Eclipses and Superstition

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Here’s a bit of trenchant analysis from today’s Global Times on this morning’s eclipse (all over now in case you were planning to catch it):

In ancient China, people thought a heavenly dog swallowed the sun or moon when an eclipse occurred. They believed the event bode misfortune.

Although many people today, especially youngsters, don’t take such superstitions seriously, rumors still circulated recently that the coming solar eclipse might trigger an earthquake as terrible as last year’s in Sichuan.

…..or political upheaval? Signs and portents were generally seen as accompanying the end of a dynasty in past centuries (eg the stablishment of the Zhou dynasty way back in 1070 B.C.), though as is so often the case, these were usually recognized in retrospect by historians eager to find them.