Are you prepared for the solar eclipse this week? Depending on your location you might need to adjust your utensils or stay inside!
A Sight To See
On Friday around 8:30am the UK will be able to witness an amazing solar eclipse, with the last significant one viewable from the UK taking place 1999 - it really is a sight to see! Although it’s not a full eclipse (we have to wait until September 23rd 2090 for that!), it will still have a dramatic affect on the skies as the moon slowly blocks out the sun over the course of around an hour.
Feel The Chill...
Temperatures are expected to drop by 3 degrees centigrade, animals that would normally be sleeping might wake, and the light will likely resemble twilight rather than gleaming morning sunshine. In the UK we’ve been advised to get prepared if we want to experience all this taking place, by getting proper eclipse viewers (not sunglasses!) or making a simple pinhole camera to see the moon’s shadow pass over the sun, and don’t forget your hire chairs if you need seating too.
Spoons At The Ready?
In other cultures all sorts of traditions are followed during eclipses, and these are some of the wackiest we’ve come across… brace yourself for number 4!
1. Upside Down
If you’re thinking of enjoying some food during an eclipse, then don’t forget to turn your cutlery upside down! Actually, if you’re eating outside of inuit culture then you can probably just use your knives and forks as normal. It’s reported that some inuits like to turn their cutlery around during eclipses because it’s believed to ward off illness, if you’re feeling a bit peaky why not give it a try right here in blighty - it can’t hurt...
2. The Big Bang
We take a very scientific view of solar eclipses in the UK. They happen because the sun is 400 times the size of the moon, but because the sun lies 400 times further away from earth they appear to be the same size - allowing one to eclipse the other. According to some Thai traditions, the eclipse signals the end of the world has started because an evil spirit is making the sun disappear - so loud noises, banging pans and fireworks are used to scare away this deadly force and bring back the sunshine.
3. Oh Pants!
Eclipses in other ancient folklore don’t cause the end of the world, but it was believed they could affect unborn babies. This meant pregnant ladies were encouraged to stay inside, while in Latin America women still wear red knickers secured with a safety pin to ward off any bad luck, just make sure those pins are securely fastened if you fancy adopting this tip on Friday!
4. Rub A Dub Dub
Another country that associated the eclipse with spirits up-to-know-good is India. The superstitious here would take baths before and after the event to rid themselves of any pesky entities, and to ease any eye aches (possibly caused by the eclipse?) then a totally natural substance was put into them - you’d have to be brave to try it… as it’s wee!
5. Belly Ache?
We’ve seen a bit of a trend in these traditional customs in regard to what causes the eclipse… naughty spirits being a common theme. Europe isn’t entirely free of these beliefs as well! During the medieval era any babies conceived during eclipses were referred to as moon children and believed to be the work of the devil! Couples were instead encouraged to have an early night full of sleep rather than anything else during these events.