It might have been Friday 13th last week, but today, Friday 20th March, there was a total solar eclipse, the first since 3 November 2013. The solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, therefore obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on earth.
The only populated places where the totality of the eclipse were visible was the Faroe Islands and Svalbard - a truly unique destination that Transun will be offering to our clients in our soon to be released Arctic Summer tailor-made holidays.
If you loved the solar eclipse and got up early to watch this distinctive event, we are sure you will find these beliefs fascinating…
Scandinavia - Norse Mythology
In ancient Norse legends, the sun goddess Sol travels through the sky chased by the wold Sköll, who intends to devour her. The eclipse is said to be a sign that Sköll was dangerously close to catching Sol. When the wolf devours the goddess, people were told to make a tremendous amount of noise, from shouting, to banging pots and pans to frighten the wolf of and return the sun to the sky.
Greenland - Inuit Folklore
The sun goddess, Malina walks away after an altercation with her brother, the moon god, Anningan. Annigan stubbornly chases her in the sky, and this is why the sun and moon always appear at different nights in the sky. Anningan is so tenacious in his eternal pursuit of his sister that he neglects to eat, becoming thinner and thinner. The Inuit’s believe that a solar eclipse happens when the siblings meet in the sky.
Sri Lanka - Hindu
Perhaps a more colourful story than the Inuit’s and Norse legends, is the legend of the Hindu demon Rahu. Rahu disguises himself as a god to try and gain immortality, however the sun and moon see what Rahu is up to and they report his crime to the god Vishnu. Vishnu, slices of Rahu’s head, just as he tastes the elixir of immortality, consequently Rahu’s head turns immortal but his body dies. The demons head continues to move through the sky chasing the sun and moon out of hatred, and every now and then, such as on the Friday 20 March 2015, Rahu catches up and swallows the sun and moon, but since Rahu has no throat, the sun and moon soon fall out of the bottom of his head!
If you wish to learn more about the colourful legends, why not take a holiday to the unique paradise isle of Sri Lanka and soak in the sights, sounds and smells of this vibrant island? Or explore the stunning iceberg isle of Greenland, and for those that enjoy the wonders of the night sky, take a short break to Lapland and watch the Aurora Borealis dance overhead on our Northern Lights holiday.