Myth and Superstition about Swallows
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Superstitions about Swallows
There are many superstitions about swallows.
The swallow was sacred to the Greek goddess Aphrodite who was goddess of love, beauty and pleasure.
The swallow is known by some as 'the bird of freedom'' as it is free to travel over many hundreds of miles passing over seas and many lands, returning each year to the very nest it was hatched in.
Make a wish on the first swallow of the summer and it is sure to come true!
Some say that swallows flying high indicate good weather and swallows flying low is an omen of stormy weather. If you see swallows flying over your home you should see it as a lucky omen of good fortune coming your way. Conversely if you see swallows squabbling it indicates misfortune.
A swallows nest built in the eaves of a house is considered to be extremely good luck bringing success, good fortune and happiness. And to remove a swallow's nest is said to bring sadness and loss into the home.
The appearance of thirteen swallows at sunset indicates a death is imminent.
In Greek mythology, outlined in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Philomela and her sister Procne were daughters of Pandion, a king of Athens. The sisters were parted after Procne married Tereus, king of Thrace and went to live with him in his kingdom.
After five years the sisters wanted to reunite, so Tereus agreed to go to Athens and bring Philomela back to see Procne. On the journey back to Thrace Tereus lusted after Philomela and eventually raped her. He then cut out her tongue so she would remain forever silent about the brutal crime and hid her in a cabin and told Procne that her sister was dead.
Unable to speak, Philomela wove a tapestry that told her story and had it sent to Procne by an old woman. When Procne saw the depiction in the tapestry, she asked the woman to lead her to Philomela to rescue her.
Procne took revenge on her husband by killing their son Itys and serving him to Tereus for supper. The sisters then presented him with the severed head of his son. He became enraged and snatched up an axe and pursued them with the intent to kill both Procne and Philomela. The sisters prayed to the gods for protection who transformed them all into birds. Tereus became a hoopoe, Philomela a swallow and Procne became a nightingale.
In nature the Hoopoe has an impressive crown of feathers.
The female nightingale is mute and only the male of the species sings. The song of the nightingale is often interpreted as a song of sorrow.
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