For over two millenia, the Chinese have been in love with crickets. Visit a Beijing market, and you'll find prize specimens fetching prices that make the average tourist do a double take.
A chirping cricket brings good luck and wealth to Chinese families.
Photo: Flickr user webby0101
In recent decades, the Chinese have revived their ancient sport of cricket fighting. Owners of fighting crickets take the best care of their prizefighters, feeding them precise meals of ground worms and other nutritious grub. Cricket fights are usually staged in late September and October. While the fights themselves are legal entertainment, gambling on cricket fights is strictly forbidden.
Crickets are also prized for their voices. In the U.S., a chirping cricket in the basement is deemed an annoyance. For the Chinese, a cricket singing in the home is a sign of good luck and potential wealth. The more crickets invade a family's residence, the wealthier that family will become. So cherished are these insect songsters that they are often housed in beautiful cages made from bamboo, and displayed in the home.
Chinese farmers have relied on crickets to signal the start of the planting season, and celebrated the crickets with poems, fables, and paintings.
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