bats in african mythology

Bats - Disease-Prone but Beneficial, Reviewed: December 23rd, 2021 Published: January 18th, 2022, Total Chapter Downloads on The felling of roosting trees was mentioned as bat death reason by 29% and hunting by 18%. Christianity and the origin of bats are also intertwined in the Mohammedan legend that Christ created a bat while keeping the fast of Ramadan. In many parts of Indonesia, people specifically consume bats livers and hearts as medicine [39]. Generally, the Maya revered a Vampire Bat god, Camazotz, the death bat, which killed dying men on their way to the center of the earth [51, 52]. Interestingly, Islamic taboo. Although they live near humans and are common, it appears that some of the species have not been described and given scientific names [17]. In Isaiah 2:19-21, bats are connected with wilderness and heathenism: People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. A woman noted that her husband had a round tail and dropped the vessel of water she was bringing to him. In Irian Jaya of Indonesia, former head-hunters considered flying foxes to be head-hunters too, as they took the head of the tree by consuming its fruit [37]. UNITED KINGDOM. Therefore, instead of coming out and feeding in daylight he began to feed at night. The bat is the nights mentor and is associated with Talking God, one of the most powerful deities. - The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. The flying fox obtained his wings when he borrowed them from the rat and refused to return them. During the early days of the world, a bat and twelve insects revolved in the darkness. Nowadays, of course, we know that vampires are not real and neither is the ability to turn into a bat. In pre-Columbian Central and South America, the bat played an important role in the religions and social structures of the various cultures, most notably with the Moche people of Peru and the Maya of Guatemala. The five-chambered cave hosts the worlds largest known colony of the Geoffroys Rousette Fruit Bat, Rousettus amplexicaudatus, with an estimated 1.82 million individuals [76]. Halloween. The bat flew to a nearby cave, but each evening it emerged at sunset, telling Jesus that it was time to take food [see Bats and the Netherworld, BATS, Summer 1993; also, see this same article for the converse notion that the devil created bats.). These creatures have had a long and varied history with humans, and it is hoped that this article has helped to increase your understanding of these creatures. Its unlucky to see a bat in the daytime. 9. Bldg. WebSpirits African mythology is filled with spirits, invisible beings with powers for good or evil. This ethnic group in Africa is known for its The genus Pteropus was first described by Brisson in 1762 from specimens collected on the Reunion Islands. With the help of the bat and the flying squirrel, the birds won the ball game, with the agile bat scoring the winning goal. A modern variation of the myth that bats arose from rodents comes from an Ohio woman of Polish ancestry who attested that the bat was from a mouse that had eaten blessed Easter food. (In Polish tradition, a representative food from the Easter dinner is taken to church to be blessed.) Presented here are different viewpoints from around the world, followed by a short look at the real significance of bats to humankind. The bat serves as mentor of the night and is identified with Talking God, one of the foremost deities. They belong to the Order Chiroptera. Zteve enjoys researching deep into the folklore, myths and legends that run through society and are part of our everyday lives. In some places bats were seen more positively. From this duality and strangeness evolved a reputation of duplicity and threat, appearing as neither one thing nor the other. Even worse have been the vandalism and wanton destruction of bats and their habitat in North America. That makes them the second most common group of mammals, after rodents. Similarly, the Ge tribe in Brazil moved through the night following a bat that looked for light toward which to guide the people (Figure 4) [51, 52]. Bats in a church during a wedding ceremony is a bad omen. Both to such an extent that hunting them has become a major concern to environmentalists. Belief in myths seemed to prevail among those surveyed. One bat, whose habits may have fostered these tales of decapitating bats, is the false vampire Vampyrum spectrum. This North American bat-like depiction should come as no surprise; it is merely another manifestation of the fear, horror, and superstition with which bats have been regarded down through ages [64]. They also don't share behavior with rodents. Greeks and Romans often referred to people who were active at night as bats. Apparently many of these people had adopted nocturnal behavior to avoid those to whom they owed money. WebTrunko. The general attitude is that the flying fox is part of the forest, and the vast majority support the protection of Pteropus samoensis and P. tonganus [45]. Test