Being a not common phenomenon, mainly those related to the Sun, Eclipses have produced all kind of popular beliefs through millennia. Even in our times, those old myths still cause fears and concerns in some people. While some communities perceive solar eclipses as a fearsome moment that will bring negative changes, others see it as a natural event that deserves respect and that we should admire without concern if can watch one.
For some societies of the American continent those beliefs have their roots in the pre-Hispanic cultures, but with today’s technology, this information continues to cross borders. At present, in some regions of North America that were not part of the territorial range of the indigenous peoples that formed the old Mesoamerica, many types of rumors are heard, but the lack of knowledge about their origin, are considered “modern misunderstandings.”
Vikings, Koreans, Africans, Vietnamese, among many other natives also had their particular interpretation of the solar eclipses, but not all of these assumptions were able to stay alive over the years.
Vikings, Koreans, Africans, among many other natives also had their particular interpretation of the solar eclipses.
Early civilizations believed that solar eclipses were related to apocalypses since there was an idea that it was a battle between the Sun and the Moon, or even that some evil animal form attacked the stars. It is not strange that during those times people created unimaginable explanations, especially when they firmly believed in their deities and the evil forces.
A solar eclipse was seen as a combat where there was a strange creature that wanted to devour the Sun. If it succeeded, humanity would be destroyed with fatal diseases. Then, to scare off the attacker and avoid a catastrophe, Otomies, Yaquis and Mayans used to make noises with shouts and materials within their reach.
Following the Otomí thought, pregnant women must carry strips around the belly or metal objects to protect themselves from the effects of lunar and solar eclipses, which according to them, intervenes negatively in the embryonic development affecting the baby with malformations or Problems in their senses. Modern Mayan descendants still believe that skin spots can appear on the baby’s skin. These would be black in the case of a solar eclipse and red in the lunar one, in addition to the possibility of being born with deformed limbs.
In other cultures where pregnancy is also thought to be affected, pregnant women should wet their faces if they do not wish their children to be born with cleft lip, which would be a consequence of being “eaten by the moon.” Similarly, for them eclipses also intervene in the growth of the largest children, so they must be raised holding them in the head to ensure their growth. In spite of being old beliefs, many feel the fear that if they ignore them, their children can suffer, so they prefer to continue imitating these millennial rituals.
Incredibly, E. C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, Calif., Says that the belief about pregnant women and eclipses is genuine among people, as she receives numerous calls to question the veracity of that fact.
Other types of ideas that do not relate to human health exist in some places such as Italy, where they believe that planting flowers during an eclipse will give them greater beauty.
“There is nothing mystical about a lunar or solar eclipse”.
Dr. Gloria Delgado Inglada, a specialist in Astrophysics and Ph.D. in Sciences at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics, and Electronics, says that there is nothing mystical about a lunar or solar eclipse, but it is a natural phenomenon where there is only one explanation. She also points out that there is no scientific evidence to support adverse conditions for babies or good outcomes for flowers and plants, so she asks people to avoid being distressed by such rumors and just respect them as part of the pre-Hispanic culture.
The only fact that is real but distorted in recent months is that during the solar eclipse of August 21 a person would lose up to two pounds in weight. The gravity force produced by the natural event will generate a slight change in the tides and the body weight of each person, but it won’t be pounds but ounces; Each of us will weigh about 1.7 ounces (48 grams) less, according to information issued by NASA. The space agency also stated that during the eclipse, the Earth will be 1.6 inches (40 millimeters) closer to the Sun due to the gravitational force, but it is not something that will change the course of the Earth nor generate any events that will endanger the human race.