As many know a solar eclipse is when the moon covers the sun, but there are many superstitions about solar eclipses that individuals do not know. A partial solar eclipse like the one occurring in Australia is formed by one of the two shadows that the Earth’s moon casts. They are referring to this eclipse as the ring of fire due to the fact that the ring of the sun will be available during the eclipse. Only those located in the Western Hemisphere will be able to see this one, but in October the U.S. Will have their own eclipse only it will be a lunar, instead of a solar eclipse. The solar is formed by the shadow of the moon called penumbra shadow, which allows partial sunlight to shine through. A solar can only appear when the new moon passes between the earth and the sun.
Solar eclipses have been seen all throughout history. Recent studies have even proven that Egypt observed them 4,500 years ago. In China the eclipses were taken very seriously, so seriously that in history some astrologists were murdered for not being able to predict an eclipse. The reason being is the Chinese believed it was a sign that foretold the future of the emperor. The superstition of how a solar eclipse occurred, according to the Chinese is that fire dragon devours the sun, thus the solar eclipse was born in this very superstitious country. The same is said for a lunar one except it is a celestial dragon and it eats the moon instead. In order to scare the dragon away the Chinese would beat on their drums to keep the dragon from eating the sun/moon. The most recent way the Chinese scare the dragon today is by firing cannons during the eclipse, this is done by the Chinese navy.
Other countries also believe the sun has been eaten, Jaguar (Latin America), Werewolf (Romania), spirits of the dead (Serrano Indians), and Turtles (Vietnam). Another bizarre belief is that the eclipse will cause birth defects, this is mainly believed in Mexico and can be traced back to the times of the Aztecs and Mayans. During the Aztec times women would carry a red string wrapped around an arrowhead. Today, women in Mexico and Latin America are supposed to wear red underwear and a safety-pin through them during a solar eclipse to protect their baby, it is just one of many more superstitions. Eskimos believed that the sun and moon were temporarily diseased. In order to protect themselves from the widespread disease in the community they would, they would place their eating utensils upside down in order to deflect the sun/moon harmful rays of light.
The strangest belief out there is that it is the end of the world. In some religious beliefs, some fear that it will be the rise of the anti-Christ, while others believe it is the return of the devil. The wildest belief has to be from Reverend Clyde H. Higgins, who believes that God has nominated Johnny Cash’s angel to remind everyone that a man is still a man, thus why it is called the ring of fire. The fact remains that while there are many superstitions surrounding eclipses the sun/moon eclipses have been around for thousands of years.
Opinion by Heather Tillman