your knowledge with the "Myth or Fact" image sliders below. While others say bats resemble an unhappy bird who got lost on its way to find the sun, in Greece during the middle ages, there was a myth that bats arose from mice. These gods and goddesses are some of the more well-known in Africa yet some of the lesser known by people of the the rest of the world. In Malawi, negative bat superstitions caused recently quite disproportionate behavior when rural people in southern parts of the country killed nine people accusing them to be vampire bats [23]. Bats are also seen as useful in Iran, India, and Pakistan because people are collecting bat guano as a natural fertilizer. However, modern science, and hence western Europe, really only learned about them as we traveled out to the tropical world. But it should come as no surprise that bats figure in most ancient mythologies. They fly at night and so do witches, hence in Western Europe, witches and bats must be associated together. (Above is from a variety of African mythology not just Sub-Saharan, but it's also the tiniest fraction of it) Another belief about bats comes from the Navajo, a Native American tribe from the southwestern United States. These myths associate killer bats with fire as the bat burns its victims and is, in turn, thrown into the fire [60, 61, 62]. A legend tells that in Fiji, a giant white vampire bat acts as a messenger, and one finds bats as gods in both Tikopian and Tongan myths. When you stand with us, your donation will support critical bat conservation initiatives. Becoming neither one thing nor the other made them ashamed. Many people still believe this to be true in Mexico. A detailed list of all the African gods and goddesses wuld be endless, but these twelve from the Orisha Pantheon are a good placde to start. On the other hand, the Tupinamba people believed that the planet would be eaten by a bat at the end of time. Photo credit: Uwe Schmidt. WebLegendary creatures from African mythology. Bats for eating in the Laos marketplace. There are more than 1000 different species of bats in the world, making them the second-largest order of mammals. People often perceive bats as anomalous or ambiguous creatures, different from more normal animals. One clan of the Cakchiquel Maya, of the highlands of Guatemala, was named the Zotzil (=belonging to the bat), whose deity was a bat. In another tale from Aesop, a bat borrows money for a business venture that fails. In the Punjab, northern India, magicians use bat bones to prepare their concoctions, and with the bat blood, they write amulets for malevolent and antisocial magic. Microchiroptera Cheiromeles torquatus is eaten in Borneo and Tadarida sp. Bats lead us to the best opportunities to protect nature anywhere in the world. Between the years 1950 and 2007, only 56 cases of bat-borne rabies transmission to humans occurred in the United States and Canada, which translates to 3.9 cases per billion person-years [65]. The positive side is that by 600 BC., and probably before, humans were learning important things from bats. While Aesops fables involving bats may have envisioned them as duplicitous and dishonest, other folklore has ascribed a lot worse to bats, as we have seen in this series of articles. It is not just their physical form that makes bats a curiosity. The native-American tribes, like the Thuni Indians, believed that a bat predicted rain. Pomo Indians of California have a myth that a bat could chew and swallow a large piece of obsidian and then vomit large numbers of excellent arrowheads. Bat Conservation International 500 N Capital of TXHwy. These small creatures wished to participate in a ball game in which the animals challenged the birds. Bats are mentioned three times in the Old Testament. In Malaysia, ethnic Han Chinese, non-Muslim indigenous groups, and ethnic Malays hunt flying foxes and trade them to the Chinese [27]. Samoans said that flying foxes were cheeky and courageous, making it a popular tattoo motif [48]. In Malaysia, a face-to-face survey was conducted in Penang Island to assess knowledge and awareness level toward bat conservation efforts. These Goddesses of beauty reflect peace for a lot of people. Using two willing female teenagers, one with relatively short curly hair and one with longer wavy hair was done up behind in a bun, Cranbrook took turns in placing four different species of bat on their heads. Bats are also used as allegories to denote romantic or parental love in the poetry of Tamil Sangam literature in India [27, 28, 29]. WebFar Eastern Bat Symbolic Meanings. Also known as Hunbatz, One Monkey A Monkey, not a Bat One of the Monkey Twins, hes the son of Hun Hunahpu and Xbaquiyalo. Sometimes, as with the myth, it leaves a trademark two-pronged bite on the victim. Bat Mythology There is a strong association between bats and death. Bats are shot for sport or to eradicate them from fruit plantations. Sunset is just the beginning. These are Under the influence! Bats appear in numerous myths throughout the world and are