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7 Strange Myths, Superstitions and Crazy Theories About Solar Eclipses

The word “eclipse,” is derived from the Greek term  “abandonment,” and was literally seen as the sun abandoning the earth and its people. Over time, ancient cultures and religions applied the definition to many mythological tales and superstitions.

Below are just a few of these:

 

1.  Decapitated Hindu demon Rahu takes revenge on the sun and moon.

Seeking immortality, the Hindu demon Rahu, stole a magic potion disguised as a god. As described in ancient Indian mythology, both the sun and moon watch the crime unfold and warn the god Vishnu.

Eventually, as the tale goes, Vishnu decapitated Rahu so that his head would live forever, but his body would wither away and die.

To get even, a scorned Rahu chases the moon and sun and “every now and then he catches them and swallows them,” Krupp said. But without a throat, the sun and the moon fall right through his head.

 

2. Eclipses happen when the sun and moon are fighting.

Many ancient cultures saw eclipses (solar or lunar) as fights between the sun and moon.

For example, Inuit folklore says a solar eclipse occurs when the moon god Anningan, furious that his sister (sun goddess Malina) walked away during their fight, manages to catch up with his sister, Wanner said.

And in ancient Africa, the Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin also believed the two celestial beings were hashing it out during an eclipse. However, the myth acts a reminder for the Batammaliba people to “encourage the sun and the moon to stop fighting,” cultural astronomer Jarita Holbrook told National Geographic.

“They see it as a time of coming together and resolving old feuds and anger,” she said. “It’s a myth that has held to this day.”

 

3. Bad Dog! The mythical, Nodic wolf “Skoll” is to balme.

The Vikings believed a wolf named “Skoll” temporarily stole the sun, causing the eclipse. In her book, “Tales from Norse Mythology,” Icelandic author Snorri Sturluson said the Norse tried to scare the wolf away by making a lot of noise.

 

4. Eclipses hare actually the sun and moon are fighting.

Many ancient cultures saw eclipses (solar or lunar) as fights between the sun and moon.

For example, Inuit folklore says a solar eclipse occurs when the moon god Anningan, furious that his sister (sun goddess Malina) walked away during their fight, manages to catch up with his sister, Wanner said.

And in ancient Africa, the Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin also believed the two celestial beings were hashing it out during an eclipse. However, the myth acts a reminder for the Batammaliba people to “encourage the sun and the moon to stop fighting,” cultural astronomer Jarita Holbrook told National Geographic.

“They see it as a time of coming together and resolving old feuds and anger,” she said. “It’s a myth that has held to this day.”

 

5.  Solar eclipses are dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn children.

To this day, Krupp said, people still call the Griffith Observatory before eclipses and ask if pregnant women and their unborn babies are in danger, a myth dating back to the Aztecs.

Though it’s a legends-old superstition, several Hispanic mothers-to-be are still fed the warning by older family members, causing additional anxiety.

The same is true for some religions and cultures in India, where pregnant women are still forbidden to go outside during an eclipse. 

 

6. Food cooked during a solar eclipse is poisonous.

Many Indians also fast on the day of a solar (or lunar) eclipse in fear of being poisoned by food cooked or processed during that time.

 

7.  And of course…….

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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