In ancient times, turtles were treated and respected as a sacred creature and loved as a great delicacy. These reptiles were so beloved to the extent that some topics were devoted to describing their symbolic and magical nature in virtually all writings. Among other traits, turtles are an emblem of longevity. The meat and shell of turtles were very commonly used as medicine, food, and predictors of future occurrences. Up till this day, some individuals keep employing them for treating certain medical conditions and for making predictions. Others just love eating them, particularly during special occasions.
Their shells, known as carapaces, were equally respected because they were used as divination instruments. Some persons regard the reptile as the first place for or the origin of written characters of the Chinese language. Throughout the world, turtles can be seen in 2 primary locations, and various types of the animals exist. The first location is the Atlantic, while the second place is in the Indo-Pacific region in which their principal natural habitat is tropical as well as sub-tropical waters. In any of the 2 locations, the sizes of turtles can range from those with less than 1 inch in diameter to others with over 60 inches or higher. The weights of these reptiles can be as small as just one ounce and as big as one thousand pounds. But huge turtles are not very common now.
People consume three major groups of turtles as food. One of them is the hawksbill sea turtle, also known as Eretmochelys imbricate, whose shell is commonly regarded as a tortoiseshell. The next group, Chelonia mydasi or the green turtle, is the best for consumption. Dermochelys coriacea or the leatherback is the last group and is regarded as capable of laying the most quality eggs of turtles.
Explore the aisles in bigger markets in Asia, typically around the section for food and sea-food. Here, you will see woven baskets full of turtles of small and medium sizes. You may be lucky to find bigger ones in some markets, but that is a rarity. A long time is needed for a turtle to grow to size over a foot in diameter. A shell, which is 2-feet across, could house one of these reptiles, over 50 years of age.
The shells or armor is treated with respect because they are used as a tool for divination. In China, people regard turtles as animals that symbolize strength, magic, longevity, and endurance. Chinese imperial families held them in reverence and the people they led followed their example. Turtle motifs are used on funeral clothes of wealthy individuals especially, as well as on rulers’ clothes whose burial is being done. In modern times, cakes made of sugar and flour are molded in the shape of the reptiles. The animals can be bought around places like temples and bakeries, particularly during festivals. When they are purchased at any of these places, they are used in grave sites for family, where they are positioned in front of the tablets of ancestors, who are at home.