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20 Most Interesting Earthquake Myths From Different Parts Of The World

We all know how an earthquake occurs, thanks to technological advancement. You know the precautionary measures you need to take and you also know that there is a science behind each tremor you feel.

But was this the case in ancient times? No, not really.

In olden times, various civilizations, tribes, countries, religions had different views about the origin of an earthquake. And to be honest, some of those myths were downright hilarious.

Check out the 20 earthquake myths that were associated with ancient times

And be ready to come across some mind-blowing beliefs people had because you are in for a treat.

1. Indian Mythology

1. Lord Vishnu

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In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu is the revered God who took up the responsibility of balancing the earth ON HIMSELF. Hindus believed that earth lies on top of a sleeping Lord Vishnu. When he twists and turns in his sleep, the earthquakes occur.

2. Seven Serpents

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Yet another story from Indian mythology says that the seven sections of the lowest heaven were guarded by seven serpents. These seven serpents would take turns to hold the earth. When one gets tired or bored and another swaps places with him, people on the Earth feel a jolt, which is an earthquake.

2. Japanese mythology

1. Namazu (鯰)

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The Japanese believe that Namazu (鯰), a giant catfish is the one who causes earthquakes. Namazu supposedly lives in the mud beneath the earth. Namuzu is guarded by the Japanese god ‘Kashima’ who restrains the fish with a huge stone. Sometimes when God Kashima lets his guard fall, Namazu thrashes about, causing violent earthquakes.

2. Oarfish

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The Japanese also have another story related to earthquakes. According to the story, an oarfish acts as a messenger of warning from the Sea God’s Palace. When they appear on the beaches of Japan, an earthquake is imminent.

3. Greek mythology

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Greeks believed that Poseidon was the cause and God of earthquakes. And whenever he was in a bad mood, he struck the ground with a trident, as a result, causing earthquakes and other calamities.

4. Norse mythology

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The Norse folk believed that earthquakes were a result of the violent struggling of the God Loki.

The story goes that Loki murdered Baldr ‘God of beauty and light’. For this crime, he was punished and bound in a cave with a poisonous serpent placed above his head that dripped venom.

Loki’s wife Sigyn stood next to him with a bowl to catch the poison, but whenever she had to empty the bowl the poison would dribble on Loki’s face, forcing him to jerk his head away and thrash against his bonds, which caused the earth to tremble.

5. Pacific North West

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The people in Pacific North West spoke of traditional stories. They believed that an earthquake originates from the shaking of the sea. And that it was caused by the struggle between a large bird, the Thunderbird, and a whale.

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6. Traditional stories from China

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The folklore from China suggested that the Earth is held up by several elephants who stand firmly on the back of a turtle. Furthermore, the turtle is balanced on top of a cobra. And when any of these animals move, the Earth experiences tremors.

Did You Read: Why Indra Dev Is The Hindu Version Of Loki

7. Europe

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Ancient Greeks reckoned what theory Aristotle came up with was right. According to Aristotle, strong and wild winds are trapped and held in caverns under the ground. When they struggle to escape,  they produce earthquakes.

8. Africa

1. Giants

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In West Africa, the story behind the earthquakes is pretty romantic. They believed that the Earth is a flat disk, which is held up by an enormous mountain in the west and by a giant in the east. For the support, the giant’s wife supposedly held up the sky. And whenever the giant would stop to hug his wife, the earth would tremble.

2. West Africans

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The West Africans have a different folklore. They claim that a Giant carries the Earth on his head. And that all the plants that grow on the Earth are his hair, the people and animals are the insects that crawl through his hair. He usually sits and faces east, but once in a while, when he turns to the west and then back to the east, the jolt is felt.

3. Eastern Africa

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The people from Eastern Africa deduced that a cow stands on a huge flat stone, and the stone, in turn, is resting on the back of a giant fish. The cow balances the earth on the tip of one of its long horns. Sometimes it would cause her neck to ache. And when the aching gets too bad she tosses the globe onto the other horn. It is this movement that causes the earth to shake.

9. Mozambique tribe 

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The tribe of Mozambique surmised that the Earth is a living being. And naturally, it has the same set of problems that we have. So, whenever it gets sick with a fever, it gets the chills and that’s what the earthquake is all about.

10. Siberian folklore

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In Kamchatka, people had an inkling that a God named Tuli carries the earth on a dog sled. Unfortunately, the dogs had fleas and they often scratched, which causes the earthquakes.

11. Mongolian mythology

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Mongolians once believed that the world sat on the back of a gigantic frog. The frog would stumble, rattling his load. When this huge frog moved, the Earth moved directly above the part of him that moved, be it his shoulder, leg, head, etc. And obviously, the earth shook violently during this action.

Also Read: 10 Actual Benefits You Can Gain By Worshiping Lord Ganesha

12. Mexico, El Diablo myth 

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The Mexicans of El Diablo perceived that an Indian devil makes giant rips in the ground. They did this so that he and his devilish military unit wouldn’t have to take a long way around. So, whenever they want to stir up trouble on the Earth, they dig and people would feel earthquakes.

13. New Zealand mythology

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Early people from New Zealand revered Mother Earth with a child in her womb, who was deemed as the young god Ru. Whenever he stretched and kicked as babies do, he caused earthquakes.

14. Māori mythology

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In Maori mythology, Rūaumoko is known as the God of earthquakes, volcanoes and seasons. He is the youngest son of Ranginui (the Sky father) and Papatūānuku (the Earth mother) (commonly called Rangi and Papa). 

Unfortunately, Rangi and Papa were separated by their sons. Rangi cried, and his tears flooded the land. To stop this, the sons decided to turn Papa face down, so Rangi and Papa could no longer see each other’s sorrow.

Rūaumoko was at his mother’s breast when this happened, so he was carried into the world below. He was nurtured with fire for warmth by Tama-kaka. And when he moved below the earth, it caused earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

15. Fiji legend

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In Fiji, ancient people believed that Negendei was the Earth-balancer. He rested the surface of the earth on top of his head. Whenever he moved, earthquakes occurred.

16. Folklore of Hawai’i

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In Hawaii, people believed in Kane-lulu-moku, who is their God of earthquakes. They also believed in Pele who is better known as the cause of volcanoes and also earthquakes.

17. New Guinea

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The tribes in New Gunie claimed that their god Marruni was the cause of earthquakes. According to them, Marruni has a human-like upper body and the tail of a snake. When he moves, the earth shakes.

18. Samoan Mythology

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The Samoan tribe believed that Mafui’e was the god of earthquakes and also fire until Maui fought him and carried fire to humans. This clash resulted in earthquakes.

19. The Aztecs Legends

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The Aztecs who lived in the Valley of Mexico personified the source of earthquakes in Tepeyollotl, a mountain God. They claimed that the mountain God is the same one who takes the form of a jaguar leaping toward the sun, causing an eclipse.

20. Mayan Mythology

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The Mayans believed in Cizin, called as Kisin. He is a Mayan God of the underworld and of earthquakes. He is often illustrated in pre-Columbian books called codices in the form of a dancing skeleton holding a smoking cigarette. And yes, he causes earthquakes.

Which mythology did you find most interesting? Let us know in comments. 

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