Depending on the culture, butterfly sightings may be linked with growth, elegance, expansion, celebration, resurrection and transition. However, in some cultures, a butterfly landing on a person carries no symbolic meaning.
Butterflies are particularly venerated in Asia, New Zealand, Zaire, and parts of North America. In China, a butterfly landing on a person is considered a sign of luck. Two butterflies flying together is viewed as a sign of love. Native Americans associate butterflies with calm, sleep and dreams. Some mothers embroider the symbol on their kids' clothes to encourage sleep. In many religions, butterflies symbolize metamorphosis and are used to describe the challenges and transformation that people must face.
Scientists estimate that there are over a 15,000 species of butterflies. They can be found all over the world except in Antarctica. Butterflies are four-winged insects that live anywhere from a week to a year, depending on the species.
Most butterfly species feature brightly colored wings, which makes them look graceful and elegant. Butterflies are not born that way, however. They begin as caterpillars and transform into butterflies after going through a period of metamorphosis, when they are encased in a chrysalis for an average period of 2 weeks.