Today is indeed a special day for skywatchers and astronomy enthusiasts across the world. The entire stretch from Oregon to South Carolina in North America is gearing up for witnessing one of this year's most spectacular celestial events- a total solar eclipse.
Before proceeding any further, let us know why solar eclipses happen. A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth obscuring the disc of the sun. Yes, that's all that happens and you can now confidently debunk all the old wives tales narrating that the Sun God hides his face in anger or a beast trying to destroy the burning star.
However, this spectacular astronomical event has always been feared or seen as a bad omen. This is probably because the sun has always been a constant in our lives and without it, we cannot even think about the existence of life.
Here are five most bizarre superstition associated with solar eclipses.
1. Monster that devours sun
Hindus believe that a demon named Rahu stole a magic potion to give him immortality from the Gods. The sun and the moon saw this sneaky act of Rahu and asked warned Vishnu –a principal God of Hinduism. Enraged, Vishnu decapitated Rahu. However, the demon already drank the immortality potion and it reached till his throat making his head immortal, while his body rots away.
An extremely disappointed Rahu chases the moon and the Sun for eternity and sometimes devours them. However, without the body, the sun comes out from the severed neck. The little time that the sun is inside Rahu's mouth it appears black.
Similarly, the Chinese believe an evil dragon devours the sun from time to time and they make noise and shouts to scare the demon away.
In Vietnamese legends, this demon takes the form of a giant frog; in Mayans legend, a giant serpent; in Hungarian legends, a bird; in Siberian folklores, a bear and in Korean stories, fire dogs.
2. Sun and moon having an argument
In some culture, people believe that the sun goddess Malina got furious at her brother, the moon god Anningan, and walks away causing solar eclipses. People also believe that only way to pacify the divine siblings is to solve conflicts among them.
3. Poisonous food
Some people believe that food cooked during solar eclipses become poisonous and abstain from eating anything the entire day!
4. Hide your pregnant wife and children
Expecting mothers are often advised to not go out during solar eclipses or even stare at the sun. Even little kids are asked to stay indoors. In some culture, people believe that children born during an eclipse turn into rats!
5. Plant trees
In Italy, many people plant saplings during an eclipse as they believe that when they will bloom they will be the brightest and most colourful of all. Well, that is one positive belief!
What do you think about these superstitions? Let us know by commenting below.