frequently connected with death, darkness, and the supernatural. Bats are also revered throughout India. But where theyre used as an ingredient in a witchs brew, theyre no different to frogs or snails (also common ingredients). It is no real surprise that in a Christian Europe throughout history, the bat has been associated with the Devil, evil spirits, and witches [9]. Bat Conservation International is a 501(c)(3) organization. The underworld is often associated with the dead but it is perhaps the association with vampires that is the most sinister aspect of bats. The Adjule is also called a Bush Dog. Bats are symbolic of bad luck, especially when they call while flying early in the evening. Should the bat stay and eat the fruit in the house, bad luck will befall the owner [27]. Stay up to date with the latest news and information about BCI and bats. The way they live their lives and their behaviour places them somewhere betwixt and between, appearing as neither one thing, nor the other. It tells how a bushrat named Oyot was friends with Emiong the bat and they would often eat together, taking it in turns to cook. Nandi Bear. In shamanism, the bat as well as being a symbol of death and rebirth is able However, more recently, the habit has become much more common. Here are some of them: Flying foxes eat fruit, and this has inevitably brought them into conflict with humans, who grow fruit. The twins had to spend the night in the House of Bats, where they squeezed themselves into their own blowguns in order to defend themselves from the circling bats. dragon, in the mythologies, legends, and folktales of various cultures, a large lizard- or serpent-like creature, conceived in some traditions as evil and in others as beneficent. Many spirits are associated with geographical features, such as mountains, rivers, wells, trees, and springs. Cultural traditions and beliefs influence the future of the bats, which is threatened by human exploitation, both directly on bats and indirectly on the environment. In Hunza, Pakistan, a witch appears in the shape of a bat, and it plays a role in magical practice in southwest Asia. Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a5fde012108c6f81a46adcd8fa31b17e" );document.getElementById("ebd2ec4c6f").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. Often seen in movies and even written in books, bats have always been portrayed as mysterious creatures throughout the years. This is because people thought that bats were associated with witches and black magic. In southwest Asia, bat folklore has been documented between Iran, India, and Myanmar [25, 26, 27]. Half of the students knew that bats are mammals, but 26% believed them to be birds, some thought of them being amphibians (12%) or reptiles (11%); 37% disliked the bats, and 27% liked them remaining seeing them as indifferent. Pre-Islamic magical belief in Hunza said that if the lady would once offer the cooked meat of bat to her guests, hiding it behind her back while serving her family would never be without meat for their whole life [25]. In South America, the vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) is persecuted because it transmits the rabies virus to the livestock it feeds off. A little later the same bat was caught by another weasel and begged for mercy. Photo credit: Masteraah. To date, ethnobiological information regarding bats in Africa has mainly focused on utilitarian aspects of bats as food and medicine, whereas knowledge concerning symbolism and beliefs surrounding bats in that continent has not been assembled, apart from ancient Africa [18], Ghana [19, 20], Kenya [21], and Madagascar [22]. In the old days, people used to think that bats were evil, and they would often try to kill them. Especially when the bats preferred natural resources have been logged out of existence and replanted as a monoculture. It remains to be seen, however, if this could halt or even reverse the decline of the North American bats [64]. A bat-headed figure from Costa Rica made by pre-Colombian Diquis people sometimes between 700 and 1530AD. Samoan people prize flying fox meat as a delicacy and as a gift to elders, but commercial hunting and export of the meat are culturally frowned. On Mochica pottery, a bat is depicted with the Sweetsop Annona squamosa, a common fruit also known as Sugar Apple or Pinha, the seeds of which are dispersed by bats [51, 52]. He always finds it a source of fascination discovering and learning how our ancestors perceived the times they lived in and how they have influenced us today. WebMYTH: Bats are blind. It was called Boman, and it was able to turn into a stone or a snake at will. They often live and breed in dark and unusual places such as caves, tunnels and lofts, leaving these at twilight the time between light and darkness in search of food. A world without bats would look very different than the one you know and not for the better. In Cameroon, the superstition of the vampire is attached to bats. Emiong knew he was in trouble and flew off into