Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What's the Meaning of a Solar Eclipse In Burma?

Bad luck. Burmese society is extremely superstitious. Folks take unusual disturbances in nature or heavenly objects to be 'a sign'. Historically, it's always been bad. Take 1988, there was a solar eclipse in March. Elders often talk of the fact that the eclipse was some how a warning for the 1988 uprising and bloodshed. From then onwards, the country became pretty much isolated from the world. There's not a lot of stuff written online about Burmese culture and solar eclipses but I found this Burma forecast from an astrologer. Astrology is a BIG DEAL in Myanmar. Children are named according to the day that they were born and their characteristics determined. Star charts and various rituals are preformed for almost every phase of life. The people who rule the government are extremely religious and adhere to strict rituals as well.

When Cyclone Nargis hit, it coincided with the voting for the national referendum on the new Constitution. Rumors spread throughout the nation that it was "god's punishment" or disapproval. People often joke amidst the destruction on how even the storm wanted to vote for "their election". Miraculously however, there was a 99% vote on the approval of the referendum.

In a couple of hours there will be another solar eclipse -- an eclipse you can see from Myanmar but not Thailand. In two days time on July 24th, the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's verdict is supposed to be heard in court. Fascinating coincidences that we'll just have to brace ourselves and see what happens.

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