Solar eclipse myths and superstitions

The Vikings blamed wolves for consuming the sun
The Vikings blamed wolves for consuming the sun

Friday’s partial solar eclipse will been seen across northern Africa, Europe and northern Asia as the moon’s orbit travels in front of the sun, casting a shadow over the Earth.

Europe will see between 30-98 per cent coverage depending on location, with a higher percentage of the sun obscured as you move further north.

There will also be a Supermoon the evening before the eclipse, meaning the Earth and moon are as close together as they can be. This makes this 2015 Spring Equinox eclipse a supermoon eclipse, meaning a supermoon, equinox and eclipse will all fall on the same day.

In Vietnam, people seeing an eclipse believed that a giant frog was devouring the sun, while in ancient China many people believed a hungry celestial dragon was responsible.

Korean folklore tells of the sun being stolen by mythical dogs, while in Europe, the Vikings blamed wolves for consuming the sun.

Meanwhile, the ancient Greeks believed a solar eclipse was a sign that the gods were angry, and that it heralded disasters and destruction.

Modern superstitions include the belief that solar eclipses can be a danger to pregnant women and unborn children.

In some cultures, young children and expectant mothers are asked to stay indoors during an eclipse.

In parts of India, people still fast during a solar eclipse because of the fear that any food cooked during the event will be poisoned.

However, in Italy, some believe that flowers planted during a solar eclipse will be brighter and more colourful than at any other time.