the bush. In Madagascar, the exploitation of bats for bush meat regularly takes place during periods of food shortage, especially fruit bats, which are heavily hunted. Do you know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to bats? Large-bodied old-world fruit bats, like this Egyptian fruit bat Rousettus aegyptiacus, are disproportionally targeted to be hunted for bushmeat. In many cultures, they are seen as symbols of good luck, while in others they are seen as omens of bad news. In New Zealand, Mori people associate bats, pekapeka, with the mythical nocturnal bird hokioi that foretells death [49]. Bats in Myth and Legend 945ontwerp / Getty Images Large flying fox Pteropus vampyrus suffers from its misleading scientific name as it is not blood-eating species but feeds only fruits and flowers. Zteve believes that people have far more in common with each other than is often shown on the surface and this can often be seen in the folktales from other parts of the world. Much of the folklore about bats relates to their way of life. Flying foxesalong with all other native batsare now protected in Australia. Sociocultural definitions of animals as good or evil have persisted throughout the history of human beings. The Moche people in Peru were aware of the connection between bats and plants. Between Iran and Rajasthan, north-western India, there is the widespread public belief that if a bat lives somewhere in the house or hangs on the roof, this would mean bad luck for the owner [25]. In Pudukkottai, roosting P. medius is seen as the guardian of the sacred groves, and in Bihar, that bat brings wealth. 5 Princes Gate Court, An idea that reflected their ability to fly around so quickly in the dark without hitting anything. Africa. The bat is a devil who flies only in the night because it would die if flying in the daytime [25]. Out of over 13,000 species, there are only three that feed on blood. However, in post-Christian Europe, the bats propensity of flying at night led to its association with the devil. In the sandstone caves of Northern Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland, there are numerous depictions of flying foxes, some dating back tens of thousands of years. The third reference is in Isaiah 2:20. When Oyot went home his wife had to go out on an errand. Female respondents in this study showed more negative attitudes and a stronger belief in myths about bats than males. Below, we will be taking a look at some of the most popular bat myths from around the globe. The diversity of South American bats is impressive as there are more bats, and more bat species, than in any other part of the world [51, 52]. Thus, more famine relief food aid is desperately needed to reduce the bush meat use during the food crises, which are nearly annual in the region [22]. Therefore, let us give them the recognition they deserve because if bats were to disappear tomorrow, that would give us something to genuinely fear. Using its new teeth to hold the ball, the bat helps the animals to win the game. In Sri Lanka, it is believed that one may be reincarnated as a bat for denying another person drinking water [31]. This pollination syndrome is called chiropterophily. This Order name means hand-wing as the bats can hold food between their forearms. The complete extinction of Pteropus tokudae and the extinction of Pteropus mariannus on most inhabited islands is a direct result of hunting and habitat destruction. Creative commonsWikimedia. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. In several other folktales, bats are banished into the night either as a result of some treachery or, as in the case of the Kanarese, because of embarrassment resulting from ill-advised behavior. They were believed to destroy trees and damage fruits in gardens. Bats are interesting animals and have been a part of human culture for a long time. Large, often man-eating, bats are found in Hawaiian traditions, and there is even a legend of an eight-eyed bat in Hawaii. Besides hunting, the primary threats to bat species include habitat loss and degradation through logging. He has also contributed to Enchanted Conversation Magazine and his latest Kindle ebook, The Feather of the Firebird is now available. I am a bird. Photo credit: Raniel Jose Castaneda creative commons Wikimedia credit as in Figure 7. This allowed the borders to be crossed and the dead and the spirits of the underworld return to visit earth. They have fur and teeth and nurse their young like other mammals, but they dont walk on four legs. These arrowheads were used to kill deer and were considered very powerful. A folktale from Southern Nigeria gives a novel explanation of why the bat flies at night while highlighting its supposedly untrustworthy nature. In India, bats are revered in many areas, but still large bat-harvesting festivals take place. Bats have fascinated humans for millennia, and this cultural and spiritual relevance is reflected in the presence of bat symbols in Egyptian tombs from 2000 BC . The first two