legend of the Bakunawa
wonder | wander | women love watching the turns of the seasons and the phases of the moon; we’re fascinated by the many legends around the world that explain these changes.
In Visayan mythology there were seven moons, all siblings, so beautiful that a dragon wanted to eat them right out of the sky.
This monstrous mix of sea serpent and dragon was called the Bakunawa, and lived at the bottom of the sea.
Warriors would borrow the power of the Bakunawa by carving its head into the hilts of their swords. This tenegre or “tiger-like” sword has a hilt of horn carved into the likeness of the Bakunawa.
Bakunawa was drawn upwards by the beauty and brightness of the moons that the Creator placed in the night sky, and immediately ate six of the seven moons.
The creator Maka-Ako had to plant bamboo on the last moon, creating stains that diminished its mirrorlike beauty and repelled the Bakunawa.
To keep the Bakunawa from eating the last moon, whenever there was a lunar eclipse people would come out of their houses shouting and banging on whatever came to hand, making noise to drive the monster off.
There is a Hiligaynon children’s song that was meant to be sung as a charm during lunar eclipses:
It’s a fascinating legend that has inspired folktales, dramatisations and many artworks over the years. May the Bakunawa live in our imaginations for many more!
Originally published at https://wonderwanderwomen.blogspot.com.