WHAT IS A BLOOD MOON?What makes it a Blood Moon? On that night, there will also be a total lunar eclipse. This happens when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align in a perfectly straight line. This causes the Earth’s shadow to completely cover the Moon. As the light of the Sun hits the Earth, the red portion of the color spectrum bends the most, curving around the planet and still reaching the Moon that is hiding in the Earth’s shadow. The result is a noticeably red Moon, earning it the nickname of Blood Moon.
BLOOD MOON FOLKLOREIn historic times, most people around the world were skywatchers in some way. The night sky was important for knowing the seasons so they could plant and harvest crops at the proper time. It marked important dates for rituals, ceremonies, and celebrations. It told stories that held lessons for all the people of their culture. But it also held mysteries that produced ideas that we would call mythologies or folklore today.
MESOPOTAMIAIn Mesopotamia, the world’s oldest civilization, the people also thought the Moon was being attacked. They thought this put their king in danger of attack, too. Since they were able to predict Blood Moons with reasonable accuracy, they hid the king away in a safe and protected place while a substitute king was dressed up to take his place. After the eclipse, the king would emerge from hiding and resume his position as ruler of the kingdom.
INDIAIn India, a Blood Moon brings ill fortune. The people cover their food and water to protect it and perform cleansing rituals for their own protection. Pregnant women avoid eating or doing housework so they can keep the unborn child safe from a bad omen.
NATIVE AMERICANIn modern-day California, the Native American Hupa and Luiseno tribes saw the Moon as sick or wounded. So the people would sing and chant healing songs toward the darkened Moon until it escaped the shadows.
AFRICANIn the African countries of Togo and Benin, they believed the eclipse was caused by an argument between the Sun and the Moon. It was the responsibility of the people to help them resolve their argument by resolving their own arguments. So during an eclipse, the people would put old feuds to rest, a practice that continues to this day.
WHERE TO GET VIEWING INFORMATION
You can find information about upcoming lunar eclipses and where to see them at TimeAndDate.com.