The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century takes place on Friday, July 27. It will keep sky-gazers fixated on the heavens in astonishment, but as the blood red moon lights the night sky it will send chills down the spine of the superstitious.
For centuries, cultures around the world have responded to the lunar eclipse in eccentric ways. Some have been downright crazy, like packing away the silverware and avoiding sex. Go figure.
Here are some crazy lunar eclipse superstitions:
1. Eskimo Disease
Eskimos make sure they turn their utensils upside down during a lunar eclipse. Eskimo folktale says that if utensils are not placed upside down, a disease will strike them through a ray of moonlight or sunlight.
2. Avoid any ‘hanky-panky’
As the Medieval tale goes, sex during an eclipse could bring about spawn of demon-children. During the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that children who were conceived during an eclipse would be evil and bring turmoil to their parents’ lives.
3. Pregnant women beware
Superstitious people believe that women who are expecting should avoid touching their belly during a lunar eclipse. A touch is said to bring about a birthmark on the child and the size of the birthmark depends on the force of the touch.
A Latin American myth states that birth defects occur during an eclipse, and to avoid this pregnant women should wear red underwear and a safety pin.
4. Do not stare, if you don’t want kids
We know it takes more than a look to create a life. But folklore dictates that if women stare at an eclipsed moon for too long, they are likely to become pregnant instantly.
5. Flowers are good fortune
There is a positive outlook on the eclipse too. Tibetan Buddhists believe that any act of kindness conducted during a lunar eclipse will multiply. It is assumed to have strong ties to creating good karmic energy. A simple act of kindness may go a long way this Friday, open the door for your co-worker or smile at a stranger to brighten up their day.
According to an old wives tale from India, eating and drinking during a lunar or solar eclipse can cause severe indigestion. Although a nice bottle of wine would be ideal as you watch the sky show, indigestion might follow swiftly. This could also be a way of testing folklore without it costing you too much. Make sure you have an Eno on hand… just in case.
7. Thailand and tin pots
In Thailand, during an eclipse, tin pots are banged together and fireworks are set alight to scare away lurking spirits. The eclipse is believed to be the end of the world in Thai tradition – and the disappearance of the sun or moon is blamed on evil spirits.
8. Cuts and wounds
Another myth is that if you get cut during an eclipse, it won’t stop bleeding. The moon may or may not be sacrificing your blood and a terrible scar will remain when you do stop bleeding.
9. Golden waters
Indians strongly believes in the power of the moon, and during an lunar eclipse people are advised to wash their eyes out with their own urine to prevent them from hurting. Taking a bath before and after the eclipse to wash the negative and dark energy of the eclipse from your body, is also highly recommended.