If you are someone who loves mythology and folklore, this is the perfect time for you to gather your family around and relive the stories of gods and demons and dragons! Wonder where we are going with this? Saturday, Dec 4, is going to be the day when you can witness a total solar eclipse. This eclipse is going to be the last of the year 2020, and there isn’t a better time to remind you of the ancient theories and myths surrounding an eclipse. While scientists or even modern day folks have always given a rationale explanation for what causes an eclipse, there are many who still get fascinated by the idea of an angry and beheaded demon Rahu, swallowing the Sun and the Moon, causing an eclipse. Isn’t the story captivating? Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting mythological tales about solar eclipses.
Dragons form a big part of Chinese mythology. So it isn’t difficult to guess its role in forming an eclipse. The legend says that a dragon eats the Sun for lunch which causes an eclipse, and it ends when Zhang Xian, the god of birth, fires arrows at the dragon which forces it to throw up the Sun! Korean folklore has yet another spellbinding ancient explanation. It suggests that solar eclipses are a result of mythical dogs trying to steal the Sun. In Norse culture, Loki, the god of mischief, was believed to be put into chains by other gods. Loki got revenge by creating giants, one of which swallowed the Sun, thereby causing an eclipse.
Traditionally, people in many cultures also have different rituals that they perform during solar eclipses. Some of these rituals are to honour the Sun god and some are to scare away the demons that come to visit during eclipses. Not to forget, Indians have their own beliefs/superstitions which are followed even today. One of the most common superstition is to avoid eating anything during an eclipse. Solar eclipses have also been associated with human behaviour, relationships and even pregnancy superstitions.
It’s quite clear that even though Science has busted almost all the myths surrounding solar eclipses, the stories and superstitions are still prevalent in many parts of the world. So if you are someone who loves ancient mythology, this last Solar Eclipse of the year is the perfect time for you to dive into some of these enthralling stories!