What Are Some Superstitions About the Praying Mantis?

Some elements of Christianity believe the mantis rest position is a symbol of spiritual piety. Other cultures hold superstitions that the mantis is a symbol of foreboding and death.

The resting posture of the praying mantis looks somewhat like the hand position used by members of several religions to denote respect for their God in prayer. Because of this, some Christians say that the praying mantis symbolises spirituality and piety, and that finding a praying mantis in your home means that angels are watching over you.

Muslims believe that the praying mantis always faces the holy city of Mecca while at rest, with its forelimbs folded in prayer. Moroccans believe that if a lost person asks directions of a praying mantis, it points the way north with its claws.

Some mantis superstitions have a more sinister nature. In Italy some people say that you can fall ill if a mantis looks at you in a menacing way. Some African bushmen are careful never to touch the mantis because they fear the insect’s magical power. In Japanese culture, the mantis can be seen as a symbol either of courage or cruelty, and seeing a mantis can be a foretelling of your death.