Solar Eclipse

“It is not good for a solar eclipse to occur during pregnancy. They say that the baby could come out with a birthmark on its face shaped like the solar eclipse…Um…Usually on the face. That is why they always told me to wear a red ribbon on my underwear when I was pregnant. The red ribbon is supposed to prevent the birthmark from developing. Luckily, no eclipses ever happened during my pregnancy.”

Context and Analysis: The informant grew up believing in Curanderia, a type of witchcraft used in Guatemala. The informant first heard this folk belief when she was pregnant with her first child back in Guatemala. She informed that she was also told many other beliefs to prevent ailments to the baby, including wearing gold or not wearing black. Superstitions for pregnant women are incredibly common in Guatemala. Like the informant had remarked, many Guatemalan women are recommended to always wear a red ribbon tied to their underwear because it will prevent the formation of a birthmark when there is a solar eclipse. Because there is a large population of indigenous people living in Guatemala, folklore with solar-themes is very common, suggesting that curanderia is highly influenced by mayan beliefs and traditions. While this is true, it is a very common belief among cultures that the color red wards off evils and ailments, indicating that the red ribbon of curanderia is a varitation of these common beliefs across cultures.