What are Mermaids?
Mermaids are mythological creatures, that
are aquatic. Mermaids have a female human
head, and torso, and they have a tail
of a fish. Mermaids are thought to be
enchantresses of the ocean, who lure and
woo men to their deaths through the sound
of their songs. It is said that mermaids
can sometimes foresee the future. Mermaid
lore is found in societies through out
The word "mermaid" comes from
the the French word "mer" meaning
sea, and the word maid to represent a
girl or young woman.
Legends about mermaids are said to pervade
almost all cultures around the world.
British: Merry Maids
Carribean Islands: Lasirčn
Other Names: Sea Nymphs, Sirens,
Sea Sirens, Merfolk, Aphrodites Spawn,
Water Spirits, Water Babies, Nereid, Naiad,
Nix, Ocean Nymph, River Nymph,Water Elf,
Water Sprite, Merpeople, Sea Maids, Sea
Maiden, Sea People, Sea Queen, Siren Tritons,
Undersea Folk, Underwater Folk, Water
Babies, Water Maid, Merlady, Merfish,
Merpeople, Ben-Varry, Catao
History: Many of the mythology
surrounding mermaids start with a mermaid
as a water deity. The first known mermaid
stories developed from Assyria circa 1000
BC. The story is that the Syrian goddess
Atargatis dove into a lake to take the
form of a fish, the powers would not allow
her to sacrifice her great beauty, so
only her bottom half became a fish.
Iconic Symbols: Iconic symbols
that are often associated with mermaids
are a mirror and comb, as well as
their talent to sing and lure unsuspecting
sailors and men, with their beauty
and music. In medieval churches mermaids
were thought to represent the sin
of both pride and vanity, and
the sin of lust. Mermaids are
thought to be sexy and mysterious.
recent reported sighting
of a mermaid was said to
be in 2012 in Zimbabwe.
Meanings: Mermaids are have contradictory
meanings in different cultures, some believe
that mermaids grant wishes and assist sailors.
Other cultures believe that seeing a mermaid
indicated bad luck and it was an omen of an
impending storm, shipwreck or death. While still
others believe that mermaids hypnotize men through
their song, causing the man an early demise.
Myths in Culture:
Britain: In British lore mermaids
foretell disaster as well as provoking
China: Chinese legends include
mermaids as sea-dragons and the dragon-wives.
In ancient Chinese tales mermaids could
turn their tears into valuable pearls.
They could also weave, a beautiful,
translucent fabric. As a result fishermen
longed to catch them, but the mermaids'
singing would simply drag them down
into a coma.
Cornish: In Cornish legend it
is said that a mermaid heard a man singing
in the church choir, and fell in love
through his song, he returned the affection
and went out to sea to live. It is said
you can still hear the man signing in
Danish / Scandinavia: A young
mermaid girl at the age of 15 year becomes
curious and swims to a ship. On the
ship, she falls in love with the prince.
A storm comes, wrecks the ship and drowns
the prince. The mermaid saves the prince
and takes him to dry land. When other
humans arrives she dives into the sea
to hide. The mermaid goes to the sea
witch to get a potion, to become human,
after drinking the potion, the mermaid
magically becomes human.
German: In German mythology,
there was a beautiful young maiden named
Lorelei. Lorelei's true love rejects
her because she can not resist the advances
of other young men. Lorelei is sentenced
to spend the rest of her life in a nunnery.
On the way to the nunnery, she passes
cliff above the Rhine. She sees a boatman,
and jumps off the cliff to be with him.
Death was said to transform Lorelei
into a siren. Since then, many boatmen
have been lured onto the dangerous rocks
by Lorelei's singing.
Greek & Roman: Triton, Poseidon
and Neptune, Gods from Greek and Roman
mythology are often depicted as being
half-man and half-fish.
India: In Indian mythology,
A merman, Matsya Avatar is the first
incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He has the
lower body of a fish, and upper part
like that of a man with four arms. Matsya
Avatar, holds a conch shell and wheel
in two hands, while the other two are
holding a lotus or a mace.
Irish: In Irish folklore it
was believed that mermaids could transform
into humans through the removal of a
cap or sea-skin. Sailors were told to
hide the sea-skin, so they could marry
the mermaid and live with them. In almost
all legends the sea-skin was recovered
and the mermaid was forced to return
to the sea.
Japan: Japanese legends not
only include mermaids, but also sea-dragons
and the dragon-wives. In Japanese mythology
it is said that eating the flesh of
a mermaid can grant immortality.
Russia: In Russian lore mermaids
are said to be the daughters of a water-king,
the mermaids were said to be water-nymph
that drowns swimmers.