Tradition: Why We Wish on Falling or Shooting Stars

I went to a ‘haunted hayride’ last weekend (had a great time). Being out among the corn fields, I was able to view far more stars than I would from my home in Clinton Town. On one occasion I looked up and I saw the end of a shooting star. I was surprised and also amused that the child in me quickly made a wish.

Later on I wondered about our traditions of making wishes to the heavens. Yeah, I kind of believe in it. I also believe in faeries, sprites and that a butterfly landing on your shoulder will bring good luck (my friends know I have taken permanent steps to always welcome that good fortune).

But people all around the world do wish on shooting stars or ‘certain’ stars. Many believe that this practice is based in different religions. Some believe that is a practice simply because of the beauty of the stars.

One of the oldest references to the practice of wishing on a star is the nursery rhyme we all know, but I didn’t know it was estimated to have been written in 1895. The author is unknown, but the poem reads, ‘star light, star bright, first star i see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight’.

One myth dates from Ptolemy in the 1st century (A.D.) about wishing on a falling star. He wrote that the Gods will, out of both curiosity and boredom, occasionally peer down at the earth from between the spheres where stars could sometimes slip out of this gap, becoming visible as shooting or falling stars. The Gods, it’s believed, tend to be more receptive to wishes made during these times. But you do have to tell your wish out loud when the star is still falling. When it disappears, the ‘door’ is closed.

But many other cultures also revered the shooting star, such as the Jews and Christians believing them to be fallen angels or demons and the Greeks thinking them the rising or falling of human souls.

Another legend from native americans tells the tale that in the land of Kluskap there lived two sisters who loved to watch the stars. One day when they were walking in the forest they became lost and in the evening they watched the stars as always. In two bright stars, one sister saw an eagle and the other sister saw a hawk. These birds carried them up into heaven. They were very lonesome, for they were away from their own people and they prayed to Kluskap to have them returned to their homes. He said, “If I do this, you must not look back once we start on our journey”. But the younger sister could not resist looking back to see if her older sister were following. As she did, she was immediately turned to flame. You can see her today. Look for a shooting star. It is the younger sister still trying to come back to her people in the old land of Kluskap.

In Switzerland, a meteor was considered to possess the power of God.  Modern Hawaiian Japanese are reported to believe that if a meteor comes in your direction, you must open the collars of your kimono to admit the good luck. ;In central Europe, people believed that everyone had a personal star which fell upon his or her death. This led some to say such things as ‘rest in peace’ or ‘may God guide you to a good path’ upon seeing a meteor.

Perhaps the most famous omen was that divined form the Ensisheim stony meteorite which fell in Alsace (now in France) in 1492. The Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian assembled his council to help determine the meaning of the fall. The council determined that it as a good omen in his wars with France and the Turks

Have you been wishing for something and it hasn’t come true? Well you’re in luck. Late night November 16 until dawn November 17, 2013, the Leonids will shower us with meteors.
Radiating from the constellation Leo the Lion, the famous Leonid meteor shower has produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history – at least one in living memory, 1966 – with rates as high as thousands of meteors per minute .

The Geminid meteor shower will be giving us plenty of shooting stars (meteors) to wish upon from Dec. 4-17. There were will be plenty of opportunities to make wishes that week, especially during the peak viewing time on the evening of December 13 and into morning of December 14 when shooting stars will fall at a rate of 80-120 per hour! You only have a few seconds to make your wish as the meteor falls from the sky and you must say your wish out loud!

So that’s it. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true….so the song goes.

Did I get the wish I made in the dark corn field? Sadly no, but I didn’t say it out loud either. It’s something to plan for during the next meteor shower.

So, why would a Realtor write such an article? Oh, you know it’s coming…

If you’re looking for a new home where you can pay proper homage to the heavens – day or night – give me a call or a click.





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