A total lunar eclipse or “blood moon” – named for its dramatic red color – will be visible in most of North America, South America, Asia and parts of Australia around 5:00am on April 4, 2015. Differing cultures around the world have varying mythologies regarding eclipses and especially the blood red color seen in a total eclipse. Some view it as dangerous or even demonic, while others see it as an important feud between celestial bodies that requires human invention, as explained in this article from National Geographic. Events like eclipses are an interesting starting point for cross-cultural examination as they allow anthropologists to compare responses around the world.
Interested in learning more about how cultures across the world view and interpret lunar eclipses using HRAF’s online ethnographic database, eHRAF World Cultures? You can start with a keyword search for “lunar eclipse” or get creative using the Advanced Search to find more precise results. The screenshot below shows this cross-cultural search can be performed. The Advanced Search is used with keyword variations (truncated with an asterisk * for plural and singular), OCM subjects to filter the keywords, and Boolean operators AND/OR to further refine the search.
Click here to see step-by-step instructions for an eHRAF Advanced Search.