eclipse

Armenian - The temporary obscuring of the sun. By the moon or the moon by earth's shadow. Such events inevitably perplexed early, unsophisticated peoples who invented many stories to account for the phenomenon, many of them asserting that the heavenly body was being devoured by some huge animal. -Armenia It is said that the primaeval ox gave birth to two offspring which appear as dark bodies in the heavens, blotting out the sun or the moon. -Baltic The Letts say that the body being eclipsed is being devoured by some huge animal. -Cambodia The belief here is that a monster is devouring the heavenly body. Young girls are allowed out during this period to do homage to the monster. -China The Chinese say that the body being eclipsed is under attack from some huge celestial animal and kick up a great din to frighten it away. -Egypt During an eclipse, the king walked sunwise round the temple. -Hindu It is said that an eclipse of the sun is caused by Svarbanhu while an eclipse of the moon occurs when it is swallowed by the demon Rahu. -Mexico The Mexicans sacrificed humans (dwarfs and hunchbacks) to propitiate the spirits causing the eclipse. -North America (1) The Cherokee say that eclipses are caused when the moon (male) visits his wife, the sun. (2) The Eskimos say that the sun and moon are brother and sister who have sexual intercourse during an eclipse. (3) The Ojibway believe that the sun will be totally extinguished in an eclipse and shoot flaming arrows to keep it alight. (4) The Tlingit believe much the same as the Cherokee except that they regard the moon as female and the sun as her husband. (5) In the Yukon the women invert their cooking pots to avoid contamination by the unclean vapours thought to descend during an eclipse. -Pacific Islands The Tahitians regard the two heavenly bodies as male and female and say that an eclipse occurs when they are having sexual intercourse. -Siberia (1) The Buriats say that the sun or moon disappears when eaten by the monster Alka. (2) The Tartars believe an eclipse is caused by a vampire which lives on a star. -South America (1) The Bakaira say that an eclipse is caused by a huge bird which obscures the moon with its wings. (2) In Bolivia, Nicaragua and Peru they say that the body being obscured in an eclipse is being eaten by a huge jaguar and shoot arrows to drive the beast away. (3) The Cavina say that the moon is being eaten by ants when it disappears during an eclipse. (4) The Vilela believe much the same as the Bakaira but substitute a huge bat for the bird. Sometimes called eclipse.

Nearby Myths