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Solar Eclipse Superstitions

By Pollyanna Jones

The goings on of the heavens have always drawn our interest. A solar eclipse is a rare and incredible event where the moon passes across the face of the sun in its orbit around the earth. Our understanding of the solar system now explains this phenomenon, but in times past, an eclipse could be a terrifying thing. We look at some of the superstitions around such an event in this article.

Omens of a Swallowed Sun

Solar eclipses are seen throughout history as omens or portents of some doom to follow. Even in modern times, many consider that a solar eclipse marks the end of one phase in life and the beginning of another.

Naturally, it would have been a fearful thing for our ancestors to encounter when the sunlight was snuffed out and the world was covered in darkness. They took this quite literally; in the Bible when Christ dies on the cross, the light of the sun disappears for three hours, then reappears. The Crucifixion took place during the festival of Passover, a religious period timed by the lunar calendar to fall around a full moon. As the moon has to be in a “dark moon” phase during a solar eclipse, this event was not possible, and was considered by Christians to be a miracle.

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