Fish rain in Honduras

Nature tirelessly surprises people - as you know, there are many weather phenomena that are extremely difficult to explain, and, perhaps, one of the most mysterious is the fish rain, which occasionally occurs in all corners of the globe. But in Honduras, this natural phenomenon happens at least once a year. And although the locals have long been accustomed to it, visitors never cease to be surprised when they see a lot of fish in the puddles, which supposedly woke up from the sky in the form of rain.

The phenomenon of fish rain has been known to mankind for a very long time - since the time of the ancient Greeks. In addition, there are stories that not only fish fell from the sky, but also other animals, ranging from frogs, snakes and birds to cattle. The oldest animal evidence of rain goes back to the Middle Ages. For example, similar precipitation fell in the sixteenth century in England. Later eyewitness accounts of animal rains say that they fell in Africa, India, Australia and even the United States. Moreover, the lion's share of such phenomena occurs precisely on fish rains. However, this phenomenon is everywhere rather inconsistent, in addition, sometimes still living fish falls from the sky, sometimes already dead, and in rare cases even completely frozen. Scientists are not yet fully sure how to explain this phenomenon, meanwhile, residents of areas in which such precipitation has occurred at least once, have long written their own versions. The inhabitants of Honduras also have an opinion about the fish rain, and who else should know about its causes, because there, unlike the rest of the world, fish rain occurs regularly.

Not far from the city of Yoro, the capital of the Honduran department of the same name, fish rain falls every year. This happens during the rainy season, which lasts from May to July. It all starts with a huge dark thundercloud hanging over the city in the afternoon. About forty-five minutes after the pouring rain, accompanied by bright flashes of lightning, frequent deafening peals of thunder and strong winds, all the puddles around are filled with still living fish. Accustomed to this rain, local residents, not at all afraid of the storm, run out into the street with baskets in their hands. The largest amount of fish is found in the swampy meadows at the foot of the extinct volcano El Mal Nombre, so there is a real crush there. But there is always enough fish for everyone - hundreds of thousands of silvery sardines are restlessly splashing in the wet meadow glades. People collect all the fish, without exception, of course, eat everything at once, the inhabitants of a relatively small town cannot, so they place part of the catch in shallow pools filled with rainwater. Interestingly, those who have tried this fish claim that its taste is not at all like ordinary fish.

When this phenomenon began in Honduras is unknown. However, references to fish rain are even found in the folklore of the indigenous people. For example, in one of the old folk songs there is a similar line: "Where the fish rain will pass like a heavenly miracle." Documentary evidence of a natural phenomenon has been found since the beginning of the eighteenth century, they were made by Christian missionaries working in this area. In addition, the famous explorer and scientist Alexander von Humboldt wrote in 1823 that he found evidence that the eruption of the Karihuairazo volcano, which occurred in 1698, was accompanied by extraordinary precipitation. Allegedly, then seventy square kilometers of the area were dotted with fish mixed with mud and volcanic ash. After this, references to fish rain are found more than once.

Of course, there are many scientific theories trying to explain this amazing phenomenon. But the religious residents of Honduras have their own opinion on this issue. There, the name of the priest Jose Manuel Subriana is always associated with the fish rain, who played a significant role in the development of Christianity in Honduras. He arrived in this country in 1855 and worked with the locals until his death in 1864. During this relatively short time, he managed to introduce several Indian settlements to the Catholic faith. The indigenous people of Honduras loved and respected the priest very much, because he not only brought them enlightenment, but also being a fair and courageous person, he always fought for the rights of the Indians to the land that had belonged to them from time immemorial. One of the indigenous peoples with whom Jose Manuel Sabrina worked were the Jikakuyes Indians who inhabited the area of ​​modern Yoro. Reputed to be ruthless warriors, they were able to maintain their independence until the middle of the nineteenth century. Without exception, all missionaries who tried to introduce them to Christianity were ruthlessly killed by the jikakuyes. However, Father Jose Manuel Sabrina somehow managed to establish contact with them, and after only a few months of his work, the entire tribe voluntarily converted to Catholicism.

Of course, the priest's intentions were the most noble, but today no one speaks the language of their Indian ancestors in the Yoro department. Despite the loss of their unique culture, the descendants of the Jicakuyes Indians consider Jose Manuel Sabrina a saint, because the legend of saving people from hunger is associated with him. According to the legend, the priest, working with the Indians, often saw their suffering caused by hunger and disease. He sympathized with them so much that he decided to kneel down and pray relentlessly for three days and three nights in a row. Jose Manuel Sabrina asked the Lord to send a miracle to the poor hungry people. At the end of the third day, the priest's prayers were heard and a dark thundercloud appeared over Yoro, which poured down on the ground like a rain of fish. All Indians desperate for food were fed. And since then, a miracle has been happening every year.

