Rainbows

Rainbows

rainbow-edinburgh

(Double Rainbow – Edinburgh Castle)

Rainbows (optical phenomena occurring when white light is refracted into its spectrum of colours) are the subject of many stories,  In Ireland, a common legend asserts that a “pot of gold” is to be found at the end of a rainbow, for the person lucky enough to find it. This treasure is, however, guarded by a  Leprechaun   who is very small, takes  the form of an old man with a beard and wears a red or green coat, and hat.  Leprechauns spend all their time making shoes, and store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If they are  captured by a human, they have  the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release.

The legends of many cultures see the rainbow as a kind of bridge between heaven and earth.

In medieval Germany, many believed that for forty years before the end of the world, no rainbows would appear.

Many cultures all over the world believe that rainbows led to God,  and refer to it as  a “Pathway of Souls.”, the “Floating Bridge of Heaven,  the “Path to the Upper World.”. However  some groups of people were terrified of them, for example Zulus thought that it was an enormous supernatural serpent , coming out after a rainfall to eat men and cattle. They  have also  been used to predict good hunting or sailing weather, and have been considered either very good luck or very bad luck. Some say it is bad luck if a rainbow’s end rest on water. Others declare  it is good luck if both  ends rest on land.

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