25 Legends and myths about the full moon.
The Moon has been an inspiration for writers and other artists throughout the ages– it is, no doubt, the muse of hundreds of thousands of humans having lived on Earth. Yet others view our satellite as a means of comfort; how many lovers suffering from separation have written poems in the name of the moon? As much as the heavenly body has its place in the world of art, it is also the subject matter of many a superstition, specially when it is at its biggest and brightest – the full moon.
Different cultural communities associate supernatural (or, at least, out-of-the-ordinary) happenings with the full moon. This is what has given rise to the many legends and myths surrounding this phase in time. Let us look into some of them.
1. The Moon’s effects on our body
The most famous (one of, anyway) myths concerning the full moon entail its apparent and alleged effects on us, humans. It is said that it influences us in the same manner it affects the tides of our oceans. What is the reason given? According to this group of people, our bodies are made up of mostly water (75%), and so, the full moon must be exerting a certain tidal effect on us too.
2. More babies are born on full moon nights?
Another myth relating to humans is that more babies are born on nights when the moon is full than on other nights. Has there been any concrete evidence to support this? Not at all – science has found nothing to prove this.
3. Some people go crazy during full moon
A crazier effect entails people going crazy during full-moon nights. This is why the word “lunatic” has been coined: it comes from the Latin word “lunaticus” which means “moonstruck”. So, people suffering from mental illnesses, or who would show tendencies of dangerous and rash behaviour would be called lunatic as it is said that the full moon is to be blamed.
4. Honeymoon word origin is the full moon
Now that we’re talking about the full moon, have you thought of the word “honeymoon” yet? Why this fancy name for the events following weddings, when spouses go on holidays? It is said that the term was derived from the full moon of the month June which was once considered the best time to schedule weddings because it was the waiting period between cultivating plants and the harvest season.
5. The Buddha’s enlightenment and nirvana happened during a full moon
Some people even believe these nights to be sacred. For example, communities fro Sri Lanka hold this belief because of legends pertaining to the life of Buddha that are said to have occurred during full moons. He was allegedly born on a full moon, and important events like enlightenment and nirvana happened on such nights. To celebrate the sacredness thereof, Sri Lankans practice certain habits such as closing their shops, no serving of alcoholic drinks, and no activities that would involve taking a life, including fishing.
6. Pagans and the full moon
Pagans also have their own interpretations of the full moon: for instance, they believe that the Stonehenge witnesses its most mystical time at the waning of the full moon, a time when our planet meets up with her lover, the sun.
7. Some people turn into werewolf during the full moon
And, how can we forget the werewolf legend, one that has embellished the landscape of so many literary works, from Harry Potter to Vampire Diaries and Twilight?! People bitten by this mystical creature will also turn into one of them, it is said. They metamorphose from a human form to a wolf-like one during full moons, and you better not approach them, else prepare to get bitten!
8. Most epileptic seizures occur during a full moon day
A ‘more scientific’ myth, full moons are also associated with epileptic seizures. According to some, these nights witness such cases because the moon will affect these people. History even testifies to patients asserting that their seizures are stimulated by the moon. Of course, this does not constitute evidence at all. Authors of a 2004 scientific paper published in the journal Epilepsy and Behaviour argue that epilepsy has been attributed to other supernatural causes anyway, such as witchcraft and demons.
It is to be noted that, though this might sound like a scientific explanation, this effect has not been proved by researchers. Scientists explain that the scale is too small to detect such occurrences, if they even exist.
9. Fertility is controlled by the full moon
Yet another human trait is associated with full moons: menstruation. The common thing, you ask? They both happen monthly, and so, they must be linked! It is also asserted that fertility itself is controlled by the moon. However, the truth is that the menstrual cycle of each woman varies in terms of the number of the days (this might be around 28 days or even 35), while the lunar cycle is set at 29.5 days.
10. Full moons prevent people from sleeping well
How true is this claim? Researchers once suggested that sleep deprivation might be an effect during full-moon nights. However, subsequent research conducted by other scientists found no convincing evidence as to the link.
Find part 2 of this article here where we list 15 more full moon myths and legends.