Tomorrow Dec 21 is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Soon we will begin to notice more daylight. Hooray! sorry to those of you south of the equator....:-D :-D
I found this online. The last part is a tale of Christopher Columbus
that I'd never heard before.
Ancient Europeans firmly believed that one should never have marital relations during a lunar eclipse, for surely the resulting offspring would be born with demons inside them.
A well-known (still modern!) superstition says that a pregnant woman shouldn't touch her belly during a lunar eclipse. Doing so will cause the baby to be born with quite a noticeable birthmark.
In India, one newspaper advised pregnant women not to go outside during the eclipse to avoid having a blind baby or one with a cleft lip.
Food cooked before the eclipse should be thrown out afterward because it will be impure.
Those who are holding a knife or ax during the eclipse will cut themselves, the Hindustan Times added.
"The idea of the Moon being consumed in an eclipse was quite common in ancient times. Even more common was the view that a lunar eclipse was a very bad omen. Ancient Chaldeans believed that the eclipse was a display of the Moons wrath, and that famine, disease or natural disasters would follow. Babylonians went so far as to try to determine which quadrant of the Moon was most eclipsed (very obvious in a partial lunar eclipse), using the direction as a geographical indicator of who would suffer the worst consequences."
"A more modern turn of history hinged on a lunar eclipse that auspiciously occurred not only in the leap year of 1504, but on February 29th of that year.
That February found the famous explorer Christopher Columbus on the small island of Jamaica, where he had been marooned for several months. Though the island natives had originally brought food and provisions to Columbus while he awaited rescue, the arrogant and overbearing Columbus had alienated the natives to the point that they ceased to provide food to Columbus and his crew.
Facing starvation, the resourceful Columbus came up with a desperate ploy: Consulting a shipboard almanac and finding that a lunar eclipse was due, he called together the native chiefs and announced to them that God would punish them if they did not supply his crew with food. And as an omen of Gods intent to punish them, there would be a sign in the sky: God would darken the Moon.
Right on cue, the Moon started being eclipsed. Columbus dramatically disappeared into his cabin, ignoring the loud pleas from the natives to restore the Moon. After an interlude of more than an hour, Columbus emerged from his cabin and announced that God was prepared to withdraw his punishment if they agreed to continue supplying him and his crew with everything they needed. The native chiefs immediately agreed, and within minutes the Moon started emerging from shadow, leaving the natives in awe of Columbus power.
Columbus got his food and supplies, and from then until he was rescued in June of 1504 the natives continued to supply him."