On August 21, the United States will be able to witness a total solar eclipse passing from coast to coast for the first time in 99 years. While this may be just a cosmic activity, it is stirring fears of the apocalypse based on cultural beliefs.
Many cultures have come to believe that eclipses are some sort of signal from a higher power or predictors of doomsday. They have created stories and myths that people still believe up to this day.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Dan McGlaun, a 12-time total solar eclipse viewer who runs the website Eclipse2017.org, said, “Total eclipses are so phenomenal and so overpowering and so amazing that some people have ascribed a ‘super spirituality’ to them.”
Lika Guhathakurta, NASA’s lead scientist for the eclipse, added, “Most cultures have regarded eclipses with great trepidation and fear, and you can understand why when all of a sudden darkness descends during the day and you don’t know why.”
Despite scientific evidence to disprove the folklore regarding total solar eclipses, the belief still persists. In China, ancient beliefs suggest that when a total eclipse occurs, a fire-eating dragon is swallowing the sun. In medieval Europe, Viking sailors said there are wolves wandering and catching up with the burning orb, per Quartz.
— NASA (@NASA) July 16, 2017
In India, it is believed that food prepared during the eclipse is poison. With that, Indians bang pots and pans “to frighten away the moon so the sun can shine again.” NASA said it is a misconception and pointed out that “crops are unharmed by eclipses.” The yogi Sadhguru, however, argued that prepared foods are affected by the event because the Earth mistakes the eclipse to be a full moon.
Express.co.uk previously reported that some Christians believe that the 2017 total solar eclipse would bring the end of the world. According to them, the beginning of the end actually started in 1947 when Israel was created, and it would conclude 70 years later.
Evangelist and Bible teacher Michael Parker wrote in 2015, “Those that come and divide the land of Israel, God himself will come to that nation and cut them to pieces. Has America’s future just been witnessed by what a symbolic Solar Eclipse is showing us in 2017? It turns out that THIS solar eclipse is a once in a lifetime event. It will be over 100 years until it happens again. This concludes that this is a generational event, witnessed by THIS generation.”
Indiana pastor Paul Begley, who hosts the Blogtalk Radio show, Coming Apocalypse, does not predict the world’s end on August 21. He raises questions whether there is something significant about this eclipse and the other total solar eclipse happening in April 2024. He noted that the totality of the eclipse would pass over the southern Illinois town of Carbondale, and Southern Illinois had been called little Egypt, where crops survived a severe winter in the 1830s.
A total solar eclipse is coming next month. Here's a quick refresher on what, exactly, this phenomenon is. https://t.co/081vfVCGIm
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 18, 2017
The total solar eclipse on August 21 will last up to two minutes and 40 seconds, which can be witnessed in 14 contiguous states in North America. People in Mexico, Canada, some parts of South America, the United States, and northwestern Europe will also observe the partial eclipse. Here’s a round-up of some of the best places to be in the U.S. to witness this phenomenon.
[Featured Image by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images]