【明報專訊】Last Wednesday, enchanted masses were seen across the city, diligently casting their gazes eastward upon the sky. Despite the thick clouds, people had hoped to catch a glimpse of the total lunar eclipse, also known as the super blood moon that appears like a pink cookie-cut piece of sandwich ham in the sky. It has been some time since any activity drew unanimous masses into open spaces. The sight itself gave me a false sense of camaraderie (志同道合感).
The super blood moon has always inspired cultures across the globe. The Incas believed that a jaguar attacked and devoured the moon, leading to its eclipse. To prevent the Earth from the same ill fate, they would shake their spears and order their dogs to howl in order to drive the jaguar away.
In some pieces of Hindi folklore, the moon is devoured by a demon, Rahu, instead of a hungry jaguar. Having consumed the elixir of immortality without permission, Rahu was swiftly decapitated by the solar and lunar gods. However, the elixir preserves Rahu's head, which then sought revenge by roaming the galaxy, trying to swallow the sun and the moon. When he succeeds, a lunar eclipse happens. Do not worry though — Rahu doesn't have a stomach. The moon reappears soon out of his severed neck!
By contrast, the Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin, Africa, handle lunar eclipses with a more positive outlook. They believe the eclipse to be a period of contention between the moon and the sun. To encourage a reconciliation, humans must first set aside differences and resolve old feuds among themselves. On that note, I only wish the eclipse would last longer — 15 minutes were barely enough to resolve any conflict! Those who have missed this occasion will have to wait another 12 years. I hope their grudges won't stay that long.
Mona C. has a strong appetite for stories. Feed her enough.