It is known that crickets, like many but not all insects, lay hundreds of eggs at once in the breeding process. In most ancient cultures, having more than one child (especially in times when child mortality was high) was something to celebrate. It is also known that the larger the family, the more resources are required.
Once again, it is obvious how crickets have come to be symbolic of material wealth and why they are a popular lucky charm with casino gamers today.