Nov 25, 2009

Myths And Lore About Lunar Eclipses

A very long time ago, many creative minds came up with ideas that were to be associated with lunar eclipses for a very long time. Most of these were, as I said, very creative indeed, but wisdom eventually triumphed and saved the moon from evil spirits! Here are a few stories:
As far back as 2100 BC, the earliest records of the eclipse written by the Chinese tell us that they believed a dragon was engulfing the moon during an eclipse. The ingestion of the moon was extremely gory, with blood spluttering all over. They would beat mirrors and drums and shoot arrows towards the sky to make the beast regurgitate and return the moon to its place. How bizarre!

In a less dramatic belief, the Red Indians thought the moon was a man with 20 wives and numerous pets such as lions, bears and snakes. The man would occasionally bring home some food for his pets but they’d pounce on him because the food didn’t taste very good (he should have used a different Take Away). He would bleed, and that explained the reddish colour of the moon during an eclipse. But one of his wives, a frog, would promptly arrive to his rescue and collect his blood to heal her husband. (Frog wife?)

However, the Greeks were more advanced in astronomy. They used the circular shadow of the earth upon the moon (during the eclipses) to further prove that the earth was round.
Well, history is quite fascinating, but science is more remarkable. Next time you sight a lunar eclipse, you can admire it with full understanding, or remember cool facts about it, and then perhaps, make up your own story to back the episode!

Image: Dell Tacket
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