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When the ‘bakunawa’ ate the sun

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Various cultures around the world have striking similarities and differences in explaining the solar eclipse phenomenon. To most, it meant very angry gods about to punish an erring humanity.

The most popular, however, is the story of mythical creatures devouring the sun. In Philippine mythology, a “bakunawa” (sea serpent) consumed the sun after being attracted to it. The Chinese believed a dragon had gobbled up the sun while to Vietnamese, the frog was the sun eater.

For the Inuits of the Arctic region, a solar eclipse occurred when Anningan, the Moon god, had caught up with his sister Malina, the Sun goddess, after their fight.

Solar eclipses are associated with bad omens that could bring deaths or destruction. In some cultures, pregnant women and children are asked to stay indoors during an eclipse to keep them from danger. In India, people fast during an eclipse in the belief that any food cooked while an eclipse happens will be poisonous.

The English word eclipse comes from the Greek “ekleípo” which means disappearance. – Inquirer Research


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