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Cicadas myths

  • To the ancient Greeks the cicada symbolised resurrection, rebirth and immortality and is mentioned as being sacred to the ancient Greek sun god Apollo. Homer mentions cicadas in the Iliad and compares the discourse of "sage chiefs exempt from war" to the song of the cicada.

  • In Taoism the cicada is the symbol of the hsien, or soul, disengaging itself from the body at death.

  • Ancient Greeks and Chinese made a habit of keeping male Cicadas in cages for the pleasure of hearing them sing.

  • Cicadas had a powerful effect on ancient artists as they feature on numerous coins and gems both before and after the time of Christ. A number of beautiful gems have also been found carved in the likeness of the cicada. The cicadaís emergence from the earth was a powerful symbol for ancient Romans with members of the nobility taking to wearing a gold brooch featuring a cicada to hold back their hair.

  • Cicadas also feature in Japanese carvings on small medicine boxes and they are mentioned in ancient Hindu law in India.

  • An invasion of so-called ‘13-year or 17-year locusts.’ Sounds ominous. After all, swarms of true locusts can eat everything green in sight. Not to worry. Cicadas belong to a completely different insect order from locusts. Confusion arises because many Americans still call these critters ‘locusts,’ apparently because early pioneers from the Old World confused cicadas with the marauding grasshoppers from the bible (The infamous plague story).
picture of a cicada, one of tens of thousands that appear in a 13 or 17 year cycle making it look like a plague