Myths and folklore from around the world surrounding eclipses

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:24PM
Fire dogs, dragons and the moon fighting the sun are just some of the stories from around the world told to explain eclipses.


Throughout history different cultures have come up with many folklores to explain the celestial event known as eclipses.

According to National Geographic, many people believed mythical animals consumed the sun or moon during an eclipse. Vikings believed it was wolves, and in Vietnam, it was believed a frog or toad ate the sun or moon. In Chinese, the earliest word for eclipse, shih, translates to "to eat." They believed it was a dragon that consumed the sun during an eclipse.

To scare away mystical animals or demons that consume the sun or the moon during an eclipse, many cultures banged pots and pans or drums to create loud noises.

In Korea, it's believed a pack of fire dogs was ordered by a king to steal the sun and the moon, according to the National Folk Museum of Korea. When the dogs captured the sun, it was too hot for them to hold. When the dogs captured the moon, it was too cold for them to hold. It's believed an eclipse occurs when the dogs are biting the sun and the moon.

The Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin believe the sun and the moon are fighting during an eclipse, according to professional storyteller Jordan Hill. People would use eclipses as a sign to stop fighting and to reconcile.

Hispanic tradition says that if a pregnant woman watches a lunar eclipse, their baby would be born with a cleft lip, according to Babycenter.com. The roots of the myth trace back to the Aztecs, who "believed that an eclipse was a bite on the face of the moon."
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