Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9559214:


Ladybug around the world 20 11, 3:46am

I'd like to correct the obviously popular but mistaken belief of many commenters that the Finnish name of the bug, leppäkerttu/leppäpirkko, has something to do with the tree leppä, alder.

Leppä in this case has nothing to do with alder. Instead both the tree and the beetle have been named for their red colouring (alder is rust red under it's bark). Leppä is simply an old word for blood.

Kerttu is a Finnish form of the German name Gertrud, which was popular all over Europe in the mediaval times since saint Gertrud was a very popular patron saint. Pirkko is likewise a Finnish form of Birgitta, another very popular (at least in nordic countries) medieval saint.

Therefore leppäkerttu means litarally blood Gertrud or bloody Gertrud and leppäpirkko means blood Birgitta or bloody Birgitta.

Funny thing is that neither of the saints died in a bloody way or was martyred at all.

leppäkerttu = bloody Gertrud, leppäpirkko = bloody Birgitta