In France, the cicada is used to represent the folklore of Provence and Mediterranean cities (although some species live in Alsace or the Paris Basin).
In the Ancient Greek myth, Tithonus eventually turns into a cicada after being granted immortality, but not eternal youth, by Zeus.
The cicada has represented insouciance since classical antiquity. Jean de La Fontaine began his collection of fables Les fables de La Fontaine with the story La Cigale et la Fourmi (The Cicada and the Ant) based on one of Aesop's fables: in it the cicada spends the summer singing while the ant stores away food, and finds herself without food when the weather turns bitter.
In Japan, the cicada is associated with the summer season. The songs of the cicada are often used in Japanese film and television to indicate the scene is taking place in the summer. The song of Meimuna opalifera, called "tsuku-tsuku boshi", is said to indicate the end of summer, and it is called so because of its particular call. During the summer, it is a pastime for children to collect both cicadas and the shells left behind when moulting.
Since the cicada emerges from the ground to sing every summer, in Japan it is seen as a symbol of reincarnation. Of special importance is the fact that the cicada moults, leaving behind an empty shell. But furthermore, since the cicada only lives for the short period of time long enough to attract a mate with its song and complete the process of fertilization, they are seen as a symbol of evanescence.
In the Japanese novel The Tale of Genji, the title character poetically likens one of his many love interests to a cicada for the way she delicately sheds her scarf the way a cicada sheds its shell when molting. A cicada shell also plays a role in the manga Winter Cicada. They are also a frequent subject of haiku, where, depending on type, they can indicate spring, summer, or fall. Also, in the series Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, cicadas (or higurashi) are a major subject.
In China, the phrase 'to shed off the golden cicada skin'(金蝉脱壳, pinyin: Jīn Chán tuōké) is the poetic name of the tactic of using deception to escape danger, specifically of using decoys (leaving the old shell) to fool enemies. It became one of the 36 classic Chinese strategems. In the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Diaochan also got her name from the sable (diāo) tails and jade decorations in the shape of cicadas (chán), which at the time adorned the hats of high-level officials. In the Chinese classic Journey to the West, the protagonist Priest of Tang was named the Golden Cicada; in this context the multiple shedding of shell of the cicada symbolizes the many stages of transformation required of a person before all illusions have been broken and one reaches enlightenment. This is also referred to in Japanese mythical ninja lore, as the technique of utsusemi (i.e., literally cicada), where ninjas would trick opponents into attacking a decoy.
Javanese version of cycle of months, called pranata mangsa, uses cicadas sound as an indicator of the beginning of dry season (April–May). Farmers who still depend on rain irrigation will interpret this as time for planting of non-rice crops.
In The Society On Da Run, cicadas play a major role in the books. They are sacred to Dragons and are worshiped as gods.
In Mexico, the mariachi song "La Cigarra" (lit. "The Cicada") romanticises the insect as a creature that sings until it dies.
In Tuscany, the Italian word for the cicada (cicala) is the euphemism for "vagina" used by children (the usage is equivalent to "fanny" in British/Australian English).
In 2004, "cicada" ranked 6th in Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year.
Read more about this topic: Cicada
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