references are Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18. In Madurai, worshippers of the Muni god regard Indian Flying Fox Pteropus medius, formerly Pteropus giganteus, as sacred and protect colonies for fear of heavy punishment. In some versions of the myth, the old mice would climb to the top of a tall tree, and when they reached the highest branches, their tails would detach and grow into wings. These birds went to temples and prayed to be turned into humans. Vampires had been part of Slavic folklore in Eastern Europe since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but it was not until the nineteenth century that popular fictional literature, predominantly through Bram Stokers Dracula in 1897, would forever tie bats and vampires together, with the protagonist, Count Dracula, being able to transform himself into a huge bat [13]. The Pomo Indians of California had a superstition that bats could devour volcanic rock and then spew out ready-made arrowheads. In that day people will throw away to the moles and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, Here, using documented narratives, surveys, popular literature, and cinema, we will explore the various myths, legends, and attitudes to bats from around the world. While the English term batty denotes mad in a reasonably innocuous sense. However, after offering prayers, dead bats found on the ground can be eaten. I am a bat ecologist with an interest in how people, culture and beliefs bonds or ties with bats. In Macbeth (1605), there is the incantation of the three witches: Eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog, while there is Calibans curse on Prospero in The Tempest (16101611): All the charms of Sycorax, toads, beetles and bats, light on you.. The first sighting was reported in 1928 by Thodore Monod. Most often, they are seen only at night. It is a canine creature supposedly living close to the Sahara Desert in North Africa. Bats are very social animals and often live in colonies of hundreds or even thousands of individuals. Contact our London head office or media team here. Shockingly, US news media recently reported shortages of Halloween decorationsplastic bats among them, doubtlessdue to the world supply crunch [63]. A substantial proportion (53%) thought that bats have medicinal value, but 35% saw them only as harmful creatures. Bats, at least the ones that originate from North-western Europe, look a bit like mice with wings. In China, the bat is a symbol of happiness and good luck and its image is found in art and crafts expressing this. It takes the form of a firefly, but if you capture one, it will revert to human appearance. When a truce is declared, the bat is rejected by both sides because of this deceitful behavior. It is at this time when the veil between this world and the otherworld was believed to thin and a state of liminality existed. The widespread sacrificial association derives largely from the habits of the Common Vampire Bat that feeds exclusively on the blood of vertebrates (Figure 5). In Kenya, a bat attitude questionnaire was presented to 394 people living around the Arabuko-Sokoke forest. Bats flying vertically upwards and then dropping back to earth means that the Witches Hour has come. It is the largest bat found in continental Africa and was believed to suck the blood of sleeping children until they die. Do they really deserve this sinister reputation, or do they play a more important role in the world than feeding the dark human fascination for the spooky and the supernatural? In many human cultures, caves were seen as gateways to the underworld and bats often emerge from caves at twilight when day merges into night. Nearly another third reported actively killing bats or destroying bat roosts, and most respondents associated bats with the destruction of farmers fruits, especially mangoes. In Western Europe, there existed an unfounded superstition that if a bat fell on a woman (who mostly had long hair back then), the bat would become so entangled in her hair that the hair would have to be cut off just to pull it out. #FolkloreThursday 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, United Kingdom, WC1N 3AX. WebWhen seen as human souls, bats are often imagined as souls of the dead, particularly souls of the damned, or those that are not yet at peace. Having multifaceted anatomy of a lion, hippopotamus, and crocodile, she waited for the opportunity to devour the hearts of This persecution has been quite intense and has had negative effects on the whole environment. In Jamaican folklore, bats are also perceived as death images [59]. The myths grew with the 1927 stage production which further associated Dracula with bats. In some parts of the world, they are a valuable food source, and their body parts are used in traditional medicine, while their guano is collected and used as agricultural fertilizer [7]. An old engraving of vampire bats described by early explorers such as John Stedman.

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