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The Dragonfly in Different Cultures

Updated on August 15, 2012

There isn't another insect or animal for that matter with more meanings in different cultures than the dragonfly. In Europe they are seen as sinister and know as devil's darning needle and ear cutter and they are linked with evil or injury. In Romanian folktales they were once a horse possessed by the devil and the Swedish say the devil uses dragonflies to weigh people's souls. The Norwegian call them the eye poker and in Portugal they are called eye snatcher.

In East Asia, Native Americans think of Dragonflies as more of a positive influence and is associated with the dragon which has a positive image in the East but an evil image in the West. Native Americans see them as a pure water creature symbolizing renewal after a time of great hardship. Japan and China use them as a traditional use of medicine and Indonesia they are fried in oil as a delicacy. The Vietnamese forecast rain by how they are seen. Dragonflies flying low means rain is coming, flying high means sunny days. The culture that find them the most symbolic is the Japanese. To them they are a symbol of courage, strength and happiness. They have traditional names for almost all of the 200 species found in Japan and all over the world.

Dragonflies have not only been associated with Dragons but also with snakes. Some believe that they follow snakes and stitch them together when they are injured and other cultures believe that it is very lucky to have one land on you. This amazing insect has been around since prehistoric times and has always had different meanings to different cultures and it hasn't lost it's meanings through the years, they've only gotten stronger.


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