As you know, most scientists do not believe in God, so the theory of divine intervention for them is not an explanation for the rain of fish. It should be noted that at the moment this phenomenon has been very little studied. Oddly, the scientific community doesn't seem to have much interest in fish showers. There are rumors that an expedition was sent to the shores of the Caribbean in the seventies of the last century, whose members saw with their own eyes the reasons for the fish rain, but there is no documentary evidence of it. At the same time, it is very difficult for scientists to understand the essence of this natural phenomenon, because eyewitness accounts are very contradictory. Some claim that the fish splashing in puddles after rain is blind, others claim that it has eyes. Everyone agrees that it is very reminiscent of sardines, the length of which ranges from twelve to fifteen centimeters. However, someone believes that this is a freshwater fish, and someone claims that it is marine, and others are completely sure that the fish lives in some kind of underground sources. Again, if these are really sardines, then they live in the sea, but sometimes they migrate to the territory of the inland rivers of Honduras, but they never make it to the Yoro region. In a word, the task for scientists is not easy, but they confidently put forward more and more new versions of the origin of the fish rain. The most obvious of them is that a strong tornado picks up fish from the sea, sucks them into a cloud, and then brings it to Yoro with a strong wind, where silver carcasses fall to the ground along with the rain. It is worth noting that tornadoes that arise at the sea actually lift water into the sky, and at the same time all the living creatures in it. There are also reports that after the tornado, sardines fell directly from the sky and in other parts of the planet located near the ocean. In addition, one of the residents of Yoro claims that he was forced to go to the hospital after a fish falling from the sky broke his finger. At the same time, there is no documentary evidence that fish appears from the sky, so the phenomenon is called fish rain quite conditionally. In addition, a number of factors oppose the tornado version. First, in order for sardine precipitation to regularly spill into Yoro in May-July, tornadoes must constantly appear near the coast of Honduras at this time, which does not happen. Secondly, they should happen exactly in the place where the sardines accumulate, which is also unlikely. Thirdly, the tornado must be very gentle and accurate in order to carry the fish safe and sound for about a hundred kilometers, while they must remain alive, which is most likely also impossible. Fourthly, some of the carcasses should also lie on the roofs of buildings, and not only in puddles, and this also does not happen. In a word, the tornado theory remains a theory that has not been proven in practice.

Another hypothesis provides a more plausible explanation for this natural phenomenon. Sometimes fish are found in underground caves, which leads to a drop in the water level in rivers and lakes. Naturally, fish goes underground along with the water. Some believe that something similar is happening in Honduras. Towards the end of the drought, the water level drops and the silvery river dwellers are forced to look for a new home. And in the rainy season, when the caves are flooded, the stream carries the fish into the meadows. But here, too, there are a number of contradictory circumstances. Firstly, although Honduras is very rich in caves, most of which are unknown to cavers, hardly any of them, especially those located near Yoro, can hold thousands of sardines. Secondly, in order to spend at least a few months underground and not die of hunger, fish must have unique vision, but the structure of the eyes of Yoro sardines is quite common. There is another explanation for the fish rain - flocks of sardines migrate from the Caribbean to the rivers, having overcome two hundred kilometers, they find themselves in the upper reaches of the Aguana, which, overflowing during heavy rains, carries the fish into the meadows. However, this hypothesis also has one "but" - usually the migration routes of marine fish in Honduras pass in rivers close to the coast. Some even believe that sardines in puddles appear thanks to birds. Allegedly birds, carrying their prey in their claws or beak, simply drop it to the ground. But how many seagulls and frigates have to fly into the area and in an organized manner to throw out their prey, for the appearance of so many fish?

In the meantime, the entire scientific world is puzzling over the phenomenon of fish rain, the inhabitants of Yoro are simply sincerely happy about it. Since 1998, there has even been a festival dedicated to this amazing event. The event attracts thirty thousand people who put on a costume performance, light fireworks and dance in the streets of the city. On this day, there is also a traditional fair where you can taste a treat made from this unusual fish. In addition, local artisans sell small trinkets, hinting that Yoro is the only place in the world where fish rain regularly, although no one has ever seen the fish falling from the sky. The church plays a huge role in the holiday, because many are sure that the phenomenon was caused by his long prayer to Jose Manuel Sabrina. The festival, which runs from early morning to late evening, attracts many tourists. The luckiest of them can not only enjoy a noisy holiday, but also take part in amazing fishing. Indeed, in recent years, fish rains in Yoro have been increasing more often.